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Great Detectives: Philo Vance

A cache by The WBs Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 9/13/2012
Difficulty:
3.5 out of 5
Terrain:
2 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Cache is not at the posted coordinates; solve the puzzle below to find the cache. It’s a small-to-medium lock and lock; the vertically challenged may need to step up just a bit.


S. S. Van Dine (pen name of Willard Huntington Wright) wrote 12 books featuring detective Philo Vance. These books were extremely popular in the 1920s and 30s, and the character was adapted into films and radio. Having read all 12, I can say the first few aren’t bad, but some of the last ones are pretty awful. The character of Vance is so annoying that the satirical poet Ogden Nash wrote:

Philo Vance

Needs a kick in the pance.


Anyway, each book is titled “The (blank) Murder Case” with a six-letter word filling in the blank. (1938’s “The Gracie Murder Case” was retitled “The Gracie Allen Murder Case” to capitalize on the fame of the comedic actress for whom it was written.)

In honor of the author’s obsession with six-letter words, we'll use a 6x6 playfair cipher. The basic method for encryption/decryption of a playfair cipher may be found by using the “Related Web Page” link above.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, decrypt the ciphertext below, keeping in mind the following tips and modifications:
- Since your grid will contain 36 cells, there is no need to omit “Q” or to combine “I” and “J”.
- As with all code solving, take care to distinguish between 0/O, 1/I, 2/Z, 5/S, 6/G and 8/B.
- Create your playfair grid with a clockwise spiral orientation beginning in the uppermost left square.
- Using proper keyword procedure, enter all letters first, followed by digits 0-9.
- One digraph with a doubled letter was split with an extra letter.
- KEYWORD:
PHILOVANCE

Oh, did I forget to mention there’s one final step? I won’t reveal exactly what it is, but the number 6 is involved.

PLAYFAIR CIPHERTEXT:
UW Y0 7V WA C0 WU FP VO QD JS
IA HX 0O CY SD FP VO C0 XH SJ
QB Z0 XH SJ C0 ZX BD DS WI VD
BP XI X4 ZX OZ JK JS C0 XH SJ


Click to verify coordinates

Since this one takes a bit of work, there are 2 prizes; FTF should choose and leave the other for 2TF. One is a CD-R with one Philo Vance movie and the complete set of 12 Vance crime novels in three e-book formats. The other is a $5 Starbucks card.

For more information and resources for puzzle caches by The WBs, click here.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Jbexvat pybpxjvfr sebz hccre yrsg, gur pbeare pryyf bs lbhe tevq fubhyq pbagnva C I O X, naq gur vaarezbfg fdhner fvk frira rvtug avar.

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)



 

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