(SPOILER EDITION) Descent of the Durtle into Madness


If you’ve been following the Descent of the Durtle Madness thread,
you may be aware that a spoiler was uncovered OUT OF ORDER…
meaning that a step in the puzzle may be able to be skipped.


If you want to continue solving the pieces in order, DO NOT READ THIS THREAD.

Descent of the Durtle into Madness
Descent of the Durtle into Madness
Descent of the Durtle into Madness

Hah. I was about to comment something like “I sense a schism about to form” in the main thread, and here it is. :stuck_out_tongue:

B3 Work in Progress

[ Password Entry URL ]

The Puzzle That Brought Us Here

  2. B51BIQPGS206HD
  3. 00LB269G
The source of the Schism

(SPOILER EDITION) Descent of the Durtle into Madness


This is just an overview, for more information, see the list of books.

Book Status Keyword Confidence
Genki Workbook Keyword found unko medium
Genki I Keyword found Turtle high
Minna no Nihongo No keyword found but japanese characters 毎晩す強勉き low
Japanese for Busy People Looking for a page image
Japanese for Everyone Keyword found SboneS middling
Japanese: The Spoken Language Keyword found (problematic clue) egoooott very low
Adventures in Japanese Image from pdf found, no keyword found
Japanese from Zero! Images found, no keyword found
Japanese the Manga Way Keyword found umbros/ombros middling
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar Keyword found eating high

List of Books

List of the books with detailed information (book cipher, progress, …)

List of Books


Book Name (publication date)
(ISBN-10, included only if that’s how the Tofugu article identifies it)
Book cipher code

Genki Workbook (Mar 2011)
ISBN: 9784789014410
Page: 89
Characters: 41 3 12 31



Degree of confidence: medium
Citation: Link

Page image

Genki I (Feb 2011)
ISBN: 9784789014403
Page: 209
Characters: 1 24 29 41 50 84



Degree of confidence: High
Citation: Link

Page image

Minna no Nihongo (2nd Ed)
ISBN-13: 9784883196036
ISBN-10: 4883196038
Page: 36
Characters: 2 10 45 130 4 55


… not the foggiest. Page is all in Japanese

Citation: Link

Might be
毎晩す強勉き which looks like a scrambled 毎晩 勉強 すき
( (SPOILER EDITION) Descent of the Durtle into Madness )
counting method still unsure

Page image

Japanese for Busy People (Nov 2011)
ISBN-13: 9781568363851
ISBN-10: 1568363850
Page: 23
Characters: 33 2 5 10 34 19


Correct edition:
aosinw or iuemtn or ioHars

Degree of confidence: extremely low
Citation: Link

Wrong edition:

Degree of confidence: Extremely low - wrong edition used, instructions unclear

Citation: Link

Page image


Japanese for Everyone (Jun 2008)
ISBN-13: 9784889962345
ISBN-10: 4889962344
Page: 50
Characters: 4 33 8 13 434 4



Degree of confidence: … middling
Citation: Link

Page image


Japanese: The Spoken Language (Sep 1987)
ISBN: 9780300038347
Page: 168
Characters: 19 1 6 5 5 5 10 9



Degree of confidence: Very low. The three consecutive 5s make any solution problematic
Citation: Link

Page image

Adventures in Japanese (3rd Ed, Jun 2007)
ISBN: 9780887275494
ISBN-10: 0887275494
Page: 33
Characters: 98 2 55 34 9 10


Citation: Link

Page image

Japanese from Zero! (Aug 2014)
ISBN: 9780976998129
Page: 39
Characters: 4 3 45 134 2 66


Citation: Link

Page image

Apparently two different versions.

From seanblue:

From Amazon (with matching ISBN, but doesn’t seem to be the “Progressive Version” mentioned in the Tofugu article):


Japanese the Manga Way (Nov 2004)
ISBN-13: 9781880656907
ISBN-10: 1880656906
Page: 43
Characters: 99 3 24 55 16 9


umbros/ombros depending whether you count the に

Degree of confidence: middling
Citation: Link and Link

Page image

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
ISBN-13: 9784789004541
ISBN-10: 4789004546
Page: 181
Characters: 8 49 3 20 2 33



Degree of confidence: high
Citation: Link and link

Page image


For at least the first few posts, please hide your spoilers in a spoiler tag like this:

Insert spoiler here


So, here’s the start of the spoiler:


@matthieuesnault did some brute-force searching of Tofugu articles, and ended up uncovering some clues.
His initial post is [here].
To see it, you need to click on the Edit History button.


So rfindley, curious what your thinking on your 3/4 words is. Is it extracting from the several articles in question, or all from the number sequences in the last one?


Right, I (admittely slower than usual) caught on to the edit history (finally).

So what’s the current state since then?


These are the codes which were added to the page, and the books to which they refer:

Genki Workbook

9784789014410 89 41 3 12 31


9784789014403 209 1 24 29 41 50 84

Minna no Nihongo

4883196038 36 2 10 45 130 4 55

Japanese for Busy People

1568363850 23 33 2 5 10 34 19

Japanese for Everyone

4889962344 50 4 33 8 13 434 4

Japanese: The Spoken Language

9780300038347 168 19 1 6 5 5 5 10 9

Adventures in Japanese

0887275494 33 98 2 55 34 9 10

Japanese from Zero!

9780976998129 39 4 3 45 134 2 66

Japanese the Manga Way

1880656906 43 99 3 24 55 16 9

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

4789004546 181 8 49 3 20 2 33

The first number in each set is an ISBN referring to a specific edition of each book. The remaining numbers are most likely a book cipher - according to my understanding, the second number is a page number, the third a line number, and each number after that is a specific word, from which we’re supposed to take the first letter.


Here’s the content of the spoiler:


I was away for some time, congratulations for discovering the first step @Masayoshiro

I wanted to know if any other articles were related to the riddle, so I originally started searching manually in the source code for comments for each article. After 5 articles, seeing that there are 20 pages of articles in the archives of Tofugu, I decided to automate it.

I’m divided about this, because I actually found something… It might look like cheating, because we haven’t solved the second step of B3 yet to get to the third step. But in the meantime, anybody with enough spare time could have done that without a script.

import urllib.request
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from bs4 import Comment

def get_articles_urls(archive_page_number):
    urls = []
    if archive_page_number == 1:
        archive_page_suffix = ''
        archive_page_suffix = 'page/' + str(archive_page_number)
    archive_page_url = 'https://www.tofugu.com/archive/' + archive_page_suffix
    with urllib.request.urlopen(archive_page_url) as response:
        html = response.read()
        soup = BeautifulSoup(html, 'html.parser')
        article_tags = soup.select('li.article-index-item > a')
        for article_tag in article_tags:
    return urls

def get_comments_of_article(article_url):
    with urllib.request.urlopen(article_url) as response:
        html = response.read()
        soup = BeautifulSoup(html, 'html.parser')

        return soup.find_all(string=is_body_comment)

def is_body_comment(text):
    # There must be a better way to get comments of the body tag
    return isinstance(text, Comment) and any(parent.name == 'body' for parent in text.parents)

for page_number in range(1, 21):
    print("Archive page " + str(page_number))
    article_urls = get_articles_urls(page_number)
    for article_url in article_urls:
        absolute_article_url = 'https://www.tofugu.com' + article_url
        print("    Article " + absolute_article_url)
        comments = get_comments_of_article(absolute_article_url)
        print("        " + str(comments))

The raw results are pretty long, so I stripped them to only contain articles which have comments in their body tag. And surprisingly, it’s only four articles:


[’ 9784789014410 89 41 3 12 31 ', ’ 9784789014403 209 1 24 29 41 50 84 ', ’ 4883196038 36 2 10 45 130 4 55 ', ’ 1568363850 23 33 2 5 10 34 19 ', ’ 4889962344 50 4 33 8 13 434 4 ', ’ 9780300038347 168 19 1 6 5 5 5 10 9 ', ’ 0887275494 33 98 2 55 34 9 10 ', ’ 9780976998129 39 4 3 45 134 2 66 ', ’ 1880656906 43 99 3 24 55 16 9 ', ’ 4789004546 181 8 49 3 20 2 33 ']


[" Durt Durt! Hmm, not bad, you’re on the right track! "]


['Durt Durt! Almost! ']

Article https://www.tofugu.com/reviews/dictionary-of-basic-japanese-grammar/

[’ Durt Durt! Nice try! ']

I skimmed through the articles but its getting late here so I need tosleep.

Here are my notes so far:

  • The comments of the beginner-japanese-textbook article are justISBN 10 codes for the books. That must be legitimate commentswith no link to the riddle.
  • The comment of the dictionary-of-basic-japanese-grammar articlemight be the result of following a red herring, hence the Nice try!
  • The comment of the genki-textbook article make it seem like areal step, but I did not see anything looking like a clue in thearticle.

I don’t know what to do with the articles yet and we might not knowbefore solving the step 2 of B3, but they can maybe give us somehindsight on what were looking for.


Of those books, I only own the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar. (I’ve also got Japanese for Busy People, but it appears to be a different edition - 2006 instead of 2011).

Trouble is, page 181 doesn’t lend itself towards a book cipher terribly well - it’s a gap between two entries, so there aren’t many lines on the page.


I have a Genki 1 and a Genki 2

The first three keywords (not necessarily in order)

As @Belthazar mentioned, there are a bunch of ISBN numbers and other numbers.

The other numbers are a page number and a list of character numbers.

I’ve decoded words in the following three books:

Genki 1
Genki 1 Workbook
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.

The three keywords are:

  • Turtle
  • eating
  • unko (<–Japanese for poop)

Here’s the example for unko (assuming I did it right. The other 2 keywords were easier)

<!-- 9784789014410 89 41 3 12 31 -->

9784789014410 is the ISBN number for the Genki 1 Workbook (2nd edition)
Page 89 has the following text.  I've removed all spaces and punctuation:

         1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8

Choosing the 41st, 3rd, 12th, and 31st letters gives you:



Also, for the record, I don’t think that brute force search was cheating at all. In fact I suggested the search for Durt Durt after Safarigirl found the comment in the first page. (But I didn’t have the skill to do it. :smile: )


Aww, page and character numbers, didn’t think of that…

Unfortunately, I’m fairly sure my Japanese for Busy People is too different - page 23 is numbers and times written in Japanese - the page starts with “II. Numbers:” and then it’s just numerals and kana.

But yeah, I get “eating” from DBJG as well.


Yeah, the solution for Japanese for Busy People isn’t readily apparent. I’m not 100% sure there’s something in all of the books.


Oh, I spy a Durtle. Think we’re about to face the Durtlish Inquisition.


Oooh hoo, hello friends! Anything that brings the Durthlic Church deeper into Durtle Heaven brings pleasure to the Durtle Pope––no matter how durtverted the methods! Your progress pleases us to no end. :durtle_durverted_lvl2:

Descent of the Durtle into Madness
Descent of the Durtle into Madness

Or, that works too…



Hmm. I vaguely wondered if these specific pages were chosen because they’re included in the Amazon sample pages, except the Amazon sample pages for Japanese for Busy People are for the 2006 edition, not the 2011 edition…


Are there any books we don’t have? Unfortunately the only one I have, you’ve already solved, so I have to wait and see what the words are and help figure out what they mean.

Also, I bet Leebo has every book, every edition. :smile: