This is another cache in my series of cryptology puzzle caches with the goal of demystifying some of the techniques used for solving and creating puzzle caches.
This puzzle cache is a transposition cipher called Rail Fence. In the rail fence cipher, the plaintext is written downwards and diagonally on successive "rails" of an imaginary fence, then moving up when the bottom rail is reached. When the top rail is reached, the message is written downwards again until the whole plaintext is written out. The message is then read off in rows.
For example, if we have 3 "rails" and a message of "THE CACHE IS UNDER THE BIG ROCK", then the message is set-up as follows:
T . . . A . . . I . . . D . . . H . . . G . . . K
. H . C . C . E . S . N . E . T . E . I . R . C .
. . E . . . H . . . U . . . R . . . B . . . O . .
The three rows are read off one by one and grouped in any order. In this example, I grouped them in three groups -- each grouping depicts a rail -- which makes this puzzle easier to solve.
|TAIDHGK HCCESNETEIRC EHURBO
I could have grouped the letters in groups of four which would make the cipher a little bit more difficult to solve because the number of rails wouldn't be as straightforward:
|TAID HGKH CCES NETE IRCE HURB O
Transposition ciphers like this one are easily decrypted as the number of keys (i.e., the number of rails) is usually between three and seven so that different solutions can be quickly tried and deciphered.
Decipher the following rail fence cipher to obtain the coordinates to where the cache is hidden. Good luck and have fun!
NRFFZNS. FUTOIEOREOIEI. OWVURNX
WERVNUOR SVNEOIEIEORWFU EZFNFTO
You can check your answers for this puzzle on Geochecker.com.
The cache is a 6" x 8" clear plastic lock 'n lock located in the John D. Eaton State Forest in East Kingston, NH. The hike into the cache is along a logging road in the Eaton State Forest which is located next to the Hog Hill Swamp area.