The Batman Trailer dropped over the weekend, resulting in a lot of opinions about the upcoming film and Sad Boi Batman. One of the more interesting aspects of the trailer was a puzzle left by The Riddler. This is how you solve it right now.
The Batman trailer puzzle solved
In the trailer the card left by The Riddler asks ‘What does a liar do when he’s dead?’
Game designer and puzzlecrafter, Mike Selinker, not only solved The Batman trailer puzzle, but explained how he did it via Twitter.
The Riddler’s puzzle comes in the form of a cryptogram, so it’s a matter of working out what symbols match letters of the alphabet.
Selinker first assigned numbers to each symbol and wrote them out in order, with a presumed word break due to the spacing on the card:
The characters here are in this pattern:— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
I will presume the line break is meant to be a word break, though that doesn’t presume no other word breaks exist. (2/12)
The first big clue is the double letter at the end of the second sequence. In cryptography this is a hot clue because there are comparatively less letters in the alphabet that allow for this. So it narrows down the options.
Putting aside RUPEE and PUREE, the only likely 5-letter strings to end in EE with no other Es are THREE, AGREE, and TO SEE. THREE would make the first word xxxRxT, but the 2nd and 5th letter can’t be E (no SECRET THREE). I don’t like LABRAT or POIROT, so it’s not THREE. (4/12)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
Selinker then begins to go through possible double letter combinations that could work. Importantly, the first sequence also includes a ‘3’ and a ‘5’ which helps work out which letters would most make sense in these places.
How about xxxSS? Lots more possibilities there. ABYSS, CLASS, CHESS, GLASS, PRESS, and the likable GUESS, for example. How to narrow those down? Well, again we have the two letters in the 2nd and 5th spots of the first word. (6/12)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
That leaves vowels in those 2nd and 5th slots. MISFIT is nice, but TxFSS reveals a problem here. That fourth letter needs to ALSO be a vowel. Nothing seems work here: MISAIM, ROSE OF… It’s a dead end. The double 3 isn’t SS. (8/12)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
Selinker eventually comes to double L as being a likely culprit. If so, a vowel will need to come before them in the second sequence, which narrows the possibilities even further.
That leaves LL (wait, is this a Superman movie?). Since the letter before that has to be a vowel, now I think we’re down to three possibilities for the second line: DRILL, SxxLL, and a two-word phrase like A WILL. (9/12)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
Selinker spends the next couple of tweets running through possibilities like “drill”, “swell” and “skill”. Remember, whatever the answer is needs to make sense in the first sequence thanks to the common ‘3’ and ‘5’.
All the SxELL options fell apart. BILE IS SWELL? Gibberish. JULIUS S(h/k/p/t/w)ILL didn’t make much sense (Julius Schwartz, maybe)? I then alit on TALIA’S SKILL as a totally plausible option. But I don’t see an apostrophe character. It’s not ’S. (11/12)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
In the end the most likely option seemed to be “still”. It also appears that Selinker was right from the beginning — the line break in the card does not mean there isn’t another word break in there somewhere.
“Finally, I considered xELIES SxILL. BELIES SKILL is okay, but it seems more likely that we break it in the first line as HE LIES,” said Selinker in the final tweet.
“And the best word to follow that is STILL. So we can conclude this is the very punny HE LIES STILL. And that’s how you solve a cryptogram!”
Voila, The Batman trailer puzzle is solved.
Addendum: People seem to like this thread, so I'll encourage you to support some charity-based puzzles I helped make. Go to these sites:https://t.co/c2U0Wt55zThttps://t.co/Pz21sfXIHmhttps://t.co/FX5CEkEEPv (among many other puzzles of mine on this site)— Mike Selinker (@mikeselinker) August 23, 2020
If you’re interested in cryptography and puzzle making, Selinker wrote an entire book about puzzlecrafting, which you can check out here.