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Thread: Torment: the blocks (cipher)

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    glassjaw's Avatar
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    Default Torment: the blocks (cipher)

    Hello again all,

    This thread is to discuss grngecko's block puzzle as a codebreaking exercise. In the other thread everyone seems to be talking to themselves about their own theories about the code, about it being about Jesus, is it a red herring, what about Myrrh, ad nauseum. So please only post here if you are going to work towards cracking on the ciphertext.

    I believe the blocks puzzle is a code. There are many times where you can see pairs of letters repeating themselves, sometimes as many as three times. There are lots of parts of the text that look suspicious, as if they are the same word, just with different letters subsituting them.

    I think that the blocks puzzle is a subsitution cipher, with a multi-alphabet. There are approx. 120 characters in the place of 26. The color isn't important because there isn't any variation with it, but the rotation is. Common letters like E could have many different characters representing them, but something like Z or X might be unique. The bunny heads also in my view represent letters.

    So far there are three texts using the blocks cipher; the main text, the my precious text, and the Fuch clue. Gecko has also sent me some text. (See the bottom)

    To me, I think the way to solve this puzzle is to
    1. Locate characters which look like they could be T
    2. Investigate the possibility of H or R
    3. Experiment with vowels

    There are also patterns with the feel of sentences, like a cipher letter that appears on different lines, but in the same place on that line.
    Attached Images

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    I am currently using the following as ciphertext.

    Legend
    > rotated right
    < rotated left
    = rotated 180 degrees
    * not rotated

    1 >W <A =C =E >P *# >H *W =B =Z *B =Y *E =F =P >C =U >L =J
    2 >E >Z =F *I =M <O >Q >T =A <K *A =T >F >B =X *M =L <D >Q <J
    3 =R <P >N >C *L <Y >M <B >R ># <F >G *G =D =N =S *R *W
    4 <M *J <T *P *S *V =T *Y *I =X *H <Z *C >Q =K =L <Q =G <U =J >F
    5 <L *# <M *R >D >M =S =C *G >N *B >Y =Z <R >R =M =# =F =U <E >W -V *I
    6 <O *J <T =P =L <J *M =S <Y >E >B <I =N >K =A <K >C >F
    7 <C =Y <F =F <A *# *W <P =B >L =M >K =T <H =L =P >V >E *I *T
    8 >F *A >R <J *H >A *Y <Y <D <O =N =S =A *S <P *M *R <F
    9 <S >R *S *J *Q *V =W <I =N =G >Q *B *R <Y =G >D =E >Y *P *#
    10 <L <R <M *B *H *H >A *Y =T >M =D <D =S <B *E <P >C >G >K
    11 =W =U =B >M <Z <J <U =A ># *W =# <T <Q <N =N =X *G *I
    12 <E =Y <S *M *K >B >F <F =C <O <K *A =C <R >C =G =H <H <P =W >Y
    13 <L >V =D >E <N <D =S *M =L >L =J *B >B =E *G =P *F >P *C
    14 *A *W =C <A <T *L *# <K *A <A <U >P =P *D <O =Z >F <T =J >V <F
    15 *# <A <C =Y <U <W =U =F =M >P >L >D <E =K =P >V =J *S *B *I <H
    16 <M *J *C =D >W =K <Q *F =A >C *V <N *N *R *L =# *K <B =G >G =Z
    17 *W >W <J *P <M *M <D =X *A =A =W =T =L <Q <Z <E
    18 >F <L >Q >B *E *T <O <T <N >L <P <Y <V ># <I =K
    19 >R <S <W =B *Q =C =# =P *C =S *L *T *I =R >A =T >A <O <K >K
    20 =T ># >V =J =S >R <U *C <H <I *F >L *M <D =U *# <F <C =A *E =X =Y =#
    21 <B >W <E <Z *F >G =L =D >E =C >B <V *K =F <A =K *W >A =B *T
    22 *R *A <Y >F <L *G <O <V *I >Q =N >P =G >R >M *J <K
    23 <P *S *# <N *T *C =M =P <J =H <Q *B *Q *Y <C >Q *S *L =Z *V
    24 =W >C =E <R *P <U *V >Y =J <I <J <R >P >V =C >D =# *K
    25 ># <S =Y *F <S *P <V >K =F <B =E >A =Q =Q *K *L >L =F <F

    fuch clue

    1 <J *# >K <N =N =S
    2 <K *W <W >P =P =E
    3 <C >K ># *P =# <E
    4 <E *# <I *Y <C =J

    oranges and lemons

    1 =B <A =F >W *# *E >P <U *W =C <L <O >E <P <Z *B
    2 >V <D =P =S =J =C <L <H >B =K XX XX =S *I <L <L =Z
    3 >S >M =F *F =F <# <I <E =C =E *Q =G =L =C <Q =R <K
    4 <F =N <X >A *J >K =M *S =A *M >L =R =T >F <Y =E =V
    5 <C >R =R <T *L <L ># <N =X =F <H >C =C <B <J *Y *P
    6 <I =W =# >M *A >G =D <P =B *K <D >Q <G >J *G
    7 =Z *E <M >U =H *C >J >D <V =B =F <S <S *T >D <P *S *#
    8 =F <U >V *J <R =R >Y =C =F *R <N <Z <L >T
    9 =R *L *V =F *Y =A *Q <S *F *E <Q <M *T <F =Y >E *I
    10 >A =U >K =T *R =W <Y *C =M *A =E =J >A >L =P >P =L
    11 =G >R <E =# >T *W >F <A <T *W =D >K *K =Q *L =K <Z
    12 =Q =A >W >Q >Q =X <Q =R >C <J =U <V *I ># <G
    13 =J <N <P <D >K =V *B *M >U =P =E >P <P >W <A <B <H
    14 *B <I =K <F >T =Z >B *D <T *Q <O >G =M =L <O *D
    15 =Y *R *P *P >B >A >M *F =R *M =A <X =# *A >#
    16 >V =U ># =F <U <N =L =G >T *A =T *U <E =Z <Y =U =C

    sent via PM

    1 unknown
    2 =F *L <V *W =C =C *G <N <S *A
    3 =D *B >R >M ># *G *Q <L
    4 *Y <P <H <J =F <B =T *S *C >D <E
    5 <O =U <C =L >A =G =W =P =L ># >W
    6 >M >E *A *M *J <W >K <I >A
    7 <L <O <V =# *T *W *Y >P *R =H =J
    8 <# >A =Z <K >C *B *I >F <Z


    (This all gets a little hard to view, so paste it into word and use highlights over your letters.)

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    glassjaw's Avatar
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    Pairs that repeat
    ___ =N =S x 3
    ___ >K *A x 3
    ___ =F <A x 2
    ___ *J <T x 2
    ___ <I =N x 2
    ___ >L =J x 2
    ___ *H >A x 2
    ___ <C =Y x 2
    ___ =P >V x 2
    ___ <J =H x 2
    ___ =# *K x 2
    ___ <M =J x 2
    ___ =A <K x 2
    ___ *W =C x 2

    Likely letters
    ___ <W - almost definitely O
    ___ <E - almost definitely T
    ___ =J - very likely E or S
    ___ <L - very likely T
    ___ *# - H or R
    ___ =H - very likely E
    ___ <A - likely R
    <O and =Z = same letter?
    <D and =N = same letter?

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    Srial is offline Junior Twelever Copper Srial is on a distinguished road
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    Default Trigram and assumptions

    *H >A *Y appears twice as a trigram in the main puzzle also. I took a stab a while at that being something today as 'the', 'and' and a few other things but that never really helped me. Although really, with no spaces digram and trigrams are only so useful as we might be looking at seperate words.

    Also, you're assuming FUCH is turned 90 degrees to make it in the same style as the other puzzles. Since FUCH was released first (I believe), and it's a regular shape already, I wouldn't assume it needs to be turned 90 degrees to match the other ciphers. Turning it is only a semi-good idea when you see the uneven top and can't easily read left to right.

    I really don't think you can count on FUCH as part of any analysis of the broader cipher unless we know which way to read it.

    I'm also fascinated by the picture attached. If I might ask, is that the actual attatchment sent to you in a pm? I'm interested in why it's not all visible and cut off at the edges. Almost like the whole puzzle isn't important, just that piece. Unless that's just fodder to increase our ciphertext size for better analysis.

    Second question, was it turned at 90 degrees when it arrived, or was it in vertical stacks like the others?

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    *H >A *Y appears twice as a trigram in the main puzzle also. I took a stab a while at that being something today as 'the', 'and' and a few other things but that never really helped me. Although really, with no spaces digram and trigrams are only so useful as we might be looking at seperate words.
    *H >A *Y is a strange one. They're obviously the same (part of a) word, but I was always under the impression that line 6 was something like NECESSARY or EFFICIENT; it only appears twice and there aren't many relationships, so I kind of give that one a miss. But I do notice some very distant matches sometimes.

    Also, you're assuming FUCH is turned 90 degrees to make it in the same style as the other puzzles. Since FUCH was released first (I believe), and it's a regular shape already, I wouldn't assume it needs to be turned 90 degrees to match the other ciphers.
    I don't believe FUCH was released differently - the other three texts were all skyscraper-style blocks. But I see where you're coming from. There are two extremely strong patterns, such as the end of line 3 being the same as the beginning of line 4, and the second character in line 1 being the same as the second character in line 4. They appear commonly within the main ciphertext and could be TR, TH, SH, or SO. Perhaps you're right, but with these two patterns I'd rather not second guess myself.

    I'm also fascinated by the picture attached. If I might ask, is that the actual attatchment sent to you in a pm? I'm interested in why it's not all visible and cut off at the edges. Almost like the whole puzzle isn't important, just that piece. Unless that's just fodder to increase our ciphertext size for better analysis.

    Second question, was it turned at 90 degrees when it arrived, or was it in vertical stacks like the others?
    The original picture, yes, had the blocks placed in the usual style. This is the image cropped to show all the available information. I got pm'ed it via a link and the link is now gone.

    I didn't save the original and the rest of the image is in data heaven. It was just a silly picture of a guy shrugging at a computer, nothing special at all, with the suddenly interesting new ciphertext on the back of a mac laptop. The code is what matters, the =C bit is really special because it gives even stronger evidence that =C is either E or S.

    If anybody gets anymore ciphertext... please post it! The more ciphertext we have the more patterns we will find.

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    The story so far with this.

    People have said that there is no sense with the flow of the cipher and that the blocks are just random letters. That isn't true, because some letters appear more than others. Some appear a lot, others appear only once or twice.

    __ =F appears way more than any other cipher letter. Throughout all the texts we have, it comes up 19 times. __=F must be the letter E.

    <O is next on the hitlist. <O doesn't come up as an end letter, but it seems to be a starting letter or at least once as a second letter. Because of the appearence at the end of the sentences, I think it's an O.

    __ =C is an odd one, appearing lots of times but with little to put my finger on it; its count is 17 and also comes up as a double. Because of its flexibility in the wording and its high count I'll go with a T.

    <L turns up 13 times. It's a popular first letter, which made me think it was a T, but line 2 on Oranges and Lemons makes that almost impossible. That also rules out A, E and O. So it's an S in my book.

    *A happens to be a usual second letter that also makes an appearence at the end of sentences. It can't be an I and is probably not an A. I'm unsure about this, but I estimate it's an L or R.

    <E appears only 11 times but my instinct tells me it is a T.

    The other letters are too weird or don't have a strong enough identity to be interesting (at least for now). But it makes for some interesting results: with the above applied, you get some doubles, and a lot of clues to vowels that could be on the end of sentences. With __=Z into an O, it creates another double!

    Want to hear something else cool? Popular letter shapes tend to be popular within their own letter, regardless of rotation. L, A, P and the bunnies are suckers for this.

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    sslug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glassjaw View Post
    So far there are three texts using the blocks cipher; the main text, the my precious text, and the Fuch clue. Gecko has also sent me some text. (See the bottom)
    There were actually 4 original texts, not 3 as you stated. The one you left out was found only as a thumbnail on the geocaching site. It resembles the FUCH clue in that it is a very small set.
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    “Tmcky ymu kra Ymu, tekt fs truar tekl trua. Teara fs lm mla kifva wem fs Ymuar tekl Ymu.” ~ Dr. Seuss

    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. ~ Douglas Adams

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate. ~ Henry J. Tillman

    Some people are lost in the shuffle. I'm shuffling along with the lost.

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    Srial is offline Junior Twelever Copper Srial is on a distinguished road
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    Well damn, I never saw that one before either.

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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    Srial is offline Junior Twelever Copper Srial is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by glassjaw View Post
    I didn't save the original and the rest of the image is in data heaven. It was just a silly picture of a guy shrugging at a computer, nothing special at all, with the suddenly interesting new ciphertext on the back of a mac laptop. The code is what matters, the =C bit is really special because it gives even stronger evidence that =C is either E or S.
    I'm sorry. I'm probably dwelling on trivial things and/or missing something obvious. But I keep coming back to this picture. If the blocks are on the back of the mac laptop, why can we see the logo? Are the blocks transparent? (Why would they be transparent?)

    If the blocks are transparent then why is the logo it's mirror image? The bite in the Apple log belongs on the other side, doesn't it?

    It's almost like the logo is projected, reversed, onto the blocks. I keep telling myself that's just a watermark or something for the photo. But, why backwards?

    I don't mean to sidetrack the very real and good work you're doing with frequency analysis, but this is really bugging me.

    I don't own an apple laptop so maybe this is an obvious thing someone can enlighten me on.

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    Thanks sslug! Anybody notice the __=F again? Not only that but in the same place on lines 1 and 2, and giving it a count of 21. That's our E!

    __ =Z comes into focus too making it much more important than I thought it was before, it must be between the major letters of E and T, and the mid ranges like D and R. And another __=C, beautiful catch!

    I'm sorry. I'm probably dwelling on trivial things and/or missing something obvious. But I keep coming back to this picture. If the blocks are on the back of the mac laptop, why can we see the logo? Are the blocks transparent? (Why would they be transparent?)

    If the blocks are transparent then why is the logo it's mirror image? The bite in the Apple log belongs on the other side, doesn't it?

    It's almost like the logo is projected, reversed...
    Lmao! Dude it was just a stupid picture of a guy in a bare room shrugging at his mac laptop, and with a clueless expression on his face. I did a sweep of the images data tags, messed about with its colors and contrast, found absolutely nothing and binned it. I don't think there was any secret message

    It might surface again still, as it was posted on 4chan's /x/ so a lot of people could have downloaded it. At the time there was an invasion from another board, so I was lucky that I logged in and got it while I could! The Reaper fella might have heard of it as he was putting on a big campaign on this puzzle and hangs out there a lot too. But it was just a silly picture, no watermark, no hidden text, and definitely nothing about Jesus.

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