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Ok - this is a very similar question to this one. The previous question established that in A Scandal in Belgravia Irene Adler's safe combination was her measurements. However, how did Sherlock know to use that combination?

Irene is naked, he's VERY observant so he would have picked up on her measurements. However how did he know to use this code? It may as well have been the distance apart of her curtains!

Furthermore, when Irene decides to meeting him in her "battle dress" she doesn't know she's going to want Sherlock to access the safe so she couldn't "dress" accordingly...

So, how did Sherlock know to use her measurements to open the safe?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

While Irene was very distracting and a great match for Sherlock in general this only hinders his deduction ability so much.

With Irene's display to Sherlock he can then continue in the back of his mind to try to figure out what series of numbers would be important enough to her to use as a combination. Counting on the fact that she wouldn't use a random set as the possibility to forget the numbers would be detrimental. Sherlock then has to figure out what is important to her? Her birthday? Her parents age at death? The locker combination she had in the 5th grade?

Ah, but Sherlock gets a peak at something most spectacular. The one thing that gives Adler power over Sherlock, even for a brief moment. Her body. Something that seems so important to her, that drives her livelihood, her profession, something that allows her to get what she wants when she wants it.

It is also ingenious in a way. A number not easily obtained without her knowledge (except in Sherlock's case of course). A number easily remembered by her, as well as a number most people don't use much in this era in addition to a number that fits perfectly as a combination to a safe.

Sherlock realizes this as a good possibility to the combination and gives it a whirl.

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I guess she just has to hope she doesn't put on weight! –  Liath Jul 19 '13 at 12:29
@Liath Someone in her profession (I'd assume at least) is very careful about their body image because that is the first thing customers see and what draws her business, whether or not they get to see the whole package. –  TylerShads Jul 19 '13 at 12:29
Agreed! The only point I can see that you haven't explained is whether it was coincidence she "dressed for the occasion" Had she already decided she was going to give him the combination? –  Liath Jul 19 '13 at 13:44
@Liath Only seeing it once I can't be certain. I'll brew on it for a bit and see if I can't find time to watch it again (in-laws are coming for a week so don't count on it anytime soon unfortunately) –  TylerShads Jul 19 '13 at 13:45
@TylerShades - thanks! Probably not a scene to watch with rapt attention in front of them! –  Liath Jul 19 '13 at 13:46
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In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward. Sherlock is told to open the safe. He protests that he does not know the combination. Irene begins to say "Mr. Holmes doesn't ..." but is interrupted. Most people jump to the incorrect assumption that the end of her statement is "... know the code". (buzz sound) Wong. The sentences would have continued "... know where to look" a reference to there earlier conversation when Watson asks her to put something on. Perhaps a napkin. She says Watson does know where to look but suggests Holmes does not. When Holmes still does not clue in she glances down at her self, since he can not follow her logic she tries his. Once again referencing the earlier conversation when he says "fire exposes our priorities". In this case her priority is not to get shot thus needing Holmes to get the code.

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