PRIZE for every solver!" So read last week's announcement; and here is the promised contest.
Through the courtesy of The National Puzzlers' League we are enabled to offer our readers a contest at crypt solving, any one being eligible to compete except members of the aforementioned organization.
Just what is meant by "crypt" is explained elsewhere in this department. Three select specimens of this type of cipher, however, are offered in this contest. An entry to the contest shall consist of the solutions to any one or two of the crypts. Solutions to all three are not required, nor would they afford the contestant any advantage.
To each of the three correct entries accompanied by the best letter expressing the solver's opinion of this particular type of cipher will be awarded a copy of "Real Puzzles," the league handbook; the three books being presented respectively by The National Puzzlers' League, The Norman, Remington Company, publishers, and FLYNN'S WEEKLY.
Every other correct entry will be awarded a full year's subscription to The Enigma, a magazine for puzzlers, published by the league.
AW entries must be mailed not later than three weeks from the date of this issue to Mr. John Q. Boyer, 2034 North Fulton Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland, who, as editor in chief of Real Puzzles, will act as judge. The solutions to the crypts and the full list of winners will be published in early issues of this magazine.
Here are the three crypts. And remember—
"A prize for every solver!"
CRYPT No. 1 (Rev. A. L. Smith, Mildred, Pennsylvania).
Imsjtc, kdjnfea ioghnflc, ehbdjmpu denpj, skmp ioscdlq ibdrackbdhafr lcghae qaboggflk hcbbafr hacqage.
CRYPT No. 2 (Charles N. Crowder, Baltimore, Maryland).
Rpqckb jgvqvbxkjq jgxqxdpv ngxwfwp hkzqzmx, kzdjq wkscqcmdf, dvqxkfm gjmz bdwfxgz vdriukzs djxkbgq wkltmtx.
CRYPT No. 3 (H. B McPherrin, Denver, Colorado).
Redmagic Handup htsm, dblp Igsh, Isbkiyn upety; isgkr fehc, ycosn mbdf "Gdusn Ypostum" porabf ptsfgi; cako fnrc. Ibhc.
To assist those who may not know this type of cipher-puzzle it may be said that the "crypt" —short for cryptogram—uses, a simple literal substitutional alphabet: that is, an alphabet where a given message letter is represented at every occurrence by one certain cipher letter; any given cipher letter, conversely, fixedly signifying but one certain message letter.
The message or solution of a crypt must be in grammatical English, as a general rule without abbreviations, and should contain about ninety letters. To render analysis more difficult, frequently used letters, letter combinations, and words, are avoided as much as possible in preparing the message. The crypt must observe the normal word divisions, punctuation, and capitalization of the original message.
Here is an interesting crypt by "Osaple," with its solution, taken from The Enigma for September, 1925:
Solution: Shipwreck victims Crypt: Hydraulic bdizdph clutching hatchway swam landward; ifgziydke ysziyasx hasp fskmasum; built flimsy, impromptu shanty tgdfz ofdphx, dprunprzg hjskzx midst thick upgrowth, pdmhz zydic greunazy.
The letters of the crypt alphabet may take on any desired arrangement, excepting that it does not seem usual to use any letter for its own symbol. The following alphabet was employed here. The substitutes for J-Q-X-Z are not given, these letters not having been used in the message,
A B C D E F G H I J K L M S T I M L O E Y D - C F P N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z K N R - U H Z G B A - X -
This crypt may be taken as a very mild example as regards the employment of unusual words. Some crypters do not hesitate to use whole strings of such words as: sjambok, umquhile, pterodactyl, syzygy; in short, any words that can be found in any of the standard reference works.
Some of the simpler crypts are thus, to all purposes, only simple substitution ciphers. From one viewpoint, however, the most virulent of the species are practically double ciphers, since their solutions are often expressed in such extraordinary English as almost to be cryptograms in themselves.
To assist our readers along the rugged path toward the solutions of the prize crypts we are appending, in cipher No, 5, a somewhat ordinarily worded example for practice.
Remember, solutions to the prize crypts Nos. 1,2, 3 must be sent to Mr , Boyer,
But the answer to No, 5 should be mailed to this department. Also, whether you solve it or not, we would appreciate your opinion of this type of cipher. And if you think others would enjoy solving this sort you might send along a sample for publication in these pages.
CIPHER No. 5.
Jav qywxuafh eoyqh vhyw oarlj rpw fyuxu ywlrco waech kgpoul upeglhq dwhj lgwc swcfiopve iwpqeh qwyku uoakoj vpeg.
The answer to last week's No. 3 is: "Nothing so difficult but may be won by industry. "This cipher was based on the touch system of typewriting, the substitute for a given letter being the character in the same key bank printed by the same finger and position of the opposite hand. The alphabet is thus one of coupled pairs, Q=P, P=Q, W=O, O=W , and so on, as shown below, where the typewriter arrangement is clearly evident:
Q W E R T A S D F G Z X C V B P O I U Y : L K J H ¾ . ? M N
Cipher No. 4 was based on the familiar three-bank keyboard, the substitute for a given letter being the character printed by the same key with the figure shift depressed. The solution:
"Typewriters furnish us several easy methods of sending cipher messages, as numerous ingenious schemes of substitution alphabets are readily devised. For instance, these queer characters are quickly written using the well known touch system and shift key."
The time limit for prize cipher No. 1 in FLYNN'S WEEKLY for March 5 expires with the date of this issue. The answer will be published in two weeks.
At this point we wish to correct the impression possibly erroneously conveyed in previous prize announcements that any factor other than merit would influence the judges' decisions.