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 Post subject: Schlock Cryptologist
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 3:26 am 
New Forum game.
Code:
.,.: .,', ;:': ;:., .,', ;'', ;';: ;,;' ;,.: ;'', ;,.: ;:., ;'': ;'', ;';: ;'.: ;,.: ;'', ;,;: ;:;: .,;' ;,.: .,;, ;';, ;:., ;,.: .,', ;,.: .,.: ;';, ;';: ;:., ;:.' .,', .,.: ;:., ;,.: .,;: ;';, ;:.' ;,.: ;:;' ;:.: ;,.: ;:., ;';, ;,.: .,.: ;';, ;';: ;:.: ;'', .,., .,;' ;:.' ;,;, ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: ;';: .,;' ;'.' ;'.' .,', ;:., ;,.: ;:;, ;';, ;:.' ;';' .,;, .,', ;:., .,;' ;,.: ;'': .,', ;:.: ;,.: .,.' .,;' .,;' ;';: ;,.: .,.' ;';, .,', ;:.' .,., .,;' .,., ;,.: .,', ;';: .,., ;,.: ;:.: ;'': ;:;' ;:., ;,.: .,., ;';, ;:;, ;';: ;,;' ;,.: .,', ;';: .,., ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: .,;, ;';, ;:;: .,;' ;:.' ;';: ;';' .,;' ;';: ;:., ;,.: ;'', ;:.: ;,.: ;';, .,;: .,;: .,;' ;:.' ;'', ;';: .,;, ;,.: .,', ;,.: ;'': ;'', .,;, ;'': ;,.: ;:': ;:.' ;'', .,.: .,;' ;,.: ;:., ;';, ;,.: ;:.' .,;' .,.: ;';, ;:;: .,;' ;:.' ;,.: ;'', ;:., ;,;, ;,.: ;:;, ;';, ;:;, ;,;, ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,', ;:., ;,;: ;:.: ;,.: ;:': .,;' ;:.' .,;: .,;' .,.: ;:., ;,;, ;,.: ;:;, ;'', ;:., ;'': ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: ;:., .,;' ;:.' .,', ;:': ;';, ;:.' ;:., ;,.: ;:;, .,;' ;,.: .,', ;:.' .,;' ;,.: ;:': ;:.' ;';, .,.' .,', .,.' ;'., ;,', ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: ;';, ;';: ;'., ;,', ;,.: ;:.: ;'': ;'', ;:': ;,.: ;'', ;';: ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: .,;, .,', ;'., .,', ;,': ;,', ;,.: .,.: .,', ;:': .,', .,.' ;'., .,;' ;,.: ;';, .,;: ;,.: .,;, .,;' ;:., ;:., ;'', ;';: .,;, ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;:.' .,;' ;,.: .,', ;';: .,., .,., ;';, ;'', ;';: .,;, ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: ;'.' ;';, .,.' ;,;, ;';, .,;: ;,.: .,.: ;';, ;:;' ;:.' ;:.: .,;' ;,.: ;'', .,;: ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;'', ;:.' ;,.: ;:;, ;';, ;:.' ;';' .,;, .,', ;:., .,;' ;,.: .,;, .,;' ;:., ;:.: ;,.: .,., .,;' ;:.: ;:., ;:.' ;';, ;,', .,;' .,., ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: .,;' ;';: ;:., ;'', ;:.' .,;' ;';: .,;' ;'.' ;'.' .,', ;:., ;,.: ;:.: ;,', ;:.: ;:., .,;' ;';' ;,.: ;:;, ;';, ;:;' ;'., .,., ;,.: .,.' .,;' ;,.: .,', ;,.: ;:;, ;'', .,., .,;' ;,., ;';, ;:': .,;' ;';: ;,.: ;';' .,', ;:.' ;'.: .,;' ;:., ;,.: .,;: ;';, ;:.' ;,.: ;:;' ;:.: ;,.: ;:., ;';, ;,.: ;:.: .,;' ;'., ;'., ;,.: ;:., ;'': .,;' ;,.: ;:., .,;' ;:.' .,', ;:': ;';, ;:.' ;:., ;,.: ;'', ;';: ;:., ;';, ;,;, ;';, ;:;' .,.: ;'': ;,;, ;,.: .,.: .,', ;';: ;,.: ;,', ;';, ;:;' ;,.: ;:.: .,', ;,', ;,.: ;,;: .,.: ;';, ;';: .,;: ;'., ;'', .,.: ;:., ;,.: ;';, .,;: ;,.: ;'', ;';: ;:., .,;' ;:.' .,;' ;:.: ;:., ;,;: .,.: .,', ;';: ;,.: ;,', ;';, ;:;' ;,.: ;:.: .,', ;,', ;,.: ;,;: ;:;, ;'', ;';: ;,., ;:;, ;'', ;';: ;,;:

This encrypted text was intercepted from an alien transmission originating from this planet, from the context we determined that this code is actually the text from a web comic known only as "Schlock Mercenary". Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to determine which comic it came from.

Feel free to post any ideas of the code's structure, i'll reveal a clue every so often.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 3:45 am 
Offline
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
OK, if I had my handy-dandy symbol frequency counter, a printout of this, and a bunch of time, oh yeah and some energy... I could solve this thing.

Unfortunately, I'm far too lazy.

My solution would involve converting each character into a symbol I can work with (English letter), plugging those symbols into the frequency counter, and using knowledge of letter frequency in the English language to start decoding.

Oh yeah, and hoping it's just a straight cipher and not some complex thinger.

Anyway, I'm far too lazy to attempt this. But the code kicks ass.

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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 Post subject: Clarifications, pt 1
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 3:48 am 
Some clarifications from IRC, The code is linear, line breaks are meaningless. the spaces between the charicter groups are merely so that it wraps better. the empty space on the far right is also meaningless, the forum mangled that a bit. :(

Have fun!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 3:29 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
There are 5 distinct symbols: . (period) , (comma) : (colon) ; (semicolon) ' (apostrophe)

This isn't enough for it to be a simple one-character monoalphabetic cipher. It looks to me like groups of two symbols each equal a letter; that makes 25 combinations to encode letters with, and it's reasonable to assume that one letter wasn't in the strip, like Z or Q or X. It could be a polyalphabetic cipher, but those would be rather hard to break even if you knew how, and I don't think Kaz is that mean. :)


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 4:58 pm 
Offline
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
I don't think they're 2-symbol groups per letter. That would give 952 letters, or (with average word size 5) 190 words. I don't believe even the wordiest Sunday strip contains that many words.

I'm thinking 4 symbols per letter. That would give 476 letters, or 95 words. A much more realistic word count, I believe there are some of the Sunday strips which contain that many words.

Although 4 symbols per letter provides far more possibilities, how many of these possibilities are used?

The other question, are there any punctuation marks in this?

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:22 pm 
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Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
OK, I think Jeremiah was right about it being 2-symbol groups.

I just converted the first 9 4-symbol groups to English letters, so I could see patterns easier... Starting with the first group as A, sequentially lettering each different group...

The first 9 characters, if this were 4-symbol groups, are ABCDBEFGH -- I can't think of any combination of 9 characters in English words that would follow this pattern. So, I'm going to agree with Jeremiah, they're probably 2-symbol groups, 25 letters. Oh well, gives a bigger sample population.

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:50 pm 
Offline
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Decoded from 2-symbol groups into English letters.

Key:
Code:
.. A
., B
.' C
.; D
.: E
,. F
,, G
,' H
,; I
,: J
'. K
', L
'' M
'; N
': O
;. P
;, R
;' S
;; T
;: U
:. V
:, W
:' X
:; Y
:: Z


Decoding:
Code:
B E B L U O U B B L S L S U R S R E S L R E U B S O S L S U S E R E S L R U U U B S R E B R S R U B R E B L R E B E S R S U U B U C B L B E U B R E B U S R U C R E U S U E R E U B S R R E B E S R S U U E S L B B B S U C R R U B S O B S R E S U B S S C S C B L U B R E U R S R U C S S B R B L U B B S R E S O B L U E R E B C B S B S S U R E B C S R B L U C B B B S B B R E B L S U B B R E U E S O U S U B R E B B S R U R S U R S R E B L S U B B R E U B S O B S R E B R S R U U B S U C S U S S B S S U U B R E S L U E R E S R B U B U B S U C S L S U B R R E B L R E S O S L B R S O R E U O U C S L B E B S R E U B S R R E U C B S B E S R U U B S U C R E S L U B R R R E U R S R U R R R R E U B S O B L U B R U U E R E U O B S U C B U B S B E U B R R R E U R S L U B S O R E U B S O B S R E U B B S U C B L U O S R U C U B R E U R B S R E B L U C B S R E U O U C S R B C B L B C S B R L R E U B S O B S R E S R S U S B R L R E U E S O S L U O R E S L S U R E U B S O B S R E B R B L S B B L R O R L R E B E B L U O B L B C S B B S R E S R B U R E B R B S U B U B S L S U B R R E U B S O B S U C B S R E B L S U B B B B S R S L S U B R R E U B S O B S R E S C S R B C R R S R B U R E B E S R U S U C U E B S R E S L B U R E U B S O B S S L U C R E U R S R U C S S B R B L U B B S R E B R B S U B U E R E B B B S U E U B U C S R R L B S B B R E U B S O B S R E B S S U U B S L U C B S S U B S S C S C B L U B R E U E R L U E U B B S S S R E U R S R U S S B B B R E B C B S R E B L R E U R S L B B B S R B S R U O B S S U R E S S B L U C S E B S U B R E B U S R U C R E U S U E R E U B S R R E U E B S S B S B R E U B S O B S R E U B B S U C B L U O S R U C U B R E S L S U U B S R R R S R U S B E S O R R R E B E B L S U R E R L S R U S R E U E B L R L R E R U B E S R S U B U S B S L B E U B R E S R B U R E S L S U U B B S U C B S U E U B R U B E B L S U R E R L S R U S R E U E B L R L R E R U U R S L S U R B U R S L S U R U

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:04 pm 
Offline
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Here's a frequency count of this decoding.

Code:
A 0 0%     B 197 20%  C 38 4%    D 0 0%     E 114 12%
F 0 0%     G 0 0%     H 0 0%     I 0 0%     J 0 0%
K 0 0%     L 62 6%    M 0 0%     N 0 0%     O 29 3%
P 0 0%     Q 0 0%     R 171 18%  S 187 19%  T 0 0%
U 164 17%  V 0 0%     W 0 0%     X 0 0%     Y 0 0%
Z 0 0%


As you can see, by using 2-symbol groups, there are actually only 8 letters. I simply cannot believe a message this long containing only 8 different letters.

So, it's back to the 4-symbol groups... But I don't have time right now, so someone else will have to do this.

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:06 pm 
Offline
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 3:03 am
Posts: 1621
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Ogredude wrote:
OK, I think Jeremiah was right about it being 2-symbol groups.

I just converted the first 9 4-symbol groups to English letters, so I could see patterns easier... Starting with the first group as A, sequentially lettering each different group...

The first 9 characters, if this were 4-symbol groups, are ABCDBEFGH -- I can't think of any combination of 9 characters in English words that would follow this pattern. So, I'm going to agree with Jeremiah, they're probably 2-symbol groups, 25 letters. Oh well, gives a bigger sample population.


Okay... I realise now I was being stupid here... It's not necessarily a rotation alphabet, could be something like a = y, b = p, c = e, etc. Duh.

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
http://www.fandemonium.org
Friday - Sunday, August 6th - 8th, 2010
Nampa Civic Center - Nampa, Idaho (Only 20 minutes from the airport!)
(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:52 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
I did an analysis of the four-letter groups, by copying that to a txt file and writing a program to do my work for me. Let me find the frequencies...

Here we go!

Code:
.,.:  14
.,',  29
;:':  9
;:.,  44
;'',  24
;';:  27
;,;'  2
;,.:  81
;'':  19
;'.:  2
;,;:  6
;:;:  3
.,;'  48
.,;,  11
;';,  34
;:.'  26
.,;:  10
;:;'  8
;:.:  17
.,.,  12
;,;,  7
;'.'  5
;:;,  11
;';'  5
.,.'  7
;'.,  8
;,',  9
;,':  1
;,.,  2


Hmmm...that's 29 distinct 4-graphs. 3 for punctuation, then? Period, question mark, quotation mark...?


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 Post subject: Eureka!
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 9:42 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Got it!

The strip is this one.

The code is:
Code:
.,.:  c
.,',  a
;:':  p
;:.,  t
;'',  i
;';:  n
;,;'  , (comma)
;,.:  - (space)
;'':  h
;'.:  k
;,;:  ' (apostrophe)
;:;:  v
.,;'  e
.,;,  g
;';,  o
;:.'  r
.,;:  f
;:;'  u
;:.:  s
.,.,  d
;,;,  . (period)
;'.'  j
;:;,  w
;';'  m
.,.'  b
;'.,  l
;,',  y
;,':  x
;,.,  = (dash)

where a dash is a space and a = is a dash. (The program I wrote would skip whitespace so I couldn't use a space in the replacements file. I'll explain later.) Decoded with that, it comes out to:

Code:
captain,-i-think-i've-got-a-contract-for-us-to-consider.the-nejjat-wormgate-has-been-boarded-and-shut-down,-and-the-government-is-offering-a-high-price-to-recover-it.-wow.-that's-perfect.-with-the-teraport-we-are-probably-the-only-ship-in-the-galaxy-capable-of-getting-there-anddoing-the-job.of-course-if-their-wormgate-gets-destroyed-the-entirenejjat-system-would-be-a-wide=open-market-for-us-to-sell-the-teraport-into.ouch.-can-you-say-'conflict-of-interest'can-you-say-'win=win'


Excellent game, by the way, Kaz. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 10:00 pm 
Well done, Kaz, JS, Ogre. It was fun watching you. More stuff like this would be cool.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 12:27 am 
great job JS, and all others that took a crack at it.

now that it's cracked, i'll post the rationale behind it.

First, The initial code is a base 8, two digit charicter set. namely,
Code:
.',- ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA

So each charicter gives you 2 digits of base 8. Now i figured that i'd throw it for a loop, so i encoded each digit into base 3. (their transmission signal used two overlapping frequencies, one of these was always on, and if both were on it was a 0. :)

The second tricky part was the charicterset it was encoded into.
each of the 2 digits comprising the base8 number used a different encoding.
First set: ;.'
Second set: :,'
notice that the ' is common to both, this was just to throw you off. ;) but because i did not use the 22 case, both pieces in a pair comprising an base8 number was never the same.
I really was hoping someone would notice that, but...

Originally i had planned to use no spaces at all, and use the 22 ('') as a begin message and end message delimiter. in the end i left it as is, which made the code much easier than i expected. ;)

The program I used to encode it was really simple.
Code:
string = """TEXT GOES
HERE"""
cryptfrom = [".","'",",","-"," ","Z","Y","X","W","V","U","T","S", \
             "R","Q","P","O","N","M","L","K","J","I","H","G","F", \
             "E","D","C","B","A"]
cryptto = [";,;,",";,;:",";,;'",";,.,",";,.:",";,.'",";,',",";,':", \
           ";:;,",";:;:",";:;'",";:.,",";:.:",";:.'",";:',",";:':", \
           ";';,",";';:",";';'",";'.,",";'.:",";'.'",";'',",";'':", \
           ".,;,",".,;:",".,;'",".,.,",".,.:",".,.'",".,',",".,':"]

for x in string:
    if x in cryptfrom:
        print cryptto[cryptfrom.index(x)],


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 Post subject: The Next Frontier.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 12:58 am 
I'll work at finding a worthy challenge for you guys, as this one got killed off fairly quickly. :) Unless someone else has some ideas for one.
i'll be coming up with a particularly vicious one next time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 1:49 am 
Ogredude wrote:
Here's a frequency count of this decoding.

Code:
A 0 0%     B 197 20%  C 38 4%    D 0 0%     E 114 12%
F 0 0%     G 0 0%     H 0 0%     I 0 0%     J 0 0%
K 0 0%     L 62 6%    M 0 0%     N 0 0%     O 29 3%
P 0 0%     Q 0 0%     R 171 18%  S 187 19%  T 0 0%
U 164 17%  V 0 0%     W 0 0%     X 0 0%     Y 0 0%
Z 0 0%


As you can see, by using 2-symbol groups, there are actually only 8 letters. I simply cannot believe a message this long containing only 8 different letters.

So, it's back to the 4-symbol groups... But I don't have time right now, so someone else will have to do this.


Aha, i just reread and noticed this. This was sort of the first hint of it being base-8. :)


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