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NiroZ
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For this month’s contest, we’ll be having a break from the incessant onslaught of architecture contests to have one about secret messages.

Tha Rulez
This contest will work by having people somehow encrypt :
quote:

‘There was, once upon a time, a place where troglodytes lived in peace. It was dirty, filthy, and wholly unsanitary. Thus, the troglodytes did consider changing, but having only discovered square wheels, moving was a rather painful process.’

In whatever way they chose, provided they use only the characters found on a US standard keyboard (which can be changed in the settings if you want to know what that would look like, or if you can’t be bothered, just use the English letters and numbers and punctuation)

Once they have done this, they will post the product in this thread. In the following untiltime tags, they will explain how to decrypt the message [unhidetime=8/28/2009 12:00 PM]Your hidden text.[/unhidetime]

In order to assist me with identifying who has submitted an entry, they will have the title of their entry listed in blue, above the entry. Any entry that does not do this will be ignored.
Not that the entries should be done by hand, and solvable by hand. This isn’t a programming contest.

Players may submit up to 3 entries.

Timing
After two weeks, on the Local Time:08-28-2009 at 01:00 PM in negative 520 weeks, 6 days, I’ll then put up a poll for people to vote on how good a puzzle each particular secret message was.


Prizes are as usual:
100 rank points (not to be confused with mod points) and a pick from the prize pile for winning
50 rank points for coming second
25 for coming third.

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A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.


[Last edited by NiroZ at 08-14-2009 01:44 PM]
08-14-2009 at 06:44 AM
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Neather2
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I'm in. Cool contest, a very different one.

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08-14-2009 at 07:17 AM
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Tahnan
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Good question. I can think offhand of a few dozen ways I might encode the message (setting aside the really obvious and boring ones like "Morse code" and "look, each word is backwards!"), but I somehow suspect I'm not allowed to submit a few dozen entries.

EDIT: oh wait....

quote:
Not[e] that the entries should be done by hand, and solvable by hand. This isn't a programming contest.
Really? Oh. Because that's a really long message to encode by hand. My few dozen ways is down to, um, hm. One, with a margin of error of one; mostly because I'm too lazy to do by hand anything that I could write a program for.

Though actually, this does raise a certain question. "solvable by hand"--are there limits on that? For instance, one way to encode the message is to provide a text of which every hundredth letter is "T, h, e, r, e, w, a, s...." That's solvable by hand, assuming you have the patience to count all 32,700 letters; it's just a whole lot faster to do with a single line of, say, Python. Would the entry still be legitimate? (And if so, it's the case that we genuinely must create the encoded form by hand, as opposed to saying "I could do this by hand, but I used this Python script..."?)

[Last edited by Tahnan at 08-14-2009 09:10 AM]
08-14-2009 at 09:04 AM
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hyperme
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Hyperme's Simply Symbolic Secret

-85(5 /1)^%35=&^%1-9$51‡/85)5-(^7#^4x-5)#9+549%&51359-/1)49(-x69#-8x1%4/8^##x=%)1%9-1(x-8=)-85-(^7#^4x-5)4943^%)945(381%79%72=-81+9%7^%#x49)3^+5(54)*=1(5/855#)$^+9%7/1)1(1-85(&19%6=#&r^35))6^(=%1-5#x6^)-85$^3t17^%/855#)^665(9%7$=38)$^^-85(-(1%s&^(-/5(5!=)-1(^=%4-833^(%5(2=-1##-89) /1(&=(5#x13145$931-851)-5(^94#^^$54%51(5(

The first nine letters are rreplaced by the first nine numbers.
The next ten are replaced by the ten symbols above the base-10 digits on a keyboard.
The next four are replaced by -, =, + and /, in that order.
The last three are locally shifted left by one.
Yes, this is all hand typed.




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[Last edited by hyperme at 08-14-2009 11:42 AM : US Keyboard]
08-14-2009 at 09:49 AM
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Neather2
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Ok, saw the hyperme's entry, so quickly, i haven't any chance to win. But i'll try however.

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08-14-2009 at 09:55 AM
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skell
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Saw, decoded and, apparently, found a couple of mistakes.
Good there are 2 weeks to come up with something.

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08-14-2009 at 10:20 AM
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Neather2
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Neather2's Secret Message of Doom I

^h^rt s?w’ ^nc4 n%4u ? ^imt ? ^l?c% ^h^rw sroglodyt^t div^l ni ^^?c%+ Ti s?w yirtyd' yilthf' dn? yhollw yns?nit?ru+ Shut^ ^ht sroglodyt^t did ronsid^c gh?nginc’ tub g?vinh ynlo 1iscov^r^1 ^qu?rs sh^^lw’ govinm s?w ? 2?th^2 l?infu% sroc^s%+

Changed first letter with the last, except in one or two word where it was impossible, using ' as , and + as . Same symbol or numer (like%,^ or 1) means the same letter.

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Conspiracy, my new hold, has just been released.

[Last edited by Neather2 at 08-15-2009 07:40 PM]
08-14-2009 at 10:43 AM
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coppro
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quote:
hyperme wrote:
£


quote:
NiroZ wrote:
US standard keyboard

08-14-2009 at 11:08 AM
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Neather2
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quote:
coppro wrote:
quote:
hyperme wrote:
£


quote:
NiroZ wrote:
US standard keyboard



It's just Shift+3

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Conspiracy, my new hold, has just been released.
08-14-2009 at 11:33 AM
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hyperme
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Okay, I'll change it to US form.

The US people don't have the £ symbol on their keyboard, instead they have #.

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[Last edited by hyperme at 08-14-2009 11:43 AM]
08-14-2009 at 11:36 AM
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Tim
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Interesting contest. Reminds me of >A Quick Brown Fox...<, but with a much longer sentence.

I'm not sure if I want to participate yet. The sentence looks afwully long to me (to type it in corretcly). :(

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08-14-2009 at 12:14 PM
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Dr. Murphy
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I'll join. Sounds like a really interesting contest.
08-14-2009 at 01:15 PM
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NiroZ
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Totally forgotten about that forum game.

Anyway, shorted the sentence to:
quote:
‘There was, once upon a time, a place where troglodytes lived in peace. It was dirty, filthy, and wholly unsanitary. Thus, the troglodytes did consider changing, but having only discovered square wheels, moving was a rather painful process.’
considering length is an issue.

I'll limit it to 3 entries.

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Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.

08-14-2009 at 01:42 PM
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jbluestein
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jbluestein's Inexplicably Complicated Yet Simple Cipher

[%y343cvbnm2qwkvbnmc9hd3bnmcv709hnmcvbqmcvbn58j3kcvbnmqvbnmc0oqd3bnmcv2y343nmcvb
549to9e653wmcvbno8f3ecvbnm8hvbnmc03qd3lbnmcv*5nmcvb2qwmcvbne8456kcvbnm
r8o5y6kvbnmcqhebnmcv2y9oo6nmcvb7hwqh85q46lmcvbn%y7wkcvbnm5y3vbnmc
549to9e653wbnmcve8enmcvbd9hw8e34mcvbndyqht8htkcvbnmg75vbnmcyqf8htbnmcv
9ho6nmcvbe8wd9f343emcvbnw17q43cvbnm2y33owkvbnmcj9f8htbnmcv2qwnmcvbqmcvbn
4q5y34cvbnm0q8hr7ovbnmc049d3wwl[


This is a simple keyboard shift encoding. Every keystroke is shifted one space higher on the keyboard. So 'a' maps to 'q'. The space bar is a special case, since it has five keys above it 'cvbnm'. Since the keys aren't used for anything else, any ordering suffices. In the above coding, I simply rotated it, so the first space was 'cvbnm', the next was 'vbnmc' and so on.

Some may choose to complain that this encoding doesn't permit encoding of numerals...it's true, but hopefully nobody will ever try to use this for anything, so I'm calling it moot.


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08-14-2009 at 03:19 PM
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Pekka
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Does the encrypted text have to include any of the things in the original text as listed below?

outer quote marks
spaces
punctuation
capitalization
unique letters

By the last point I refer to the practice in some historical ciphers to fold together i and j, for example. Is anything of that kind allowed as long as it is reasonably possible to recover the original text from the encrypted version? Or do we have to be letter, space and comma perfect wrt the original?


08-14-2009 at 03:51 PM
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NiroZ
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quote:
Tahnan wrote:
Though actually, this does raise a certain question. "solvable by hand"--are there limits on that? For instance, one way to encode the message is to provide a text of which every hundredth letter is "T, h, e, r, e, w, a, s...." That's solvable by hand, assuming you have the patience to count all 32,700 letters; it's just a whole lot faster to do with a single line of, say, Python. Would the entry still be legitimate? (And if so, it's the case that we genuinely must create the encoded form by hand, as opposed to saying "I could do this by hand, but I used this Python script..."?)
Solvable by hand doesn't just mean technically possible. It also has to be feasible to be done by hand.

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Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.

08-14-2009 at 03:56 PM
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Pekka
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There's no need to answer my question above, but I'll leave it for others' benefit. I assumed I need to conserver spaces, punctuation and letter case. I dropped the '-marks.

Here, then, is my only entry in this contest. Now actually to be found in the correct place.

Pekka's railwpsa Cipher
railwpsa spsigli ngnaragtnira ,aiavilr rtnhopsaby Iacmsptu.w  s  liht ate.nr,a
re Tsr reuesrarhh oanec dlil audg wohayiepspvsilta pwelsespai,roisTeu plnhlin 
tdm,hr e oowangtyye eecnhc rf h,t,ocaiw eiuoe e nl  drpln fsapddias lti  endul
pyrllva qar oti ssrodgh,e icilytdpesoyesscdrlsoea.vrsip



The railwpsa method consist of writing the text in a spiral starting from the center, padding the text so it makes a square with an odd side length, and then reading it in diagonals, starting from upper left. The details are as follows.

Where the text begins is the center of the spiral. First I go right from there and then continue wrap the text around clockwise. When it runs out, I pad the spiral with the word 'spiral' repeated and run together until I get to the the upper right corner. For this text, this makes for a 17 x 17 square with the initial T in the center.

Next I read the text in consecutive diagonals, starting from the upper left corner. The diagonals start from the first yet unread letter and go down and left. Thus the coordinates of the first few diagonals are as follows:

Just upper left corner: (1,1)
Next line of two chars: (2,1) to (1,2)
Next line of three chars: (3,1) to (1,3) (via (2,2))

and so on, until I finish in the bottom right like so

(17,15) to (15,17) and (17,16) to (16, 17) and lastly, (17, 17).

As a result of this, the initial letters of the plaintext is put right at the middle of the ciphertext. That is the capital 'T' in 'roisTeu' in the ciphertext here.

This gives the encrypted text, which I have broken into lines of 78 characters in a cheap attempt to confuse the cryptanalyst :).

Now to decrypt it. Counting the letters and other characters carefully, we find that the message consists of 289 characters, which implies it fits into a square of 17 x 17 spots. We start filling these from the upper left corner in the same order they were read originally. Thus I first put the initial 'r' into the top left corner. Then I write 'a' to the right of it and 'i' below. The third diagonal consists of the three letters 'lwp', and so it goes until I fill the square, writing the last letter in the bottom right corner.

Then it is a matter of just reading the text starting from the center square, going right once and then following the unread letters clockwise. It should be the original text to the letter, unless I made a mistake somewhere along the line. I did double-check by noting that many letters ended up exactly where they should have.

I hope you enjoyed puzzling this one out. The spiralspiralspiral filler was meant as a little hint, because it ended up as a part of the initial string railwpsa.

08-14-2009 at 05:28 PM
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NiroZ
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Pekka, I'd say that you have to preserve everything except the ''s.

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A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.

08-14-2009 at 05:35 PM
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hyperme
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quote:
NiroZ wrote:
Pekka, I'd say that you have to preserve everything except the ''s.


This would of been nice to know from the beggining of the contest, you know.

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08-14-2009 at 06:08 PM
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Pekka
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quote:
NiroZ wrote:
Pekka, I'd say that you have to preserve everything except the ''s.


OK, luckily I did just that. I'll keep my entry as is then :)
08-14-2009 at 06:30 PM
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Sillyman
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Hmm... it looks like somebody has stolen my idea. Grr... but wait, another idea approaches!

(secreted due to xbox hueg)

Some kinda whitespace shenanigans?

Click here to view the secret text


Solution:
Click here to view the secret text


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08-14-2009 at 07:11 PM
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Tahnan
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quote:
Neather2 wrote:
^h^rt s?w’ ^nc4 n%4u ? ^imt ? ^l?c% ^h^rw sroglodyt^t div^l ni ^^?c%+ Ti s?w yirtyd^ yilthf^ dn? yhollw yns?nit?ru+ Shut^ ^ht sroglodyt^t did ronsid^c gh?nginc^’ tub g?vinh ynlo 1iscov^r^1 ^qu?rs sh^^lw’ govinm s?w ? 2?th^2 l?infu% sroc^s%+

So I'm trying to understand the codes, and either this has a few errors, or I need to think more about the decoding. (I was going to send PMs, but I figured there ought to be a record of any changes.)

So in this one:
Click here to view the secret text


Again, if these aren't errors, let us know, so that I can go back to trying to break the code.

08-15-2009 at 08:29 AM
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Tahnan
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Tahnan's cipher (it's probably apparent)

E34 2Xa iQjX 2Xh5w X0Qh X 5|j iQjX X 0o3w @34 54(toXe|5w o*fe *h 08w 0848Xe *5 2Xa e$58 iQjX rO%8 iQjX Mhe y9o8 XhwMh*5348 0848Xe EXw iQjX EX 54(toXe|5w e*e iXhw*e$ D3hu8H iQjX gX5 yMf*H 9ho8 e*wiXf$e wi234 @8oa iQjX j7f*H 2Xa X 4ME$ 03hrO 04Qw#w 0848Xe

This is really just a cryptogram, though as the astute reader might have picked up from the initials of the parenthetical remark, it's an IPA cryptogram: that is, it uses the International Phonetic Alphabet, or at least an ASCII approximation. (Note that there are standards for that, but I didn't really use them. This is just my own transcription.)

The text in IPA reads: Der w@z kAm@ w@nts @pAn @ t|m kAm@ @ ples Wer trOgl@d|ts lIvd In pis piri@d It w@z dRti kAm@ fLTi kAm@ &nd holi @ns&nIteri piri@d D@s kAm@ D@ trOgl@d|ts dId k@nsIdR CenjiN kAm@ b@t h&vIN onli dIsk@vRd skwer Wilz kAm@ muvIN w@z @ r&DR penfL prAsEs piri@d. Lowercase consonants are pronounced as you'd expect. Other correspondences are: @ = schwa (the sound in "was" or "but"), D and T = the two "th" sounds, N = "ng", R and L = "syllabic" versions, C = "ch"; e, i, o, u = the Romance language sounds of the letters, as in "bane, bean, bone, boon"...well, you get the idea, probably. Also, in order to preserve punctuation, "comma" and "period" have been spelled out.

Pronunciations are mine, so for instance "process" has an "ah" sound and not an "oh" sound. Your dialect may differ.

To encode the IPA text, I just used the next key up on an American keyboard, wrapping as needed, so that e -> 3, E -> #, @ -> X, and so on. Except for |, which I used for the "long i" in English; I left that as it was. (EDIT: I finally decoded jbluestein's and discovered that he also used the technique of moving up one space on the keyboard, and similarly preserved the shift key. Out of a sense of fairness, I won't change my encoding now; please do take into account that we hit on the technique independently.)

[Last edited by Tahnan at 08-15-2009 09:47 AM]
08-15-2009 at 09:12 AM
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Neather2
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quote:
Tahnan wrote:
quote:
Neather2 wrote:
^h^rt s?w’ ^nc4 n%4u ? ^imt ? ^l?c% ^h^rw sroglodyt^t div^l ni ^^?c%+ Ti s?w yirtyd^ yilthf^ dn? yhollw yns?nit?ru+ Shut^ ^ht sroglodyt^t did ronsid^c gh?nginc^’ tub g?vinh ynlo 1iscov^r^1 ^qu?rs sh^^lw’ govinm s?w ? 2?th^2 l?infu% sroc^s%+

So I'm trying to understand the codes, and either this has a few errors, or I need to think more about the decoding. (I was going to send PMs, but I figured there ought to be a record of any changes.)

So in this one:
Click here to view the secret text


Again, if these aren't errors, let us know, so that I can go back to trying to break the code.



There are a few errors that i'm going to fix now but not all you said is true.

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Conspiracy, my new hold, has just been released.

[Last edited by Neather2 at 08-15-2009 07:43 PM]
08-15-2009 at 07:37 PM
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brian_s
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Ternary Text Trouble

Rgzrcftiv,dgb-lfvqciisg-fil,oabjijcbjtbuxbituhalpaxsqsaiodeaiijks-jua.iRtatf-leiixf,uds-thy,aaebjkdyroocwlgdcot-ut.rKhus,fbhbituhalpaxsqrajiccdpbuajfir-ogjouio,uhct-fgvjkatinnsaccseitlo-luwgofakfehamxs,ajpucioutiv--ct-ebuxcfdleful-ptiblgr.-i

Note: the hyphens denote spaces in the code text. The line breaks mean nothing in the code.


Assign each letter a value: a=1, b=2, c=3, ... z=26. Let a space equal 0 and ignore punctuation, leaving it in place.

Convert each letter and space to base 3. The first three letters 'The' become 202, 022, 012.

Take the values three at a time and create three new values by taking the first digit of each, the second digit of each, and the third digit of each: 200 021 222

Convert the numbers back to letters to get 'Rgz'. The same process can be used to decode the message.

  R G Z
T 2 0 2
H 0 2 2
E 0 1 2


08-16-2009 at 02:10 AM
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blorx1
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my entry Blorx1's practically perfect puzzle

Twouatapwlip-hanp_i_lhrine-esco_m_aeov_a-r,en_e_crge_c-e____,_eeld_e-_________o__.-_________d___-_________y___-_________t___-_________e___-_________s___--Iwdfawu-taiinhn-_srldos-__tt_la-__yh_ln-__,y_yi-___,__t-______a-______r-______y-______.--Tttdccbhodswmwarpp-hhriohuaniqhoa_aar-ueodnatvlsuevs_tio-s_g_sn_iycaei__hnc-,_l_ig_n_orln__efe-__o_di_g_vesg__rus-__d_en___e_,____ls-__y_rg___r_______.-__t__,___e________-__e______d________-__s_______________


Click here to view the secret text



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08-19-2009 at 02:00 AM
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Samuel
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Do we have to write the troglodyte text in a different code or any text we wish?

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I believe in everything until it's
disproved. So I believe in fairies,
the myths, dragons. It all exists,
even if it's in your mind. Who's to
say that dreams and nightmares
aren't as real as the here and now?
John Lennon
08-19-2009 at 11:03 AM
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NiroZ
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icon Re: Secret Message (0)  
What do you mean? There are plenty of examples of how the entries are to be made.

____________________________
A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.

08-19-2009 at 12:20 PM
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noma
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I think Samuel's asking if entrants are allowed to encrypt any text, or if they must use the text you provided.

Samuel, if that's the case, then I'm pretty sure that you must use the "troglodyte text." NiroZ can confirm that, but the rule seems pretty clear: "This contest will work by having people somehow encrypt: ‘There was, once upon a time, a place where troglodytes lived in peace ....’"
08-19-2009 at 12:48 PM
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Tim
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icon Re: Secret Message (+1)  
Tim's Simple Code

Issecorp. Flufniap Prehtar a saw Ignivom Esleehw, Perauqs derevocsid Zylno Agnivah Stub Agnignahc, Credisnoc did Esetydolgort Ceht PsuhT, Tyratinasnu. Wyllohw Edna Byhtlif, Pytrid, saw EtI Decaep. Ani devil Esetydolgort Jerehw ecalp a emit, a nopu Tecno saw, PerehT.


How to decrypt the message:

1. Remove the last dot.
2. If a word starts with a Capital Letter, remove that letter.
3. Reverse the text.
4. Move the dots and commas back to the end of the word.

This encryption is intentionally meant to be easy. ;)



____________________________
The best way to lose customers is to let little kids running loose on a forum with too many mod points.
08-19-2009 at 01:10 PM
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