Helpdesk

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<img src="http://isotropic.org/bangwiki/helpdesk.jpg" alt="helpdesk.jpg" />

The President is trying to email the White House IT department because some joker has changed the letters his keys produce. When he presses the 'Q' key (on a standard QWERTY keyboard) he gets a 'J'. When he presses the 'A' key, he keys a 'W', and so on. You need to decode his email (or at least enough of it to figure out the key mappings). Drawing a correctly labeled keyboard will give you a message.

The email translates to:

     To: helpdesk@whitehouse.gov
Subject: letters all wrong

I think I downloaded a virus off one of the
internets or something, 'cause when I type it
comes out all squirrelly.  If you can't get this
crazy thingamajig fixed pronto -- or at least
label the keyboard so I can see what I'm typing --
then the terrorists have already won.

GWB

A correctly labeled keyboard looks like:

<img src="http://isotropic.org/bangwiki/helpdesk-keyboard.png" alt="helpdesk-keyboard.png" />

From which you get POTTER (we hope).

The only changes to the puzzle after the playtest were to add the title to the sheet, and to photoshop out the "Check spelling" link from the Gmail screenshot we used. (One playtest team, when they couldn't come up with a straight 1-1 cryptogram mapping for the letters, thought the "Check spelling" link was a clue that there were typos in the email.) After the playtest we also made the hint page more helpful (we included the layout of a QWERTY keyboard, and made some of the explanation more explicit).


  • the puzzle sheet
  • the hint sheet
  • the very first prototype, complete with terrible Strong Bad email jokes. Note that in this version the 'R' key produced a space (!) so you couldn't trust the word lengths, but this was judged "too difficult" for BANG before we even got to the playtest. The content of the email and the message on the keys are slightly different, but the answer word is the same.

[edit] Arrival times

  • 6:56 Talkin' 'Eds
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  • 7:25 Sleep Train
  • 7:29 Desert Taxi
  • 7:30 We're Doomed
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  • 7:38 The Mathletes
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  • 8:17 Arthur! Arthur!
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  • 8:25 I can't read this
  • 8:45 Forks on Fire
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