SOLUTION to Challenge 17: Aurous Coleoptera

Congratulations to Bill Briere for solving Challenge 17 in less than an hour after I posted it!  He gets one point on the Leaderboard!

If you haven’t tried your hand at solving it, read this first.

Here’s original description and ciphertext:

It’s a relatively simple one. The title Aurous Coleoptera should be the only hint you need. To win, be the first to provide the solution AND the source of the quote.

6;95:]80028†‡?2;8†]48;48(4?95*6*38*?6;:-5*-‡*);(?-;5*8*6395‡1;4876*†]46-44?95*6*38*?6;:95:*‡;2:.(‡.8(5..06-5;6‡*(8)‡0¶8


“Aurous” is a synonym for gold. “Coleoptera” is the insect order of beetles. Combine them to get “The Gold Beetle” or “The Gold Bug.”

The plaintext is: “It may well be doubted whether human ingenuity can construct an enigma of the kind which human ingenuity may not, by proper application, resolve.”

This is a quote from the character Legrand in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story The Gold Bug. The cipher is, of course, “The Gold Bug cipher,” a simple substitution cipher that Poe created for his story. When The Gold Bug was originally published in 1843, it helped popularize cryptography and inspired many a young codebreaker.

The solid gold bug in the story was a scarab-like beetle.

You can make your own Gold Bug cipher by using Dcode’s excellent online tool.


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.

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