Thread: Clue 3 a transposition cipher?

1. Clue 3 a transposition cipher?

Clue 2 was a transpostion cipher. That is, all of the letters shown in the clue were used in the solution--they were simply descrambled. You had to put them in the right order by sticking them on a Rubik's cube and solving the Rubik's cube.

I'm thinking, the 100-letter box in Clue 3 might similarly be a 100-letter transpostion message just waiting to be put in the right order by some kind of gizmo. Here is why I'm thinking this--

The frequency of the letters pretty much matches the normal frequency of English. That's supposed to be a big red flag that a transposition cipher is being used. The 9 highest-freqency letters in Clue 3 are--

E 15 percent
A 8 "
S 8 "
T 7 "
N 7 "
R 7 "
L 6 "
I 5 "
O 4 "

The 5 lowest-freqency letters (1 percent each) are J K Q X Z.

In the normal English frequency count, the 9 top letters are E T A O I N S H R. Same as Clue 3's, except for the L, though the order might be a little different. The bottom 5 letters are the same, J K Q X Z.

I know this fact was brought up before, but I think we keep forgetting about it.

I'm thinking that all the letters in the box are going to descramble into a 100-letter message, and that the flower pairs are supposed to be used to descramble them. There are 19 flower pairs. If you treat the first column "ADVENTURER" as a plaintext given, that leaves the total number of columns and rows as 19...as if each flower pair stands for a certain column or row.

One possible descrambler method for these columns of letters could be a Cryptex (a la "The Da Vinci Code") or a Jefferson wheel cipher. This was an idea suggested by Elrohir and others earlier. It's based on the same principle as a combination lock. Seems like a very good idea to me. I just don't know how to apply the flowers to the columns/rows. Seems to me like the colors would be used as a color key to order the wheel somehow.

Elrohir had mentioned that when Clue 3 is printed on normal 8 1/2 X 11 computer paper, the letter box just happens to precisely fit around a paper towel tube. Which makes it very easy to make into a Cryptex/Jefferson wheel. That doesn't seem like coincidence to me--paper towel tubes/toilet paper tubes are something universally used for crafts and games by school kids. All I know is, this really looks like it needs to be descrambled using some kind of circular or cylindrical gizmo. Anyone have any new suggestions as to how correlate the flowers to rotations on a wheel?

2. I have also been spending some time these days on Clue 3. Spiggan, you are definitely correct to reinforce this concept. The most likely ways to encrypt something in this clue is by scrambling the 100 letters to hide a pure plaintext message, or by extracting 19 letters and reading them somehow. I have been trying to determine ways to unscramble plaintext-- using a wheel cipher approach, or even by unscrambling rows and columns alternately. RDIX's Clue 3 scratchpad is a godsend for this, btw.

But I just cannot find anything that resolves some of the variables, or tells me what instructions each flower should hold. I have the "trial and error" combinations that MS introduces at every turn-- are the green buds 0 or 10? Is the left flower a row or a column? Are the corner flowers in the row or column? Where does the message/descramble instructions start? Should I be looking at flowers or leaves, etc. etc. etc. Every time you have a good idea, you need to check it against six or eight permutations--- very frustrating!

3. simple?

Elrohir,

I am torn between those who say MS called clue 3 "simple"
and your recollection that MS said "No one will be solving
this any time soon..." But it does not stop me from
continuing to search for the solution....! Keep trying!!
AP

4. Doesn't the longish shape of the letter box look a little odd? It looks to me like it's been stretched on purpose, to fit a certain length (like around a paper towel tube).

What we need is for MS to release a Clue for Clue 3!

5. Yes I have been wondering that also-- what if the whole darned thing is a SIDEWAYS wheel cipher. Too many permutations!

And is Clue 4 a standalone clue, or is it a clue for Clue 3? Questions, questions...yet these intrigue me more than SOTAD, for unknown reasons.

6. I like Spiggan's original take on this, and have a couple of thoughts about how to use the flowers to rearrange the letters.

i think the colors are a red herring- too many ways to think about them. Each flower can be reduced to a simple ordered pair, with the numbers ranging from 0 to 9.

There are 19 of them. Spiggan proposed one way to make sense of this: delete the given column and work with the remaining 19 rows and columns. Here is another. Assume that ADVENTURER tells us to start at the upper left corner and go down. Also assume that the flower directly adjacent to that corner is the first ordered pair. Then work around through the 19 flowers, assigning one each to the 10 rows as one goes down and then to the nine remaining columns as you go to the right across the bottom.

We can now assign two ordered pairs, in a Cartesian way, to the 81 remaining letters. The left and bottom border letters would remain in place. The trick is to convert the two ordered pairs for each letter to the coordinates for its new location. The tip off would be that each letter would get a unique assignment and there would be no duplications. There are lots of ways to convert two ordered pairs to one, starting with simple addition and applying modulo 10.

and moving column by column to the right. The bottom row might look random because its letters are in the middle of words. This would also fit with the observation that the vertical lines are solid.

Spock

7. P.S.

If the general approach Spiggan proposed (rearranging letters) is correct, it would help to have a Scrabble set, which is reminiscent of the need to get use a Rubik's cube in the prior puzzle.

Spock

8. Interestingly, there aren't enough tiles in a Scrabble set to populate the full set of 100 letters. If you have the game Syzygy, which uses similar tiles, then you will have enough.

9. This is going to be a long post, but why not? It's been nearly two years now on this stupid clue.

I agree with Spiggan's argument that the letter frequency distribution indicates that all of the letters should be used, rather than picking out 19 (or 3 from different interpretations of the flower pairs.

I like the idea of removing a column or row to make a 9x10, too. It explains the use of 19 pairs (sort of).

http://img253.imageshack.us/my.php?i...e3solve9lu.png

Now I'm going to make an argument for a way to solve this thing. Adamav's 'solution' cannot be a coincidence. What he did was shift all of the columns 3 places to the right, and then dial up or down each column (except the ADVENTURER column) a few clicks to make a very nice perimeter of connected spelled-out colors (and STEM). All of the colors in the flower petals. These 34 letters encircle 34 letters that Adamav proposed to anagram into 'RUSFUL AND ANA TOKENS PAGE NUM THIRTY SIX'. I'll get to that later.

Here's what I think---the different petal colors were needed in order to arrange this perimeter. That is, MS had to give us some way to arrange it, or recognise it for what it is. So he chose to use five petal colors, plus green, and 'stem'. Now we don't have to worry about colors anymore.

Why did he choose ADVENTURER? If the petals are meant to be used right away to rearrange all of the 100 letters in the grid, then MS could have come up with something much better and more germaine than ADVENTURER, I would think. But looking at Adamav's 'solution', it appears that MS had to go with what he could get, a rather lame ADVENTURER.

Many folks complained to Adamav that his solution, while compelling, didn't appear to have any connection to the flowers. I think that's true. The flowers have to be used AFTER this solution. MS figured some enterprising soul would come up with this solution sooner or later, by trial and error, and indeed Adamav did. But now the petal and leaf counts have to be used because there are no intentional red herrings.

So I think this is the starting point. This is where the petals and leaves come into play.

Looking at Adamav's solution, you'll notice that the top row isn't used. I propose it is this row that is ejected rather than the ADVENTURER column. After all, it's at the very top, and none of its letters are used in this starting point. The ADVENTURER column is the fourth column in the rearranged grid, and it wouldn't make sense to eject it now.

In that case, the left-hand stem denotes the column, and the right-hand stem is the row. Since the Adamav solution required 'dialing' of the columns, I suggest that is what is indicated by the leaf count. For example, take flower pair number one---top left-hand corner--it has a bud on the left with 5 leaves, and two petals on the right with 3 leaves. Taking the bud as ZERO (or column zero, rather), you dial it up 5 clicks. After that, row 2 gets shifted to the left 3 places. And so on, through all 19 flower pairs. In this way, all of the grid letters are shifted around multiple times. The end result will hopefully be a spelled out message of 90 letters.

Of course, I have problems with this scheme. The question not answered is, 'why are there only as many as 5 leaves per stem?'. In thinking about this I thought an answer might be that when 'dialing' a column of 9 or 10 letters, in order to get it where you need it to be, you'd only have to specify 5 places at most. That is, instead of dialing 'UP' say, 7 spaces, you could dial 'DOWN' 2 or 3 spaces. You'd never need a directional instruction that exceeded 5 spaces. But you would need to know whether you are supposed to go UP or DOWN (or in the case of rows, LEFT or RIGHT). I can't see anything in the flower pairs that would indicate up, down, left, or right.

Another problem is, if we eliminate the top row of Adamav's solution, we get rid of the two letter C's in the grid---there aren't any more. Mr. Stadther is funny with his letter C's, I've noticed, so I'm not sure if this is a real problem.

Another problem with the leaves is that flower pairs 4, 10, and 14 are ambiguous as to which stem one of the leaves truly belongs. This is a huge problem, actually. I'm on flower pair nine of my second try through, and it takes hours of painstaking labor. A wrong guess is intolerable, really.

I want people's opinions about leaf counts---specifically, flower pair 18. Notice the left-hand stem has 3 leaves, 2 of which are mostly obscured by petals. Would you consider this 3 or 1 leaves for purposes of 'dialing' the column? I ask this for two reasons: there appear to be no leaf-counts less than 2 (why none with just one?), and remembering the ANT puzzle, where we had to disregard all dandelion seeds that touched the inner border margin of the picture. Maybe we're supposed to disregard leaves that are mostly obscured by flower petals.

Getting back to the beginning---Adamav's anagram for the encircled 34 letters: 'RUSFUL AND ANA TOKENS PAGE NUM THIRTY SIX'. I hate pg 36--- It's terrible---the worst picture page in the whole book. It's also the only picture in Chapter 7 that hasn't had a token hidden in it. But my opinion is that there's too much going on in that picture not to have something hidden there. I've counted Fairy Fingers until blue in the face. Something I haven't done is assign a value of Zero to hidden hands, those with no fingers showing. '....for the one that is hidden you did not see' (?).

If there are extra tokens, MS would have needed to keep that secret for a good while, and he would not have wanted a Yorah token (for example) discovered before the Dragonfly. In that case, he'd have needed to plant those second tier token clues a bit deeper. A different style grid, for instance.

Just summing up Clue 3 as I see it----

--Adamav's solution is a starting point for application of the flower pairs and probably the leaves.

--The entire grid will be used (every letter).

--Row one is eliminated.

--The petal colors are no longer of any special use.

--The 34 encircled letters that Adamav anagrammed into an interest in page 36 have to mean something. I've not been able to improve on Adamav's anagram. It seems almost certain that RUSFUL has to be included somewhere. I've spent hours and hours on these 34 letters.

I strongly encourage everyone still interested in Clue 3 to study Adamav's posted discovery from Nov. 23, '05. There is just no way that it's a coincidence. It was intended. No doubt about that. And in that case it would behoove us to reinvestigate all of the obvious solutions utilyzing that new grid arrangement, like taking 19 letters as indicated by the flower pairs etc., not just my more complex take on it. I went through a few iterations of possible quickie solutions, but no luck, and I imagine Adamav and others thought to take his rearranged grid and dust it for finger prints. I'm thinking it might have been mere formality, however, if done at all. Attacking the new grid as I propose is no easy undertaking, just to warn everyone.

P/

10. WOW

Perch,
WOW...That is all I can say.
AP