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In the first episode of season 3 of Sherlock named as "The Empty Hearse". We can see that Mary received a message from the John's kidnapper(s). Mary said it's a skip code and Sherlock told that the formula to decrypt is

First word, then every third

The message after decryption was like

Save souls Now!

John or James Watson!

Saint or Sinner?

James or John?

The more is less?

But according to Sherlock's theory how is it possible? As Saint is just after Watson. So what am I missing?

Also picture of the scenes

enter image description here

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3  
I am not sure about it, but i think both are 2 separate messages. –  Dredd Jan 3 at 21:44
2  
I guess the real question is, how did Mary 'the receptionist' immediately identify it as a skip code?! well spotted. –  John Smith Optional Jan 3 at 21:59
1  
@JohnSmithOptional Yes I also thought about that question but asking here will give us some opinion based answer which is not welcome in SE sites. Maybe Mary was reading John's blog and if you go through the story you will also get that sms was some sort of puzzle or maybe something else which will be reavealed later! –  Anirban Nag Jan 3 at 22:11
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@JohnSmithOptional the answer to your question is revealed on episode 3. –  Dredd Jan 15 at 14:09
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erm...yeah... that's what the comment is about? ;) I figured something was up with this last week.... –  John Smith Optional Jan 15 at 14:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

If you rewatch it, they are indeed two separate messages. They pop up on her screen separately.

Save souls Now!

John or James Watson!

then

Saint or Sinner?

James or John?

The more is less?

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2  
+1 darn i knew it , i should've typed the answer on my instinct! –  Dredd Jan 3 at 21:51
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I really thought someone would get it first while I fast-forwarded to find it as verification. –  Meat Trademark Jan 3 at 21:54
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We @ Movies SE strive for correct answers than quick answers :P –  Dredd Jan 3 at 21:59
    
Msgs to her came the way this answer is.. Actully each line is a new message. –  Ronak Bhatt Jan 7 at 7:02

I don't think grouping the messages is relevant. The pattern applies to each individual sentence.

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The sentences are only three or four words each, so the order of the sentences is very important. "Save The Less James Saint John Watson" doesn't make much sense. –  Meat Trademark Jun 11 at 22:33
    
The OP wanted to know why 'Saint' would follow 'Watson' and the accepted answer implied that 'Saint or Sinner' was the start of a second separate message (meaning it would use the first word) whereas in reality the 'First then every third' applies to each individual sentence. Therefore, trying to group the messages is irrelevant. See also Ronak Bhatt's answer. –  mdisibio Jun 12 at 3:17
    
Re: your edit. Just because I disagree with you, or you weren't clear enough in your statement makes me a "smartass?" No need to be rude. And if you notice, each of the two messages does following the every third word, even among the sentences. This is what confused the OP, and why my answer was accepted. I answered their question about a possible discrepancy. And the groupings matter as they each give a complete message. 1- Rescue, 2- Location. –  Meat Trademark Jun 12 at 16:23
    
Apologies for the rudeness. However, I also considered your ridicule a bit rude as well. Just state 'if sentence order is not important, the deciphered code would be jumbled'. Then, if I don't clarify the answer, a downvote is justified. I'll delete the answer in a bit, since there seems to be such an outcry. –  mdisibio Jun 12 at 17:12
    
I didn't mean it as ridicule, at all, just as an example of how the message would not make sense out of order. That's the problem with text sometimes. It's sometimes hard to "read." Sorry you took it as such. And I didn't know a clarification would be coming. I thought you meant the order didn't matter. Period. No need to delete. Near as I can tell, the only outcry was me. Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't understand what you were trying to say. So be it. (Mainly, I just didn't like being called a "smartass" when I didn't think it was justified. Apology accepted. Downvote retracted.) Peace. –  Meat Trademark Jun 12 at 17:28

protected by Dredd Jan 15 at 14:07

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