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A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

A cache by SimonG Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/16/2002
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

One for all you amateur cryptographers!

The 'official' latitude and longitude of this cache are correct up to a (decimal) point - but working out the decimal places requires some work!

The actual location is:

N 51° 47.ECA E 000° 20.FDB

The digits that A, B, C, D, E and F represent are written below as words.

A gebenok B statuff
C apepula D nurumna
E corobum F plilumm
Oh, did I mention - they're in cypher.

Right. Er... just remind me what a cypher is.

A cypher is just a way of encrypting a message. In this case, each letter is substituted for another, just like the hints on However... each digit is encrypted using a different key. And so that you can't work any of them out from the letter patterns, some or all of them have extra characters added to the start and/or end.

That's just mean.

Yes, it is.

So how the heck am I supposed to decypher them?!?

Good question. I'm glad you asked. Clearly, you need more text encrypted in each system to stand a chance of working out the keys. So here it is:

B hejn oia i filmn mip rhffhvbem, dck B acjqna bekh ie iffnpvip iea fhgk obx. - Nxh Zobfbzg

Jcmatwf js g wjl, g pjjz ta dgo'a pfam shtfow. Toatwf js g wjl, tm'a mjj wghz mj hfgw. - Lhjcrxj Dghu

Fnwu n ies galu rnseupyu cesf pucieut. Aj yahltu tagu aj sfug nys bhgi - sfuq'lu ajsup tshbupst, jal funwup't tnzu. - Sullq Rlnsyfuss

Hp, ura'y yphy aukn, ypn duwn bw ypn khvfluctn glnrucnay ur qurruat ypn kbm bw ypn Bmwblc klnd. - Phllz Khlgnaynl

G'f tocdobjqowa qbagmx qu igxhbo uhq nza ejfgejro dgwuqc nubo zowfoqc. - Tjlo Otgcum

Dzm Agslpewjp Mum L gmjsf j zdlpm dz egm sddi."Wqwwt, lp egje pzdo?""Zd, le'p cqpe sjlz fmjs."

I'm confused.

I thought you might be. Perhaps we need an example.

An Example

Suppose digit A looked like this (it doesn't):


And suppose the cypher for A looked like this (it doesn't):

L nxbo nxr x eomtoqgwa jhdromtvw obodldi, cvg gnlf jxfd'g lg.

Using your mammoth intellect, you would decrypt this to Groucho Marx's quip:

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.

Giving you the key:

Y|V|B|N|P|S|T|O|G|W| |I|R|H|E| |C|D| |F| |U|L|A| |
(obviously, letters that don't appear in the quotation are missing.)

You could now apply this key to floling, giving you sieight. Trimming off the padding, you would now know that digit A was eight (it isn't).

I think I understand now. Once I've worked out the lat and long, what do I do?

Find the cache!

Is there no way I can make sure I got the numbers right first?

Yes, there is! If you want to verify the position, email me with what you think it is and I'll tell you if you're right.

If I'm not, will you tell me which digits I got wrong?


Right, now that's all sorted out, why don't you tell us a bit about the location?

The cache is in the village of Good Easter in the Roding Valley. It's a very nice area for a walk. The cache itself is hidden to the side of a path, and easily accessible.

Please be careful replacing the cache. It only needs to be moved slightly and it would be very visible to passers-by.

Hang on - why is this cache called A funny thing happened on the way to the forum?

Ah, well, you see, when I placed the cache way back in 2002, all the cyphers weren't conveniently listed on this page like they are now. They appeared in the signature line in my forum posts, a new one every week leading up to Christmas. Since then, all the old forum posts have been archived and it's nigh on impossible to track them down, so I thought I'd better put them here instead.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Uvqqra whfg bss gur cngu, va gur pnivgl haqre gur fghzc bs n snyyra gerr.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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