Sherlock – Anonymous writes again (SOMNEHCCGTEKOTYRIMOOLAIGU)

Sherlock has screened again on BBC1, and the next communication has been received from Anonymous. This message is:


and the clue this time is:

You’ll never find out who I am. I live off the grid.

[I’ve bolded the important part]

Not being on the grid implies to me that this is not a Caesar Cipher this time, but something more esoteric. A bit of trial and error leads to:

Sherlock I am coming to get you

This being found through starting with the initial ‘S’, and then taking every 5th letter of the code until the end, then repeating with the remaining letters.

Still no further word on a name for Anonymous yet, just the ‘xx’ signature.

[Update – I realised that I was a bit blasé about the “trial-and-error’ method of figuring out this code. To clarify, I guessed it would be a code involving the existing letters as letter-swaps/ciphers etc all involve a grid of some sort and using other components to decode. On this basis, I looked at how to manipulate or re-factor the provided letters in such a fashion as to provide a clear message. In this way a I got lucky, and on only my fourth attempt to use a letter-skip technique, I found that every fifth letter gave me the solution. It may be that there is a cleverer way to have chosen 5 as the skip length, ie the clue indicates that somehow, but I can’t claim that brilliance.]


About Cameron
I'm a final year Computer Science/Information Systems major. Already finished my BA in Politics/Philosophy. I do web and software freelance on the side, while I finish studying. Hoping to be self-employed by the end of my degree, otherwise off into the real-world I go....

17 Responses to Sherlock – Anonymous writes again (SOMNEHCCGTEKOTYRIMOOLAIGU)

  1. merlin says:

    how did you work out it was 5 letters by the clue “off the grid” I am 15 and new to all this code stuff

    • Cameron says:

      Sorry, I should have been a bit clearer. I will add an edit to my post now. Basically trial-and-error though. I guessed it would be a code involving the existing letters as letter-swaps/ciphers etc all involve a grid of some sort, and then just played with different values.

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  3. Claire says:

    ack and there was me thinking grid cipher hmm milton keyens is on a grid is it something to do with that oh yes there was a lorenz cipher thingy in milton keyens still didnt get any answer totaly over thinking it when it was just every fifth letter am going to go boil my head now

  4. Snake Eyes says:

    his message could mean more than just the cipher, if so, he’s obviously saying he is not somewhere with a grid… This is probably somewhere like south east asia, africa or one of the poles. I’m thinking electricity grid here. so yeah, thats what I think, post something so others can begin thinking more, although I might be looking far too much into the subject… his threats are a little boring though… He could’ve been a bit more imaginative… Good night all and good luck with deduction.

  5. Clarice says:

    Great idea, but it isnt really as complex as that. The message is made up of 25 letters, 5×5 is 25, therefore if you lay all the letters out in ‘grid’ format the code is revealed! Happy Deducing 🙂

  6. louisavamp says:

    i could see i am coming to get you but didn’t make out sherlock

  7. sherlock says:

    the off the grid implies to make a grid. u make a 5 by 5 grid with the letters then read them vertically. ur correct with ur method but its just not the one he meant u to use. Anonymous did 2 times 2 and u did 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1. and last weeks caesar cypher code makes xx’ MM. i thought it meant mister moriarty or mr mycroft or something of the nature

  8. Andrew Lawrence says:

    there are 25 letters in the puzzle, write them out left to right in a 5×5 grid then read top to bottom.

    this explains the grid clue.

  9. Matt says:

    as the clue includes the word grid i put the code into one. as there are 25 character in the code,I put it into a 5 by 5 grid as that’s just logical. then fill in the code along the horizontal then read down the vertical.

    But the whole treats, as said, arn’t that imaginative! you would think they would give a bit more of a hint to who ‘he’ is.

  10. That’s very clever… Whoever’s sending these must pour a lot of effort in to them. But it seems rather clear (to me) as to who’s sending them… At the end of last episode, when Shan, was it (?), was talking to that person. It’s most probably going to be Moriarty, as that’s who it was in the original stories – he just has more technology to use to watch Sherlock with, and to get him with. Hopefully all will be revealed on Sunday… Or not. I want there to be another series 😛 🙂

  11. bob says:

    i didnt get that. i used a rail fence cipher and got SOMNEHCCGTEKOTYRIMOOLAIGU to be dont play on the tracks

  12. Lykaios says:

    It’s called a route cipher, which is actually a really simple form of transposition cipher, and like the caesar cipher, are often used in TV series and books because they generally can be broken by anyone after some time of puzzling over them.

    There are different forms of this cipher which suggest how the grids are read and laid out, like some are broken up into blocks, the first being the length of the rows and the last being the length of the collumbs, etc, but the 5×5 divisibility of the letter count seems to have been a big give away to most people here about the shape of the grid.




    ‘You’ll never find out who I am, I live off the grid’ gives us the clue that the cipher’s identity is hidden by not being in grid-form. And like many people here found out, once it’s put in a grid-form, it reveals itself. 🙂

    Anyway, hope this was somewhat helpful. 🙂

  13. fiona says:

    Sherlock I have found you. Message 3. Its a bit too easy

  14. Ellie Smith says:

    Well done to everybody who solved the first two ciphers. I have to admit, I was a bit too slow and lazy, so never worked them out myself.

    I think I may have the answer to message 3 though. It seems to translate as:


    To get this answer you should use Pigpen cipher techniques and match the symbols to letters, although I think there are different versions of this. Eventually I came across the right one by accident when I was on the Sherlock website. If you click the link to Connie Princes’ website and then click message board, then scroll down to near the bottom you will find a message from Sherlock Holmes with a diagram to show you how to sort out the cipher.

    Hope that helps. Sorry if you have all worked it out ages ago… I just thought it was worth writing up incase anyone needs a bit of help getting there. 🙂

    Can’t wait for the next series!

  15. franz says:

    I do not think that you can decipher with cesar xx, becouse it wouldnt work with the other codes.

    maybe xx stands for xx-man. it is an genetic defect. symtoms small no muscles female charakters verbal conspicuous. who maybe?

    2. xx ore Xx why does it change between letter 1, 2 and 3

    3. anonymous xx ^^

    But at the end xx meens nothing more than kisses the same chiffre like mwah the sound of a kiss
    message three

    • Cameron says:

      You’re right that it won’t work with the other codes. This is only the solution for this message. Each of the messages uses a progressively harder cipher system to get you thinking more. There is not meant to be a universal solution to all of the cipher messages.

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