Skip to Content
Register · Login
About Theme

A Letterboxing Community

Search Edit Search

Read Thread: Ciphers

Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Nov 13, 2016 6:30am
Board
Just looking for a few thoughts...

Question #1: If you were to choose 3 ciphers to teach someone who says that the puzzles and ciphers are hard for them, which 3 would you choose?

Question #2: Which puzzle/cipher would you consider to be a favorite?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Angel Winks
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 13, 2016 6:53am
Board
Well... I don't know specific puzzles to recommend, but I'd suggest an approach instead. The hard part of solving many puzzles is working out what the puzzle is and how to approach solving it. For someone who finds them hard, they often have no idea where to start. Once you solve a few, you build a bank of possible types of solutions to work from. So Id suggest starting with a few puzzles where the clues tell you how to solve them...maybe a substitution cypher where you don't know the key, or one where the letters are jumbled up. Or maybe have someone who has solved puzzles give you a list of different puzzles they have seen.

As for favorites....the really hard ones which I was able to solve!
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 13, 2016 7:26am
Board
ACK! I used to hate ciphers and puzzles, and even dedicated a stamp to those stinkers who use them, but I have slowly been drawn to the veiled side.
I would start with a simple Caesar shift - most people can handle that once you show them how it's set up.
Second, a keyword cipher - same idea, but a little more complicated.
Third most simple to me is Rail Fence.
Fourth, because these four seem to be the most commonly used, is Vigenere, and I can now recognize that one because it seems to produce an unusually dense number of Xs and Zs and Qs.
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 13, 2016 7:38am
Board
I'm currently doing a series of geocache puzzles to teach people to solve puzzles. I've been thinking of doing the same thing in letterboxing. What is currently holding me up is, what stamp images should I carve? I want each to fit the puzzle you just solved, but what kind of image?

To answer the original question: I'd teach people how to solve substitution ciphers (including Caesar, Afine, atbash, etc.), Viginere, and play fair.

My favorite mystery was an Eevil box in Utah we solved together, but I haven't found myself. The favorite I found was a substitution cipher that used symbols instead of letters.
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937887 by Oberon_Kenobi
Nov 13, 2016 9:02am
Board
Images of the people who the puzzles were named for. How about keys, cribs, decoder rings, etc.
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 13, 2016 11:02am
Board
1) Ceasar shift, Atbash, Cryptogram.

2) got to love Bacon Cipher. You can literally make anything say anything without even looking like there is anything there!
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937898 by dingus dufus
Nov 13, 2016 11:43am
Board
got to love Bacon Cipher. You can literally make anything say anything without even looking like there is anything there!

This phrase brings to mind this article about the Bacon Cipher, How to Make Anything Signify Anything.
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937899 by Oberon_Kenobi
Nov 13, 2016 1:11pm
Board
Yup, a little paraphrasing by me. I love the Knowledge is Powe assembly photo that didn't have enough people to form the "R" at the end.
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 13, 2016 2:17pm
Board
Which puzzle/cipher would you consider to be a favorite?

Igpa Atinla
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937898 by dingus dufus
Nov 13, 2016 2:36pm
Board
2) got to love Bacon Cipher.

Nooooooooo, we hate Bacon Cipher!

Been working on one of those for a couple of months now and all we have come up with is "I shot the Sherriff"? Not exactly the clue we were hoping for.

Has been a very humbling experience for the resident rocket scientist...
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937898 by dingus dufus
Nov 13, 2016 3:27pm
Board
Yes, I like Bacon, too, but I don't consider Bacon to be all that easy. However, you have reminded me of something I do to give the beginners a break so they think they have a chance. Just encode that parts that they really need, and leave the rest in English. Wwicked!
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937912 by Three FLAmigo's
Nov 13, 2016 3:39pm
Board
Nooooooooo, we hate Bacon Cipher!

Rub Some Bacon on It
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937912 by Three FLAmigo's
Nov 13, 2016 3:50pm
Board
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937919 by dingus dufus
Nov 13, 2016 4:18pm
Board
You've got a puzzle you can't solve
Rub some bacon on it
Re: Ciphers
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #937881 by Angel Winks
Nov 14, 2016 5:58am
Board
Polybius cipher (commonly called the Greek Square cipher)
Pigpen cipher
Date Shift cipher

My favorite of these is the Greek Square because it's easy to learn and remember. Most of the time when I use this I get requests for help in solving - but it is quite easy. Pigpen too is quite easy once you get the knack of it while the Date Shift may be just a bit baffling but it is exciting to solve.

One of my favorite sources for ciphers is a book titled "Top Secret" A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing by Paul B. Janeczko. This book is no longer in publication but may be available in your library. It is considered a youth's book but most youths I know today wouldn't make it past the title page. It gives lots and lots of cipher examples and other techniques.