# Thread: Back to Basics for Clue Three

1. Good Twelever Platinum
Join Date
Apr 2005
Posts
744
sorry on the ana quest cee the grid was 0-9 row and colum

rust i agree frequency is a dead give away in some ciphers.

2. ## cryptoquotes

Looking over the puzzle companion book,
I noticed that out of the 100 puzzles, MS
presented 11 cryptoquotes!! (I don't think he used
any cryptoquotes yet in the previous solutions.)

With clue 3, we have produced 4 basic
strings of letters (depending on whether you
use the numbering of petals 1-10 or 0-9,
and whether you use the x/y or y/x axis method.)
Everyone has been trying to anagram these strings.

What if a string were to be broken up into words
to form a cryptoquote? We can break the string
up using the flower-pairs containing the
green leaf/petal as the first letter of each word.

Starting at the top left flower pair and working
around the border clockwise, a string would
be broken into the following word lengths:

xxx xxxxxxxx xx xxx xxx

Below are the 4 most common strings broken up:

1.) 1-10 numbering of petals x/y axis....

HNE ORHGNATX IU DVI TMN

2.) 1-10 numbering of petals y/x axis...

ASY OEUESAET JH ZSE PAS

3.) 0-9 numbering of petals x/y axis...
VRP RGTDEQGI EM RNS TLE

4.) 0-9 numbering of petals y/x axis...
STT ETMLAQUC AT ENS EUA

The string of letters can also be broken
up using the flowers on each of the
four sides of the grid to form 4 words...
the division looks like this:

xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Okay, who is good with cryptoquotes?
AP

3. That's a good idea, Animal Painter. It may still not be possible to solve your proposed cryptoquote(s) without at least one key letter provided. One example would be where the Q is located in the 10x10, if that corner 5x5 quadrant were separated out. In that case, Q occupies the 2,2 position and would equal G (or G equals Q). Some sort of single-letter key is usually provided in newspaper puzzles, the 'Crytoquote' is one I used to do. The toughest ones don't have spaces or any hints, but are usually much longer than 19 letters.

Perchprism

4. ## ramblings

Well, I got the craving for these puzzles again, realized I won't make it until the sequel, and decided to come back to this albatross.

My instincts tell me the following: as interesting as some of the proposed theories are, I'll be very surprised if the foundation of the solution isn't based on the most obvious premise. The number of petals on each half of the stems is a 0-9 (or 1-10) coordinate, and there are 19 total letters in the answer, each created by pairing the two coordinates and applying them to the 10x10 right in front of us.

The stems without any petals are not word breaks. They have to be the 10th coordinate option, since the maximum number of visible petals is nine. Having a 10x10 grid and a clear, repeated feature (the petals) that appears in 10 different quantities makes this a near-certainty.

I have trouble believing that the grid would need to be rearranged into another grid, e.g. creating a TREASURESP in the middle column. While this is creative, it just doesn't make quite enough sense without some sort of clear instruction to do this. I also don't believe that the small variations in column width is of any puzzle-solving significance.

Some observations: look at the first 3 stem pairs starting on the top left. Looking only at the stems and leaves (not the petals), they all have the same design, although the 2nd one is the mirrored image of the 1st and the 3rd. It's possible that some coordinates are (x,y) and others are (y,x), depending on the orientation of the stems. It's hard to decide what defines 'forwards' and 'backwards', but maybe there's something there.

I also tried to see if each half-stem had one exact partner somewhere else on the page. Many of them do, which would be an interesting way to create coordinates. But I can't seem to find a way to make the whole thing work.

Well, hopefully just writing this out will help my brain to think more clearly.

5. Good Twelever Platinum
Join Date
Apr 2005
Posts
744
calvin i tried mateing the stem leaf combos and then just the
color combos a while back and i couldnt get anything except
strings of nonsence letters. have tried attacking it as a word puzzle
not using flowers. its like there is one little thing missing. just dont
know what the one little thing is.

6. You should not ignore the significance of the frequency analysis of the grid. If you jump to trying to do a cryptoquote or a field cipher based on the flower pedals, you ignore an obvious and important clue. The frequencies of the 100 letters in the grid match English language.

Repeat, the frequencies match English.

There are only two possible ways to explain this.

1. The grid is a transposition cipher or word jumble. The letters must be rearranged to spell out the clue.

2. The grid is not a transposition cipher or word jumble. MS tried very hard to make the frequencies match English as a deception to hide the true cipher.

If we knew which were true, we could decide whether or not the flower petals are part of the clue. In either case, the frequency count is not accidental.

-Rusty

7. ## columnar transpostions

Rusty,
You do well to press the point of the "English language"
letter frequency of the grid.

Here is a basic primer on columnar-transposition ciphers.

http://www.contestcen.com/columnar.htm

AP

8. AP, that's a very good site you pasted. I added it to favorites. Thanks.

P/

9. ## cryptoquote

AP, I like the idea of a cryptoquote. I tried using it once and lost hope with so much to do. Here's an intersting site to use.

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/cryptogram

10. It does not need to be a columnar transposition cipher either. It could be a word jumble. The key factor is that every letter in the grid is used exactly one time, and that produces a standard English frequency distribution.

I find it curious that each of the 26 letters is used at least once. In fact, six letters are used exactly once.

He managed to use the letters J, Q, X, and Z in small amount of text. Given a main character is 'Zac', the Z is not terribly surprising. But the appearance of J, Q, and X are.

So, now I can think of 4 possibilities.

1. The grid is a transposition cipher with every letter being used exactly one time to spell out the clue. I doubt this due to the occurance of all 4 rare letters J, Q, X, and Z.

2. The grid is a ruse. MS carefully constructed the grid to produce a standard frequency distribution as a decoy for the true cipher. That would be truly evil, but effective.

3. The grid is a find-a-word, perhaps needing a columnar-transposition first. There might be 4 or 5 words hidden in the grid with other junk letters put in there randomly. This sounds possible to me considering there may be extra info in the flowers to indicate how to shuffle the grid.

4. The puzzle is a Cryptex.

Let's consider option 4, a Cryptex. Notice the vertical lines and horizontal dashes that make up the grid. Why are the vertical lines continuous, while the horizontal ones are dashed? Imagine printing out the grid and rolling the paper into a cylinder with the verticle lines becoming circles around the cylinder. Now you need to rotate each column independantly and line up the columns so that a 10-letter word is spelled across one of the rows. If you can make a 10-letter word across one of the rows, this would be the answer to the Cryptex. Perhaps 'Adventurer' is a clue to what this word is? Or maybe that was a ruse also.

Perhaps the correct answer to Clue 3 is 'GoldenGate'.

-Rusty