Radio Play Solution

How It Works

The sound file is a short radio play. Each team's play had a different script. Aside from the NPR guy in the intro and outro (who is just flavor), there are five characters in the play. Each line spoken by one of these characters encodes a letter. Each character encodes letters in a different way:

  • Inspector Lerslock uses alliteration. For example, if he claims to have solved a grim, gutsy garroting with gusto, he is encoding a "G".
  • The female poet speaks in ABCB quatrains. The rhyming word at the end of the B lines also rhymes with a number, and that number indexes into the alphabet. For example, if she says "He's gone a bit daft, sir / But in time he does delve / He owns a museum nearby / With a time-piece on every shelve", delve and shelve rhyme with twelve, which is an "L".
  • The English teacher uses words with four or more of the same letter in them. He will use exactly two of these words in each of his lines, and they will have the same repeated letter. For example, if he talks about a refregerator and extraterrestrials, he is encoding an "R".
  • The simple, laid-back, possibly stoned fellow just says a letter at some point in each of his lines. "Some are more obvious than others." If he had said that line, he would be encoding an "R".
  • The mumbly fellow mumbles for a number of seconds, which then indexes into the alphabet. If he mumbles for 23 seconds, he is encoding a "W".

Altogether, the script decodes to "The murderer is *name*".


For the audio presented on this website, the solution is:


Katie Ewing is the name of a player during an early test of this puzzle. In the actual event, each team received a different copy of the puzzle which encoded the name of a member on that team.

Design Notes

It's always fun to personalize puzzles in unexpected ways. Jamie was apprehensive about encoding player names into the puzzle, because it meant he could not actually fabricate the puzzle until teams were set ... two weeks before the event. The first part of each script (the part that encodes "The murderer is") was identical for each team and Jamie only needed to record those lines once. He designed the remainder of the script to be similar for each team, such that he could reuse lines for each character that happened to encode the same letter for different teams. In this way, Jamie only had to end up recording about 100 lines of dialog, half as much as he might have had to otherwise.

Construction Notes

Originally, Jamie was going to use his own Monty Pythonesque faux female voice as the voice of the poet. Maintaining this voice for any length of time turned out to be extremely difficult, so he got a real female instead.