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Headlines: The Hat Mystery Cache

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Hidden : 09/26/2008
Difficulty:
5 out of 5
Terrain:
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:


The Headlines puzzle was created by an NSA employee for recreational purposes for cryptographers who just want to kick back and solve something "easy" while honing their skills during lunch breaks and off hours. Headlines puzzles require solving five related cryptograms, each a simple substitution cipher with spaces and punctuation shown. Each of the five is encrypted using the same mixed alphabet shifted for each headline. See the full description on the American Cryptogram Association website. Headlines are enciphered using a setting, a key, and a hat, which combine to form the mixed K3 alphabet and its shifts. Be sure you understand this description before you attempt to solve this puzzle.

There are three caches in this series using the same five headlines. For the third puzzle you must find the hat. To do this, solve the five cryptograms below and recover the original key alphabet block. Then find the hat, a word that is in theme with the setting and the key, and which is used to order the columns from the key block into the original mixed alphabet. This is the hardest of the three because you must solve the first two before you can solve this one.

Once you have found the hat, assign numbers to all the letters of the hat according to their places in the alphabet, i.e. A=1, B=2..., Z=26. Multiply all the numbers together. Then find the square root of that number and round to the nearest integer, to get a five-digit number. Subtract from that 8627 to get another 5-digit number, and call that nnnnn. The North coordinate is N37 nn.nnn. Next add all the numbers of the hat word, multiply that value by 42 and subtract 22 to get a four-digit number, and call it wwww. The west coordinate is W122 0w.www.

Here are the five headlines:

1. XLI HS QGGL HBDZQ SE DOCIGBI NK *ANZJ.
2. *M.Z. VJDOKE NJARM UX FAD OXDUKMU XD UY
3. *BCNW'Y INUGBM YANUB OZFEO ... OZFEO ...
4. *ESLGEJ YJMLWFJ OH *HGDZEVM EYWOSLHW
5. YNDTHZDJRHCF NHSCFT TBCND TRCPD, KNHDAFM, CR AQNEU

Bring a pen.

The other two caches are: Headlines: The Setting and Headlines: The Key

For help on how to recover the hat, see this link: How to Solve a Headlines Puzzle.

You can check your answers for this puzzle on Geochecker.com.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

[Bring someone tall] zntargvp

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)