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Who Could? Taman Shud

11 December, 2012

Sixty-four years ago, a body was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide. The victim was a middle-age bloke whose name was never ascertained, nor was the cause of death. You can read more about the mystery here.

Clue-wise, random objects were jammed into a brown suitcase, including a pair of slippers, a dressing gown, undies, scissors and a shiv. There was also a stencilling brush, plus a copy of The Rubbiayat by Omar Khayyam, with the last two words missing: TAMAN SHUD, or ‘the end’.

Lastly was a list of coded letters, as appears below. Your challenge is to conjure a plausible message for any or all of these clusters. Champion backronymer, Ian Dunn, has already had a dash, with his efforts in brackets. Can you better him? Can you crack an ancient mystery? And can you win a copy of Puzzles and Words – for being the week’s best code-fudger?

WRGOABABD [Would Rather Go Out Anonymously By A Beach Death]

MLIAOI… (crossed out) [My Life Is Almost Over If….]

WTBIMPANETP [With Troubles Behind, I Make Peace, And Now Expect To Perish]

MLIABOAIAQC [My Life Is All But Over And I Am Quite Content]

ITTMTSAMSTGAB [I Think That Maybe Tamam Shud Actually Means Seeking True Goodness And Beauty]

Thanks to Ian for the idea (he’ll be getting a copy of Puzzles and Words soon). Feel free to use details of the case in your decrypting, or invent a fresh conspiracy. Or find the funny, the pensive, the fluent. No need to submit your best – I’m happy to select the stellar sample from the forum after Thursday 5pm. Get cracking, Sherlocks. We may yet solve Mr Somerton.

Welcome to the new forum. Looks scary? It’s not. Feels iffy? It ain’t. The DisQus platform is here to block spam and lend us more chat options. That’s all. Please note, you don’t have to create a DisQus account to make a comment. If you do, however, it will speed your future visits. Be assured no details are abused, misused or reused. Let’s fight spam as one, and get back to the grand conversation. Thanks, DA

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Welcome all puzzle-lovers, including any chompers of the Wordburger book or app. (Check them out if you enjoy words & trickery.) And if you still crave more alphabet mischief, click on the burger icon above for a fresh serve.



Packed with games, pickles, codes and cheesy puns, Wordburger is your chance to be a champion puzzler in 20 quick bites. Ideal for wordy kids keen to open a new language door, or grown-ups who want to cut their cryptic teeth. Click here. 

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Riddles in song, in code, in pictures. From Ireland & Wonderland, Einstein & Pompeii. Riddledom reveals 101 wry questions from 50+ languages & shares their secrets. A book to unlock culture via conundrum. Order here.

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