« return to puzzle

The Deadly Hobby of Murder

David Dickerson

There are two obvious things to do in this puzzle. One is to answer the question at the end of the story by determining each character's hobby or pastime and finding which one precisely meets Dexter's description of how the murderer behaved: The pastime can be written with an 8-letter name, the murderer uses terms related to that pastime in all but one of his/her paragraphs, adding up to at least a dozen references, and exactly 3 references in at least one paragraph.

Though each person has a hobby they referenced repeatedly, some did not reference it at least a dozen times, some did not have a paragraph where they did not reference it, and some do not have a hobby which can sensibly be written as an 8-letter word. The only one who meets all of these characteristics is Dexter himself. So the word to write in the blank at the end of the puzzle is HERALDRY.

Now go back and examine the various fonts used every time the word MURDER appears in the story. All of these fonts are among the ones supplied with Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office:

Font speaker/context
Curlz Title
Arial Rounded Chandler
Engravers Yvonne
Stencil Lady Dalrymple
Arial Rounded Dexter
Rockwell Extra Bold Dexter (p. 2)
Stencil Yvonne
Harrington Yvonne
Imprint Yvonne
Footlight Lady Dalrymple
Times New Roman Biff
Engravers Chandler (p. 3)
Arial Rounded Yvonne
Curlz Yvonne
Harrington Yvonne
Lucida Handwriting Yvonne
Engravers Dmitri
Times New Roman Dmitri
Times New Roman Yvonne
Engravers Dmitri
Rockwell Extra Bold Biff (p. 4)
Onyx Chandler
Footlight Chandler
Arial Rounded Dexter
Niagara Engraved Dexter
Stencil Dexter
Wide Latin Dexter
Engravers Dexter
Rockwell Extra Bold End Question

The initial letters of these font names spell CAESAR SHIFT EACH LETTER OF ANSWER. How much?

There are eight conspicuous numbers written in numerals throughout the story. 19 (chapter number), -27 (degrees), 13 (name of club), 13 (name of club), 2467 (generations), 36 (years old), 13 (name of club), 20 (below). If you shift the letters of HERALDRY forward by these amounts (backward for the negative number), you get ADENINES, which is the answer to this puzzle.