©Copyright 2000 D F Curran

We call this type of puzzle a sequencer puzzle because it is based on the type of logic used to solve how DNA molecules are made up. DNA molecules are so big they are hard to figure out unless they are broken down first. Enzymes break the DNA into smaller sequences which can be identified by chemists. By using a number of different enzymes that only break molecules at specific places, and counting and identifying the smaller pieces each produces, scientists can figure out how the DNA molecule would have to be put back together, and thus what it's makeup is. In our case instead of a DNA molecule we'll be piecing together a short cryptogram that Fishy cuts up with an axe. You'll have to use logic to put the cryptogram back together. Then you'll have to solve it.


Sequencer Puzzle Detailed Example


For an example of how our Sequencer puzzles work, we'll work on a short English sentence instead of a cryptogram.

We'll use:

"A FISH ON LINE FEELS FINE"


We'll put a '-' between words to represent spaces. (In the cryptogram we'll use an unused letter to represent the space. You would be told the second character in the cryptogram, represents a space throughout the cryptogram.You will also be told if any non-alphabetical characters such as an apostrophe ['] need to be added.)

"A-FISH-ON-LINE-FEELS-FINE"

For the puzzle we will use a series of 3 sequences--that is, three different letter junctions where Fishy will split the cryptogram with his axe.

The first sequence, we'll call it S1, Fishy chopped out was between F and I. (Note the sequence is not reversible. If there was an I followed by an F, Fishy wouldn't chop that in half. The F has to come first, followed by an I.) After Fishy chops at each FI we get.

NE
A-FI
SH-ON-LINE-FEELS-FI



The lengths for S1 in order of size are: 2, 3, 20
(Note the '-' are included in the lengths.)

If  Fishy only chopped out the second sequence, S2, dividing the letters between F and E. We'd get:

EELS-FINE
A-FISH-ON-LINE-F


The lengths for S2 in order of size are: S2 9, 16

If  Fishy only chopped out the third sequence, S3, dividing the letters between N and E. We'd get:

E
A-FISH-ON-LIN
E-FEELS-FIN

The lengths for S3 in order of size are: 1, 11, 13


Fishy could also chop out combinations of S1, S2, S3.

S1S2 gives:

A-F
ISH-ON-LINE-F
EELS-F
INE

with lengths: 3, 3, 6, 13

S1, S3 gives:

E
IN
A-F
E-FEELS-F
ISH-ON-LIN

with lengths 1, 2, 3, 9, 10

S2,S3 gives:

E
E-F
EELS-FIN
A-FISH-ON-LIN

with lengths: 1, 3, 8, 13

And all 3 sequence cuts together,S1,S2,S3 give:

E
IN
A-F
E-F
EELS-F
ISH-ON-LIN

with lengths: 1, 2, 3, 3, 6, 10

In the puzzle you'll be given only the pieces we have left after all three sequences are cut in order of size:
E
IN
A-F
E-F
EELS-F
ISH-ON-LIN

and the length of the pieces each sequence and combination of sequences would produce in order of size.

S1 3, 3, 19
S2 9, 16
S3 1, 11, 13
S1S2 3, 3, 6, 13
S1S3 1, 2, 3, 9, 10
S2S3 1, 3, 8, 13
S1S2S3 1, 2, 3, 3, 6, 10

And, of course, what each sequencer separates (It will change from puzzle to puzzle):
S1 F and I
S2 F and E
S3 N and E

Now with words that are unencrypted the last connections are obvious. But let us pretend they are not. With a cryptogram you'll need to rely on the clues given by the sequences.

We know F can connect to E or I

There are three possibilities for A-F

A-FEELS-F
A-FIN
A-FISH-ON-LIN

S1 3, 3, 19, Tells us that a cutoff 'F' coming before an 'I' must appear in two possible locations, one of which matches one of these numbers and the other which is a sum of these numbers. ( We know that from counting the F's- there are two of them. )

Two spaces out of the 3rd space,the 6th or the 22nd
( 6 is the sum of 3 + 3)
(22 is the sum of 3 + 19 ) or the 19th and 22nd
F/I can appear at two of these three locations 3/4, 6/7, 22/23

(Note numbers on top refer to number of characters in a segment.  The underlined spaces '_' show where the segments connect. The values behind the = are the places where the F's would be located in the character string.)


3    19                 3
XXF_IXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXF_IXX     = 3 and 22
123_4567890123456789012_345

or
3    3   19
XXF_IXF_IXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX     = 3 and 6
123_456_7890123456789012345

or

 19                  3   3
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXF_IXF_IXX     = 19 and 25
1234567890123456789_012_345

(Note that the second and thrid possibilities requre a 3 character piece that begins with I and ends in F.  There are no such pieces so we can eliminate those possibilities.)


F/E must appear at 9/10 or 16/17

9          16
XXXXXXXXF_EXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
123456789_0123456789012345

16                 9
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXF_EXXXXXXXX
1234567890123456_789012345

The A doesn't join to anything so it must be first.


Therefore A-FEELS-F doesn't work as F/E can only be 9/10 or 16/17 (We rule out 9 + 16 = 25 as we know F is not the last letter because A and E do not connect to anything and must be the first and last in some order.)


Lets try the next possiblity

A-FIN

A-FINE doesn't work as E can only connect to F/E or N/E but doesn't connect forward to anything. The character E is at the end of our word. So this can't be correct.

A-FISH-ON-LIN has to be correct.

The possible connections are:

E
E-F
EELS-F

E as we've said has to be at the end so it can't work.

With A-FISH-ON-LINEELS-F an N_E (13/14) connection will work but the two F's in this combination are too close together. (For F_I we have an F at 3 so the next F must be at least at  3+19 = 22 in this example it is at 19 so this doesn't work and for F_E  as we have pointed out above the F must be at 9 or 16.)

A-FISH-ON-LIN_EELS-F
1234567890123_456789012345


So A-FISH-ON-LINE-F is correct

A-FISH-ON-LINE-F
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX = 3 and 16
1234567890123456789012345

The F appears at 16 so the next segment is

A-FISH-ON-LINE-FEELS-F

IN comes next

A-FISH-ON-LINE-FEELS-FIN
and then our final E

A-FISH-ON-LINE-FEELS-FINE
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
1234567890123456789012345

(Note F/I's 3/4 and 22/23, F/E at 16/17, N/E at 13/14 and 24/25)


You'd then be told that the '-' represents a space throughout the cryptogram and after substituting you'd get:

A FISH ON LINE FEELS FINE


Remember when you are putting a cryptogram back together you can use the sizes in the given partial sequences to figure out where the letters go.

Return to Sequencer #1 Puzzle

Return to Sequencer #2 Puzzle

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