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Thread: Torment: the blocks

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    I've been looking at these blocks for a couple of days.

    First, there is only one way it can be read: by turning the block of blocks 90 degrees to the right so that the bottom line is at the left, and reading across (i.e. "up" the columns.) That would account for the different column "heights" as it is originally oriented--when you turn it, it looks like it might be lines of text.

    The post by Tormented, (BTW--are you who I think you are? *wink*) gave us the key--it's the Poe cipher that was at one time considered unbreakable, but has been broken. I think the rabbits are meaningless for reading the cipher; they may have a function, but aren't completely necessary--maybe.

    If you read from left to right, arbitrarily breaking the lines into "word lengths" of your own choosing, you can easily decrypt the lines into actual words - you don't get nonsense or jumbled letters that don't make words, so I believe it may indeed be a simple substitution cipher. We do not know what word lengths it has, however, and the rabbits may have something to do with that--though I can't figure out how.
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    It may turn out to be a simple substitution cipher, but the letter frequencies are not like normal english. All 26 letters occur from between 5 and 27 times. The least frequently occurring letters are X (5) and O (. The letters which occur least frequently in English, (J, X, Q, Z) occur about 0.1% of the time - about once in every 1000 letters. Of course, this would not be "normal english", but the frequency distribution does seem unusual.

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    An un-tested thought about the blocks: could blocks where there has been a quarter turn represent the letter before or after the letter shown on the block? (alphabetically)

    What then for half turns? Two forward or two back? The block above or the block below (physically)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by knocka View Post
    It may turn out to be a simple substitution cipher, but the letter frequencies are not like normal english. All 26 letters occur from between 5 and 27 times. The least frequently occurring letters are X (5) and O (. The letters which occur least frequently in English, (J, X, Q, Z) occur about 0.1% of the time - about once in every 1000 letters. Of course, this would not be "normal english", but the frequency distribution does seem unusual.

    I don't understand....that seems relatively normal to me. Are you saying that the least -used letters are used too often? That doesn't really prove that it's unusual frequency--it would depend on subject matter.

    For instance, if you were writing a perfectly normal piece about ducks--you might use the K, and the Q (quack) quite often for a frequency analysis to work. There are reasonable explanations for unusual frequencies.

    In poetry, the language might be different, alliterative, more contracted. The block of text might be poetry, as have been several of the solutions to the torment puzzles so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by knocka View Post
    An un-tested thought about the blocks: could blocks where there has been a quarter turn represent the letter before or after the letter shown on the block? (alphabetically)

    What then for half turns? Two forward or two back? The block above or the block below (physically)?
    Testing this: *******(time passing)*******
    Looks like it would still be something that required decryption.
    It didn't yield anything for me.
    Good idea, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shecrab View Post

    I don't understand....that seems relatively normal to me. Are you saying that the least -used letters are used too often? That doesn't really prove that it's unusual frequency--it would depend on subject matter.

    For instance, if you were writing a perfectly normal piece about ducks--you might use the K, and the Q (quack) quite often for a frequency analysis to work. There are reasonable explanations for unusual frequencies.

    In poetry, the language might be different, alliterative, more contracted. The block of text might be poetry, as have been several of the solutions to the torment puzzles so far.
    I think it would be a very unusual piece of poetry or prose to have the four least used letters such as J, Q, X, Z (or whatever they might be depending on the subject matter) about 7% of the time in an extract of less than 500 letters when usually together they would make less than 0.5%.

    The five most frequent letters on the blocks (A, C, F, L, P) together occur about 21% of the time whereas the five most frequent letters in Englihs (E, T, A, O, I) occur about 43% of the time.

    It is unusual enough to have all letters of the alphabet occuring in a short extract, but it would be very unusual to have both the least common letters occuring frequently and the most common ones relatively infrequently.

    Assuming that the five most common letters on the blocks were to represent vowels, then there would be an average of about 1 vowel for each group of 5 letters. The words would be highly unusual to sustain such an average.

    Maybe the rabbits are a way of showing that some blocks are to be not counted. Thank you for testing my untested idea.

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    I think maybe we're counting too much on statistics and averages here. If this is code, it could be vigenere, which, as you know, repeats letters with no regard to their frequency in english. I will be first to say it probably isn't vigenere, because of the lack of double letters--but you never know.

    Assuming that the five most common letters on the blocks were to represent vowels, then there would be an average of about 1 vowel for each group of 5 letters. The words would be highly unusual to sustain such an average.
    I think this is actually about right, isn't it? Or is the vowel count higher?
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    Quote Originally Posted by shecrab View Post
    I think this is actually about right, isn't it? Or is the vowel count higher?
    Just taking that last part, about one third of the letters are vowels (22 vowels out of 59 letters).

    It could be vigenere, but it almost certainly isn't a simple substitution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tormented View Post
    tormented,

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