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    #1

    "The Message Never Sent" (a detective story)

    English teacher

    Here we go again. It’s another detective story I’d like you to have a look at.
    I’m not happy with the verb “mind”, meaning “to be careful about something”,
    as in “You must study harder, mind.”
    Any suggestions and / or corrections would be very welcome.

    “The Message Never Sent”

    Walter Hardy, Inmate 129, was strangely relaxed and happy when he went past
    one of the prison guards pushing the dirty linen cart.
    The guard became suspicious of Walter’s behaviour and started to watch his every movement.
    So, he twice saw the inmate talking to the laundry van driver.
    Half an hour later the guard was in the warden’s office with a piece of paper in his hand.
    “I found out a secret code, Sir. It belongs to Number 192.
    He wanted the laundry van driver to give it to Simon Hardy, his brother.”
    “Did you talk to the inmate already?”
    “No, Sir. I first wanted to talk to you… because of the message in cipher.
    I must admit I can’t understand it... I think we should ask an expert to decipher it.”
    Mr Hutter, the warden, smiled and gave the paper back to the guard,
    “Read this scrap of paper carefully and I’m sure you’ll be able to understand the meaning of this secret code.
    Number 192 just wants to inform his brother about his escape from prison, day and hour.
    The guard read the paper over and over again. A smile lit up his face when he was finally able to decipher the code:

    on / prison / third / this / day / leave / mind / I
    / next / day / week / new / two / before / hours

    The guard looked radiant when he entered Mr Hutter’s office,
    “I’ve got it, Sir: day and hour.”
    So, Walter’s escape plan failed.

    On which day and at what time did Inmate 192 intend to escape from prison?

    Thanks a lot.

    WW

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    #2

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    I'm struggling- what level are your students?

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    #3

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    Hi Tdol.

    It's so nice to "hear" from you after such a long time.
    Elementary level (A2 of the Common European Framework). They're 13 years old.
    Why are you struggling?

    WW

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    #4

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    How do you include this and third? If you say you're leaving prison on this day next week, it's fine, but if it's the third day, how do you fit this in? Maybe I am missing the point here.

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    #5

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    This is the key for my students
    [If you want to understand the secret message, you have to read the words this way:
    first, third, fifth, and so on, from beginning to end, and then the remaining words from end to beginning:
    on third day, mind, next week, two hours before new day, I leave this prison.
    This means on Wednesday at 10:00 p.m.]

    However, this might be easier and even better:
    on / prison / third / leaving / day / am / mind / I / next / day / week / new / two / before / hours

    I'm still not happy with the word "mind". Do you think it makes sense?
    On the whole, is the story correct? Do you have any suggestions?
    Have a look at the thread title - there's an "e" missing in "never".

    WW

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    #6

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    I can't see that mind is making any contribution.

    OK

    This prison is not obvious, so I wouldn't say that the code worked because it's not the only answer.

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    #7

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    Did you see the new series of words?
    On [the] third day, mind!, next week, two hours before [the] new day, I am leaving [the] prison.

    [Tdol]I can't see that mind is making any contribution.
    I see your point but the fact is that the story I posted is a translation into Italian of a German short story.
    I found it in an anthology of Italian literature for middle-school students.
    The key contained the word “Attento!” = “Be careful!” Since I needed one word only, I opted for something similar, that is “mind!”
    So, the key would be, “On the third day, mind! (meaning, “mind you don’t come / be careful not to come on the second or fourth day)”.


    [Tdol] I wouldn't say that the code worked because it's not the only answer.
    Do you have an alternative answer?

    By the way, the third day would be Tuesday, not Wednesday.

    WW

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    #8

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    I would remove mind.

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    #9

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    You don’t like “mind”, do you? Neither do I.
    Suppose I remove it – what other word could I put in its place?
    I do need another word, otherwise the secret message wouldn’t work.
    Could you (or any other forero) help me?
    I’ve been thinking over this for a long time.
    WW
    Last edited by Walt Whitman; 14-Jul-2016 at 19:02.

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    #10

    Re: "The Message Nver Sent" (a detective story)

    Would something like mate work?

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