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REVEALED: The solution to our big puzzle cover bonanza

466_cover_smart v2.jpg

Put down your pencils and stop scratching your heads. Today is judgement day.

Several weeks ago we challenged you, our loyal readers, to stand up to the often bandied around claims that you’re a discerning, intelligent bunch. We did this the only way you can truly test IQ these days outside of a Facebook quiz: we made a puzzle and put it in the magazine and offered £200 to one person that solved it.

This person was Jake Sandford, well done Jake! And here’s how you could have solved it.

It begins with the magazine cover which comprised of an incredibly aesthetically pleasing cipher. Some people wrongly believed this was a mathematical problem, others thought it was semi-religious, subliminal messaging. It wasn’t, it was a message that could be solved by lateral thinking and trial and error –looking for double letters, and popular letter combinations like ‘th’.


It says: 


So far, so good.

The next step was to look at the editor’s letter, written by our esteemed and hairy editor Joe Mackertich.

There’s another message in there, can you spot it?

editor's letter ShortList

The clue is in the line: “My friend Ollie reads from the left like most people, but notices things others don’t.”

What we’re doing here is telling you to read from the left, vertically, because we’ve hidden a clue acrostic style (remember primary school?). Of course, it’s not a full acrostic as that would be too easy, it starts a few lines down.

jack-eds letter

It says:


So now you need to find Jack. At this point it’s all about attention to detail. Jack can be found as a part of the final page in the magazine in our Train Delay Playlist.

jack nicholson shortlist magazine

Read the caption. This is the reveal.

Don’t get it?

Take a closer look at that cover.

shortlist magazine puzzle cover

Then take another look at page 12 of the magazine.

puzzle reveal

And that, friend, is the answer.

Now let’s hear it for Jake.


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