Main Trivia: Mystery

The mystery man at the typewriter

May 15, 1988, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is my first day at my dream job, working at the local newspaper. I left my desk for just two minutes and when I returned, there was a cryptic message on my typewriter. I stared at the jibberish on the list, trying to decipher it.

Who left this message?

The mystery man at the typewriter

Once I knew the name of the mysterious man, my next goal was to find him. I had the feeling that he had left more clues around, so I started scanning the room. Suddenly, I noticed on the coffee table in the corner a copy of a newspaper I was certain I didn’t leave there.

I looked carefully at its front page and immediately figured out where I needed to go. I grabbed some of the coins laying on top of the newspaper and left the room.

What’s the next clue?

The mystery man at the typewriter

There was a FEBA snack bar right outside the building. I went there, hoping to meet the stranger, but found just a small note stuck to the machine. It read: “If we are to meet, bring me some food. I know exactly what I want. It will cost the exact amount you have.”

I bought a few meals with the money and put them in my backpack. Then, I flipped the note and it instructed me to go towards the canals next.

What’s the next clue?

The mystery man at the typewriter

In less than 10 minutes, I was at the canals. On the shore, 4 boats were waiting for passengers. I checked my backpack to make sure the meals I was carrying didn’t make a mess inside and then picked a boat to board.

My trip through the canals was a breeze. I remember there was music coming from a band playing close by and the tune stuck in my head.

Where did we end up?

The mystery man at the typewriter

The boat took me to the record store in the suburbs of the city. I entered the store and started looking around. There were dozens of vinyl records covering the walls and soothing jazz coming out of the speakers.

After listening to the music for a while, I got my next clue…

What is his message?

The mystery man at the typewriter

I approached the back room of the record store. The door was ajar and there were colorful lights coming out from the inside. I knocked but nobody answered. I opened the door and entered the room. There were newspapers all over the place and 3 lights, blue, pink, and yellow, pointing at them.

I knew that the room contained a clue left by the mysterious man regarding the identity of the person in his breaking story.

What is the hidden word?

The mystery man at the typewriter

So, the story was about a celebrity… I picked up one of the newspapers on the ground and opened it. There was a puzzle on one of its pages, some kind of a 5×5 word square.

The task was to fill the entire square with letters, according to the following clues:

  • row 1 and col 1: what happened to the celebrity
  • row 2 and col 2: creepy vibe
  • row 3 and col 3: smells like
  • row 4 and col 4: countdown
  • row 5 and col 5: beats

The word in the first row and the first column was the answer and also the key to the story. I have always been good with puzzles, so it took me no time to solve it.

What is the hidden word?

The mystery man at the typewriter

I was getting close to solving the mystery of the missing story. I knew who the subject of the story was and what happened to them. I only had to meet “Hermes” and see what else he could tell me.

I noticed some small papers on the ground containing seemingly random words. I looked carefully at them and realized that a few of the papers were forming the headline of the story I was looking for.

Underneath the headline, I had my last clue left by the stranger.

What is the clue?

The mystery man at the typewriter

I went to the Red Light District. The most dangerous street in Amsterdam. A hive of villainy and scum. There, I met my man, Hermes. He handed me an envelope labeled TOP SECRET and told me that it was up to me to finish the investigation of the murdered celebrity.

“The red lights hold all the answers”, he said and disappeared into the darkness. I ended up alone, staring at the lights, thinking about my upcoming adventure.

What is the next step?

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