Month: October 2017

Challenge 11: The Right Type — SOLVED

Update 2017-11-09: We have a winner! Puzzling.Stackexchange user Kayzeroshort solved the puzzle today. It took him 12 days, which means he is awarded 12 points on the Leaderboard. View the solution here.

Here’s Challenge #11 for October 27, 2017.

Today’s cipher is a method I created based on a known method, although it is likely that someone else thought of it before me. Here’s the ciphertext:

YGWCSD QDCHVF WCLEZJ CHCTJQ YUEOYG YSE,GY KYJXDZ KYCYEP IFKWGW
TIHOEP CHRTJR DOCRTU YGY,HB PEDWUC GWU.QD ;WRTDR BESDOY ZDMNUC
SFQDCH RKWCH. POXHQO QFYOY. YPSAYR QFYHYG Y,HGIT YGRT

I’ll give you three clues:

    1. The method is a spinoff of the famous method used to encode Challenge 10.
    2. The punctuation in the ciphertext encodes letters in the plaintext. (There is no punctuation in the solution.)
    3. The following text is not a deciphering tool but a clue that will point you in the right direction. What came after this?
      3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
      2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

New hint! (Updated 2011/11/08): The solve method lies at your fingertips.

With CodeAWeek.com, I hope to release one cipher, puzzle, or mystery each week. Anyone can attempt to solve. The winner is the first person to send a correct solution and a description of the solve method to codemaster@codeaweek.com. Once a correct solution is e-mailed, I will publish a follow-up post, congratulating the winner and revealing the secrets of the code.

You may post questions or theories in the comments, but DO NOT POST SOLUTIONS. E-mail them to codemaster@codeaweek.com.

Challenge 10: No Cheating — SOLVED

Update 2017-10-22: We have a winner! Stackexchange user M Oehm solved the puzzle today. It took him one day, which means he is awarded 1 point on the Leaderboard. (The puzzle is older than one day, but I just posted it today on Puzzling.Stackexchange, and that’s where he solved it.) Read the solution here.

Here’s Challenge #10 for October 15, 2017.

NO CHEATING

Today’s cipher is a famous cryptographic method known for its economy, ingenuity, and difficulty in cracking. Its inventor created all sorts of cool things, including musical instruments, a timepiece especially useful at the North Pole, and the earliest ancestor of the Oculus Rift. Aside from this cipher, which does not bear his name, he is most famous for co-inventing a means of communicating at long distances.

The key to unlocking the mystery is his name. Good luck!

The ciphertext is:

WXYCNW LAHWNZ WONSNI LEXAPE OSMWOW RCSRQC AZ

With CodeAWeek.com, I hope to release one cipher, puzzle, or mystery each week. Anyone can attempt to solve. The winner is the first person to send a correct solution and a description of the solve method to codemaster@codeaweek.com. Once a correct solution is e-mailed, I will publish a follow-up post, congratulating the winner and revealing the secrets of the code.

You may post questions or theories in the comments, but DO NOT POST SOLUTIONS. E-mail them to codemaster@codeaweek.com.

SOLUTION to Challenge 8: The Cardboard Box

Congratulations to Puzzling.Stackexchange user Neremanth for solving Challenge 8 on September 30 at 0:45 UTC. They solved the challenge 21 minutes after I reposted it on Puzzling.Stackexchange! For this, Neremanth is awarded one point.

I’ll reveal the secrets below, but if you haven’t tried your hand, read this first.

The goal was to decode this ciphertext:

SOMRF XCIAJ QELYQ DWFHU GQVMJ SOMTP NZKQB

…using this poem:

A clerk gave me a cardboard box
that now I give it to you
It once held t-shirts, jeans, and socks
It now holds one left shoe
Take out the shoe and put it on
then head to liquor store
Now drink the whiskey till it’s gone
and then drink thirteen more
Pack my box with liquor jugs,
five dozen — all in all
Checkout with clerks and give them hugs
and then go have a ball
Don’t wreck your car, though you are wrecked
and don’t heed every sign
Dead ends, some lead to misdirect,
save line and half a line

The solution is after the jump.

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“Dead ends, some lead to misdirect,
save line and half a line”

There is a hint in these final two lines. The majority of the poem is filler. Except for the final two lines hint, only a line and a half are useful.

The useful lines are:

“Pack my box with liquor jugs,
five dozen — all in all”

Now remove the half line “all in all” and you get:

“Pack my box with liquor jugs, five dozen”

Notice anything remarkable about this?

It is a pangram.

A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter in the alphabet. The one I used is a variation of the famous pangram “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.” I moved the words around to make it (almost) fit my meter.

Since a pangram contains all 26 letters in the alphabet, it makes a perfect cipher key. Removing the repeat occurrences of letters gets:

“PACKMYBOXWITHLQURJGSFVEDZN”

Line that up with the standard alphabet:

“PACKMYBOXWITHLQURJGSFVEDZN”
“ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ”

Now we can see that ciphertext P decodes to plaintext A, etc, etc.

So the code:

SOMRF XCIAJ QELYQ DWFHU GQVMJ SOMTP NZKQB

…becomes:

THEQU ICKBR OWNFO XJUMP SOVER THELA ZYDOG

When grouped into words, that becomes:

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

…which is the most famous pangram in the English language.

With CodeAWeek.com, I hope to release one cipher, puzzle, or mystery every week. Anyone can attempt to solve. The winner is the first person to send a correct solution and a description of the solve method to codemaster@codeaweek.com. Once a correct solution is e-mailed, I will publish a follow-up post, congratulating the winner and revealing the secrets of the code.

You may post questions or theories in the comments, but DO NOT POST SOLUTIONS. E-mail them to codemaster@codeaweek.com.

Challenge 9: The Collection — SOLVED

Update 2017-10-21: We have a winner! Stackexchange user Eedrah solved the puzzle today. It took him 13 days, which means he is awarded 13 points on the Leaderboard.

Here’s Challenge #9 for October 7, 2017.

THE COLLECTION

My great uncle from Atlanta died last month, and my family drove there to attend the funeral and prepare his house for an estate sale.

When I was cleaning his office, I found a strange note.  I’ve stared at it for hours, and I just can’t figure out what it means. Maybe you can help. I am attaching a copy at actual size. I added a 1″ mark on the side, so if you print it, you can make sure it’s properly sized.

The note wasn’t the only strange thing in his office. Every square inch was filled with Coca Cola memorabilia — posters, newspaper ads, toys, and unopened bottles.  By far his largest collection was of 12 oz. Coke cans from different eras. There must have been hundreds!  And apparently when he wrote the note, he was thirsty. Right beside it was a Coke can, the only empty one in the room.

Other than the Coke memorabilia, the room looked like a typical office. On his desk were pencils, a spiral notebook, a cloth tape measure, Scotch tape, and a pair of scissors, though I doubt most of this has anything to do with the note.

Maybe it’s all just gibberish, or maybe there’s more than meets the eye. Can you help me solve the mystery?

With CodeAWeek.com, I hope to release one cipher, puzzle, or mystery every week. Anyone can attempt to solve. The winner is the first person to send a correct solution and a description of the solve method to codemaster@codeaweek.com. Once a correct solution is e-mailed, I will publish a follow-up post, congratulating the winner and revealing the secrets of the code.

You may post questions or theories in the comments, but DO NOT POST SOLUTIONS. E-mail them to codemaster@codeaweek.com.