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MN0PQ8 Puzzle 5 Hints

Hints:

Click the arrow next to the hints and solution to view them!

Hint A

He was saying that OFOFN was 5, OFFON was 3, and OOFFN was either 17 or 9, because he can’t tell which O is OFF and which O is ON

Hint B

If we could sparate each group of letters into two sections, we can figure out whether we have this or that letter equivalent for that section

Hint C

Each letter group divides into two words interlaced in order, each word corresponding to a binary digit – zero or 1 – which makes letters from 5-bit groupings

Key Solution

Anchor

Hint D

The indicated measurement categories are ordered in the way denoted by your previous message

Hint E

They should come up to be a picture of your answer

Hint F

Those abbreviations are for City Latitude, Height, Amount, Cost, Temperature (but not necessarily in that order)

Answer

Ledge

Walkthrough

There are many stages to this puzzle, and it can be easy to be distracted by elements that are not clear yet.
The most compelling thing on the page, hopefully, are the blank lines in the right column, and how they match up to the length of groupings of five letters.
The border hopefully isn’t too compelling, but even if it is, there should be a number of things about it that convince you to go away from it: 1. the ‘filled in’ pegs are in groups of 4, so it can’t really be turned into binary, and neither can you turn them into any other obvious codes cleanly. You can start looking at the words and categorizing them (and you could get progress towards SOMETHING that way), but it’s not obvious what you would do next. So hopefully that’s enough to send you to the inside of the border, something that’s more like a ‘workspace’.

The top row, showing letters occupying the underside of a ‘square wave’ line should be really interesting, especially in the way that the columns are divided into fifths.
If players are paying attention to their codebooks, they should know that they can decode 5 binary digits into letters.
If they do this for the top row, they get:

00100 01001 10110 01001 10011 01001 01111 01110
4 = D 9 = I 22= V 9 = I 19= S 9 = I 15= O 14= N

Division. Which fits neatly in the blanks on the right.
You can take this to be a hint or an instruction with the next step.

So, having successfully translated the top line, the blanks below should be compelling as a next step – even though the nonsense groups of letters in them are intimidating. But from the above decode of ‘division’, something about them should give you binary that will fill in the blanks on the right.

Which leaves us with the letters.
The step here does take a leap which hopefully can be more obvious if you look at certain (smaller) groups of letters.
The second row or the fifth row are both good candidates:
UANDB OERVE
FBOER EHIND
If you look at these and you want to pull out the words ‘BEHIND’ or ‘ABOVE’, you’d be in business.
If you pull out ‘above’ from the top, you’d get leftovers as ‘under’ (even without re-ordering)! And if you pull out ‘behind’ from the bottom, you’d be left with ‘fore’.
Hopefully this gives an idea for what we’re looking for – these are terms that are opposites (though maybe not the most obvious word choices, maybe kind of loosely chosen).
Next step that follows then, is trying to identify the entangled ‘opposites’. Some of these, especially the longer ones, can be quite challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of clues around to help out, particularly in the reference book!

Here are the unscrambled sets:
BPLAS OCSKA BLEDE = Passable/Blocked
AUSTS RWEDA LIAEN = Sweden/Australia
STINK HORNA DOLOE = Tornado/Sinkhole
PFOHI LOOTB ALLPS LAYOP EHRER = Philosopher/Football Player (clued by the primer text at the top of the page!)
FBOER EHIND = Fore/Behind
DEAMD SOUNT EEAVS HOERE ISRRE SAETL = Mount Everest/Dead Sea Shore, Israel
_TBOT OTPOM = Top/Bottom (it takes a leap to assume that the underscore is just an empty space)
RESMA INDEH ANTTI TAALN = Manhattan/Residential (pretty loose, residential in the ‘suburban’ sense)
EPOQU ATORL AIRAL = Polar/Equatorial
DEFIP CLEIN TEYNT = Plenty/Deficient
SBION ECZHZ ILILN GLING = Sizzling/Bone-chilling
E DIRXT TORTI OCHNA TEEAP = Extortionate/Dirt-cheap

Once you have the real answers, there’s not really a space to write them -and we still have to figure out how to get them into binary! So hopefully this suggests the next step. Thankfully we already have groups of 5, prepping us for binary. It’s just determining which letters are ‘1’s and which are ‘0’s. If you look at the ‘square wave’ containing ‘going in some direction’ at the top, it can give you an idea of a similar square wave you could draw over the scrambled words. But how do you determine the polarity? (Beyond some options only having one binary possibility that equates to a letter)
That’s right, each pairs have opposite meanings in different directions. Generally, the one that is ‘UP’ or ‘MORE’ or ‘DOABLE’ is the ‘1’, and the BOTTOM, LESSER, or NOT-DOABLE is the zero.

Translating the binary letters for these gives us the blanks on the right (there are a few ambiguities in choosing letters, but nothing too challenging that can’t be corrected upon seeing the other letters) (Also note that the bottom group all relate conceptually with their translation – but we’ll get to that):
KEY
IS
ANC HOR

STACK
UP
BORDER
:
HT
CITY*LAT
AMT
TEMP
COST

“Key is Anchor” – That should be obvious. Then we have an instruction:
Stack up border: HT, CITY LAT, AMT, TEMP, COST.
The final group of abbreviations you can generally figure out (with some help from the related clues, and maybe figuring out by working backward from the next step) are the following:
HT – Height
CITY LAT – City Latitude
AMT – Amount
TEMP – Temperature
COST – Cost
So we have ‘stack up border’ and a list of measurements.
Right now it should seem like a good time to make use of the pieces from the border! Now that you have ways of comparing things, you can find sets of relevant words in the border. If you take only the ones that ‘fit’ with the measurements, you should get the following groups, ordered here based on their ‘height/amount/etc.’, in a similar way that polarity was determined above.

Heights:
Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere, Exosphere

City latitudes:
Cairo, Atlanta, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Anchorage

Amounts:
Single, Pair, Trio, Dozen, Gross

Temperatures:
Freezing, Chilled, Tepid, Simmering, Boiling

Costs (of material? – using nerdy scales):
Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Uranium

So we have groups of ordered items, and they each have four ‘blocks’, some of which are filled in.
If we take the instruction ‘stack up’, you can visually STACK these 5 rows of 4 blocks each, in a tetris-like manner. Just imagine drawing the squares on a 4×5 grid.

HT:
xooo
xooo
xooo
xooo
xxxx

CITY LAT:
xxxx
xooo
xxoo
xooo
xxxx

AMT:
xxxo
xoox
xoox
xoox
xxxo

TEMP:
xxxx
xooo
xoxx
xoox
xxxx

COST:
xxxx
xooo
xxxo
xooo
xxxx

Or
L E D G E
“Ledge” which is the answer (and also a boundary dividing high from low, like in a square wave)