This Sunday morning brings Special Agent Jones of the CIA to your door. Damn…you had seats on the fifty yard line for today’s big game. That’s unlikely to happen now. Whenever Agent Jones knocks you know you’ll soon be involved in a conundrum that pits your wits against the innermost regions of the world of criminal espionage. It’s mighty tough being the best cryptologist in the country.
Jones hands you a paper and asks, “What do you make of this?”
/ Defend Chip’s answer/ Critters discover messy store’s heater burning/ Preserve crappy candy wedge/ Skip one stone/ I passed big watermelons/ Stirred out beyond/
“Some sort of puzzle clues?” you guess.
Jones shrugs his shoulders and explains. The CIA monitors the mail of several people suspected of espionage. Last week the above message was mailed to Harvey Waters, one of the possible spies. The letter was copied by the CIA, and then passed on to Waters. The CIA’s top men spent many hours trying to decode the meaning of the mysterious text. But they could find nothing…no anagrams, no cryptograms, no traditional cryptics—zilch.
A Mr. Jonathan Temple of the Center for Advanced Puzzles, Enigmas and Riddles (C.A.P.E.R.) had sent the letter, according to the return address. The CIA investigated this “Center” (located in the hub of the seediest part of town), and interrogated Mr. Temple. Temple claimed he ran a mail-order business for hard core puzzle fans, and had simply sent the clues to everyone on his mailing list. He refused to divulge this mailing list or to explain the meanings of his odd missive.
To quote Mr. Temple: “We are the nucleus of the difficult puzzle world. It is against our sacred oath to disclose answers to our riddles.”
Jones continues, "We had no case against him, and none against Waters. The matter was therefore dropped. A day later, Waters eluded our agents and disappeared.
“This morning we had just cause to reinvestigate the Center. But it was closed down and Mr. Temple was nowhere to be found. The office for C.A.P.E.R. was abandoned.”
“What caused you to go there again?” you inquire.
“Last night the wife of Michigan Senator Donald Scott was snatched from their home in suburban Washington while the senator was away on a fundraiser. The household staff was tied up, and Mrs. Scott’s bodyguard was shot.” Jones looks at you desperately. “We need your help!”
“Senator Scott is in the middle of working on that tough new anti-espionage bill,” you recall. You pause to think for a moment and then ask, “What makes you think I can help? Is there a tie-in to the earlier mystery?”
“Yes,” replies Jones somberly. “The only clue at last night’s crime scene was a wadded up note accidentally dropped by one of the masked thugs. Here it is:”
/ Cassie perceives viral danger/ Second of Hoyt’s cars started/ Libs stalled shower galas/ Lumbered home for mirror/ Molest six robots in Montana/ Shooting hicks blessing Barry/ Harmony models Gail’s clothings/
"We are certain these are not any kind of puzzle clues at all. Instead, we suspect that at heart they are really some kind of code.
“Senator Scott is so upset he cannot work on his anti-spy legislation. We need your assistance immediately!”
But can you help?