For many years, I have been writing to a pen-pal in France. In his latest letter, he said that he had something to give me so we should meet in person. I knew that Laurent dabbled in some composing for the violin, so it wasn't surprising that when we met, he gave me some sheet music with some notes at the bottom:

sheet music

lowercase = [4, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 24, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 52, 53, 56, 57, 59, 60, 62, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 73, 76, 78, 80, 81, 84]

Transcript: treble clef qf wf wf+ qb qa+ qa ef wd ef qg+ ef wd ed ec qc ec eg ec wf+ wg qa+ qf+ ee+ ec qg+ qf+ qf ec ee qe+ ea+ eg+ ee eb+ ea+ qc ed ed+ qf qc ee+ ea eg+ qc ee ec qe+ ec qg+ eb+ qc ec eg wf eb qe eg ec ea+ qc qa+ qg+ ee we ee eb+ qg ea+ ef ee+ ee wd ed ec qc ec qg+ eb+ qd+ qa ee ed+ eb+ qc
q = quarter; w = whole; e = eighth; + = upper octave

What I did find odd was that when he saw me at the airport, he said "Ah, c'est Ray!" and gave me the music, though for several years I have been signing my letters with "Sincerely, Gary."

Now that I've had some time (what with quarantine and all), I pulled out my violin and played through this passage... but something's off about it. Then, I realized that Laurent probably hid a secret message in the music. Classic Laurent!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the message. When you do, tell me what Laurent wishes me to know.

Hint 1:

Think of other ways to spell out what the title is saying. For example, Ossare-ay. Or Asarae. This will give you a cipher.

Hint 2:

I don't really know an additional hint to give. Maybe search around some more... Find something out...

Hint 3:

This was the real Hint 2 and was previously hidden (unless you're an osint haxor): Haha! You're clever, aren't you! Good job on finding this... Maybe check out WWW.DCODE.FR, one of my favorite websites!

  • $\begingroup$ I tried rot13(...znccvat nyy havdhr yrggref (qvssreragvngvat ba hccre if ybjre, bpgnir, abgr, naq yratgu) ohg gung unf 37 pbzovangvbaf. V nyfb gevrq gerngvat hccre naq ybjre pnfr yrggref nf gjb qvfgvapg pvcuref ohg jvgubhg fbzr bgure pyhr gb tb bss bs, gung'f fhcre gbhtu gb oernx. V gevrq gerngvat vg nf n Onpbavna pvcure (jvgu hccre naq ybjre pnfrf) ohg gung qvqa'g jbex. V nyfb gevrq "nprer" naq "funec" nf ivtarer pvcure xrlf. V nyfb gevrq vagrecergvat nf "n P, er" fb "sebz P, Q" naq fjvgpuvat be bireybnqvat P gb Q be Q gb P naq nggnpxvat vg sebz nyy zragvbarq natyrf.) Is any of that close? $\endgroup$
    – kristinalustig
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @kristinalustig -- Some of it is sort of on the right track, especially the last part of your comment. Maybe try revisiting FlorianF's comment as well as some of the tags on this question. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2020 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


This appears to be the

Acéré cipher.

When decoded, it reads as:


This looks like nonsense at first, but if

you apply the "lowercase" part, and replace every letter in the given position with its lowercase (indexing from 1), you get Q29tZSB0byB0aGUgdG93ZXIgYXQibWlkbmlnaHQuIEknbGwgYmUgd2FpdGluZyB1bmRlciB0aGUgYmVsbHMu, which decodes using base64 as Come to the tower at"midnight. I'll be waiting under the bells..

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Still not sure if that stray quotation mark is part of the original message or a mistake on my part, but I can't be bothered to compare them - getting this much took far too long as-is. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Aug 12, 2020 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ This is correct. I don't mind the quotation mark; it's clear you got the answer! $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2020 at 13:28

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