EADERS of this department are helping to make life just one challenge cipher after another.
And what's more, these contest ciphers are all fair; that is, they are in workable systems, relatively easy to explain, and not too laborious in use when one has the keys. But this can be demonstrated better with a sample.
Just such a cipher is No. 12 herewith, for the best solution to which Mr. Pratt is offering a year's free subscription to FLYNN'S WEEKLY.
Mr. Pratt does not claim that his cipher is undecipherable. But he does say that it cannot be broken by any method with which he is acquainted. And if it is solved at all, he believes it will be by some happy accident, or by an exercise of individual ingenuity.
Award will go to the correct translation accompanied by the best method of solution, which can be described as briefly or as fully as the contestant desires. An explanation of the cipher, and a list of any who may solve it, will be published in early issues of the department.
All entries to this contest should be addressed to Solving Cipher Secrets, FLYNN'S WEEKLY, 280 Broadway, New York City; and to be considered must be received on or before May 1. Watch the magazine for all developments. In the meanwhile, fans, here is the cipher:
CIPHER No. 12 (Fletcher Pratt, Brooklyn, N. Y.).
S4UYR Q3ONB 6L6IK PG9WK 47ZQT N6PH8 UOMYJ OJ8FS ARVRI R2PT7 INSXQ 4U2EL 59DWU 7L84Q MQZ7F 4VKHP JOG6T J5062 NE6G0 3WV5T 9NYU4 NF6UI 2T8WH IT8PQ 57YLM LqOIH SS7SV EK6DK GFJDU OVB9U R9AQX R9VPN X4UU6 TJ3W6 POO48 XIML7 42TN8 VI49Z 3SST8 SWCVC RLPUK RQ7TQ 61OYP OU9J8 WINM8 JLW58 WP8VH 49HKU TU9ZK O6SVF E44GV 7JN6F RIQI6 UQ
Not to interfere seriously with your work on the contest cipher we are also offering No. 13, which Mr. Walker says is a simple one. With a little mental calculation, encipherment and decipherment can be performed at sight if you know the system. But how many cipher fans will be able to read it?
CIPHER No. 13 (M. Walker, Akron, Ohio).
BVFNI NCUGL JSFYQ RDXHQ KOPUA JESCW RZSXU VOUSY XYPYD YBUFU CIBOJ OESCZ KSQZn KFXXW STEPH MJXNO AUCLF ZDWGM HTDSK ZSWMY PURSX REXIX BPFZC RHNIX ASEYA VIWUZ OWWXA WCHAZ BQDYE WGIHW JKBVH ZOTRS PTAZ
Now for the answers to last week's ciphers. No. 10 (J. R. Midford) conveyed the message: To serve wise men, and not to serve fools; to give honor to whom honor is due; this is the greatest blessing."
Encipherment consisted of transcribing the message in lines of seven three-letter groups each; transposing the groups by simple verticles; and regrouping by fives. TOSOS ERTOI STERV..., as follows:
TOS ERV EWI SEM ENA NDN OTT OSE RYE FOO EST OGI VEH ONO RTO WHO MHO NOR ISO UET HIS IST HEG REA TES TBL ESS ING
This type of transposition cipher, of course, reacts positively to the forty per cent vowel test. And simple letter group transpositions, of which this was intentionally an example, can usually be recognized and solved by inspection through their failure to break up normal sequences. Long strings of vowels and consonants are not so common in such ciphers. Nevertheless, "SDTBLNDNV" managed to creep even into this short cryptogram.
Cipher No. 11 (Claude S. Green) used a simple transposition in combination with a mediodized multisubstitutional alphabet based on the following "diamond" key, where each letter is represented by a symbol of two figures, the larger indicating the row occupied by its letter, and the smaller the place of the letter in that row:
A 1 B C 2 D E F 3 G H I J 4 K L M N Q 5 P Q R S 6 T U W 7 X Y 8 Z 9
Thus S=46 or 64 (row six, letter four): D=13 or 31 (row three, letter one); and so on. The table is so arranged that this reversement causes no confusion. U and V use the same substitutes. Deciphered in this way each "car number" represents three letters, the whole cryptogram becoming: SDC-HCH-IAN-PSE-UEX-SST-OOW-NFE-EOD-HLN-UDE-NSS-DCD-ROA-ETY.
These letters are "deshuffled," or restored to their original order, by first reading the initial letters of each group, then the middle letters, and finally the last letters. The message: "Ship us one hundred cases of Old Scotch next Wednesday." (Note: We had a notion to change Claude's "hundred" to "million," for the boys over there in Albany must be werry, werry thirsty.)
At diverse times and on sundry occasions the following fans have submitted their names and addresses for listing, as desirous of corresponding with others interested in cryptography.
Additional names will be published in the order submitted, and as space permits. Each correspondent will be assigned his individual number, which may be used, if desired, as a signature.
Readers who are inquiring about cipher literature are referred to the recently published book, "Can You Solve It?" by Arthur Hirschberg, Crowell, 1926; a wonderful collection of more than a thousand puzzles of almost every description, including a number of cryptograms and anagrams, with solutions, of especial interest and value to cipher fans.
Simon and Schuster are also expecting to issue a book of cryptograms with instructions on solving them, which will be announced here as soon as ready.
Correspondent No. 3 also reports the excellent article in the American Magazine for January, 1925. Copies of this issue should still be obtainable from the publishers in New York.
Next week's department will present the usual reader ciphers, and some general talk about the basic principles of cipher classification.
Also the answer to Mr. Walker's No. 13.
Don't fail to see it!