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Cipher Sites

A cache by The Rat Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 9/18/2002
Difficulty:
3 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size: virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

This is a multi-site virtual puzzle cache. You must solve four ciphers given below, each of a different type. All can be solved by a novice solver with the help of the clues.

The first cipher is a cryptogram, also known as the "aristocrat of puzzles." This is the same type of cipher used for the encrypted clues on the Geocaching.com website, where each letter stands for another letter throughout, with word divisions and punctuation kept. However, instead of the simple A-M, N-Z reciprocal key used on the site, I have used what is known as a K2 keyword-mixed alphabet. That means if you write the alphabet in order (A-Z), and write the cipher equivalents underneath each plaintext letter as you find them, the lower alphabet spells a keyword. With a little work you can solve the cryptogram without the key by using the pattern of the words, guessing common words (especially short ones), and by writing the plaintext letters over the ciphertext letters to reconstruct the key. To get you started, I will tell you that Cipher 1 contains the phrase "THE BUILDING." It fits in only one place. Finish the solution. Now go to Waypoint 1 and collect the first of six key words for the final cipher. Be sure to bring pencil and paper.

Waypoint 1: N 37° 20.247 W 122° 02.958
There is a large pipe and valve assembly sticking up near the street. On the central gray section there is a brass plate that says FEBCO, Fresno, California. Write down the model number (3 digits) followed by the 10-digit serial number. Over these 13 digits write the letters A through M. Use this as your numerical key for now. Now walk to N 37° 20.ME3 W 122° 02.K3H. You should be under or near a big tree. Follow the directions in Cipher 1.
Cipher 1.
PXZU KRU MXOMU XK QXVFDTBK DBU. KRU YLTOCTBE DB VDLH OUPK TJ KRU JZRDDO KRUXKUH. XJ VDL XFFHDXZR TK, KRUHU XHU KQD FOXGLUJ XK KRU JKUFJ. DB KRU HTERK FOXGLU TJ X OTJK DP YDXHC AUAYUHJ. KRU OXJK AUAYUH RXJ X JRDHK OXJK BXAU KRXK TJ X EUDEHXFRTZXO PUXKLHU. KRXK BXAU TJ NUVQDHC DBU. QHTKU TK CDQB.
[Edit 9/27/03 - due to construction, this area is not available. The keyword you need from this area is POND.]
Now walk to N 37° 20.MJH W 122° 02.KDK Face north. There is a green shelter over some vending machines. Painted on the shelter are two words repeated. The second word is a kind of animal. That word is keyword 2. Write it down. Next go to Waypoint 2.

Waypoint 2: N 37° 21.153 W 122° 04.777
There is a tree with an unusual trunk near the playground. Now follow the instructions in Cipher 2. Cipher 2 is a Complete Columnar cipher. This a type of transposition cipher, which means the letters are rearranged, but there is no substitution of one letter for another. In a Complete Columnar, the letters of the original message are written by rows into a rectangle. The text must completely fill the rectangle. Then the cipher is copied out by columns. The order of the columns is determined by a keyword. It's simpler than it sounds. See the example below and it becomes clear. Suppose the message is "MY QUICK BROWN FOX" and the key is "CARDS" Write the message into a 5x3 rectangle:

M - Y - Q - U - I
C - K - B - R - O
W - N - F - O - X

2 - 1 - 4 - 3 - 5 (Alphabetical order of keyword letters)
C - A - R - D - S (Keyword)
Copy the letters out by column in the order shown, to yield this ciphertext: YKNMCWUROQBFIOX. To decrypt it, reverse the process, writing the first three letters into the column labeled 1, and so on. If you don't know the key, you have to guess at the dimensions of the rectangle, and write the ciphertext in by columns, then start rearranging the columns until words or phrases show up in each row. In Cipher 2 I've made it easy for you. The rectangle is 8 X 10. The text ends: "WRITEITINFULL." Try to work it out from there. The spaces in Cipher 2 are just for convenience. Ignore them when you copy the text into the rectangle.
Cipher 2:
EIFTN ONRRF UFHEN TSTTL ASOPU MEERI BNTHE NIDIU TOTRL EIWEI SREBU HKHEL HPOKI RGOWN TTNAS BSYET

Next, near the rest rooms is a brown sign with 15 lines of text. The second word on line 5 is keyword four. Write it down.

Now solve Cipher 3 to get the coordinates to Waypoint 3. This is a Cryptarithm. In a Cryptarithm, each letter stands for a separate numeral. You are given a problem or set of equations that has only one solution. If you're good at math, you can solve it without any further clues. If you want a hint, use the general area of the sites and the Waypoint 3 letters below to guess what the Y, U, L, P, G, and A stand for, and then work by math. [Spoiler warning] If you think you can't do this because you're not good at math, you're wrong. I've made it easy for you again. In this case, the ten letters, when arranged in order from 0 to 9, spell out a single word, and that word appears somewhere above. When you have the word, write the numbers 0 through 9 and under those, the ten letters. That's your numerical key.

Waypoint 3: North YU° AP.UGA West LAA° PG.APN
Cipher 3: OLUAY + GLAAR = LPADGN OLUAY - GLAAR = APGDN You're now in a soccer field. Take the paved path to the east. There is a lamp pole at the street. Near the base is an oval plate with two letters on it. Those two letters form keyword five. Write them down. Go to the middle of the field, then go to the north end and keep going until you reach the chain link fence. Go to the most northwest point of the field. You'll see two rectangular cement water meter or valve covers. On each at the bottom is a seven-letter word. That word is keyword six. You now have all the keywords. Solve the final cipher below and e-mail me the solution and the list of six keywords. That constitutes finding the cache. Please email me the answer using the link in my profile to claim credit for this cache. Please do not post locations or further clues.

The final cipher is a "Patristocrat," which is identical to a cryptogram except it has all the spaces and punctuation removed. To decrypt this one, write out all the six keywords in order one after the other, without spaces between. Then write out all the letters of the alphabet that aren't used in the keywords. Delete all letters that repeat earlier letters, so that you end up with a 26-letter string. This is your key alphabet. For example, if the six keywords were "OH SAY CAN YOU SEE BY" you would first write OHSAYCANYOUSEEBYDFGIJKLMPQRTVWXZ, then, eliminating repeats, OHSAYCNUEBDFGIJKLMPQRTVWXZ. Do this with the six keywords, then put the first thirteen letters over the last thirteen letters just like on the Geocaching.com website and decrypt the final cipher in the normal manner, with the letter above standing for the one below, and vice versa.

Final Cipher: ARSBCIJFQQQVRFUOZHFRLOJKVRFROL.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

[Waypoint 1 is on school grounds. The area you need is all accessible to the general public, but it is better to go during non-school hours. The vending machines themselves are not always in view, since they sometimes close up the shelter. If the Complete Columnar is still too hard for you, here's a spoiler: the keyword to this rectangle is the same as Keyword two.]

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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