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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
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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
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@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! –  tintinmj Jan 3 at 22:11
    
'I guess the real question is, how did Mary 'the receptionist' immediately identify it as a skip code?!' Watches Sherlock. Puts sunglasses on. Leans back in chair with hands behind his head. –  John Smith Optional Jan 12 at 23:47
    
Okay, this may be a huge jump, but has anyone else thought of Moriarty? It was the first thing that popped into my mind. I mean, his real name is James Moriarty, after all. Idk, it could be the location but "James" can't get out of my head. Maybe I've seen too much Sherlock lately. –  Mariana Jan 15 at 11:05
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2 Answers

up vote 11 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
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The explanation for how the skip code works is correct, but all things being equal, the simplest explanation is the most likely. Therefor the victim (Watson) is identified followed by the location (The London Church of the Saint) - and the message is complete. How would she know it? That's explained by her previous career!

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2  
Please try not to use all caps in the future ... drives people nuts, and probably half the reason for the down votes. You might try explaining your answer a little better as well. –  Paulster2 Jan 13 at 0:16
    
Thanks for the SPOILER! –  tintinmj Jan 13 at 10:19
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protected by Dredd Jan 15 at 14:07

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