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So, in May 2018, a friend and I were sitting in study hall, bored. Both of us had finished our homework early, and we were trading ciphers over email. I sent something that I had encoded, and neither she nor I could decode it (the rest of the email chain is her discussing my attempts at decoding it). From this email thread, I know it’s not:

  • a cipher involving moving one key to the right on a keyboard
  • something involving underlined vowels which was related to binary.
  • rot13.

The whole conversation: (names and stuff obviously redacted)

BW: Happy theee rythm alt'ae chill queue that's taeip queau Sadie thiss !!!!!
Other: I hate people!!!!!
Other: fpm'y er s;;
Other: yjr lrunpstf upi ofopy
BW: ???
Other: keyboard
BW: Don’t we all.
BW: The keyboard you idiot.
BW: Ztzlcg, lae L rlydsmv Xers wbqdmh fyzmy dgz.
Other: what?? There’s nothing to the right of z
BW: link to a Bifid cipher solver
2 hours later
Other: thanks, Bifid cipher. You suck. BW, you can’t decipher your own message?
BW: maybe, maybe, it might have been a different cipher. maybe playfair?
Other: several comments about my inability to remember a single cipher and key removed

I apparently believed it was the Bifid cipher, Playfair cipher, or something with a key. The message is below, in its entirety. The previous cipher translated to “don’t we all the keyboard you idiot” so I assume this might be a response.

Can you help me recover it? (This is to prove a point to a different friend.)

Ztzlcg, lae L rlydsmv Xers wbqdmh fyzmy dgz.

What I have so far is that maybe L translates to I, and Xers might be her name (Ella). I’m just guessing.

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  • $\begingroup$ For anyone who might try shifting each letter by a certain number, no, that's not the solution. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2020 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to PSE! I'm not sure I understand the situation fully: you wrote that you encoded the message yourself, but then you suggest that you do not know what cipher it was? would you be able to clarify? $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2020 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ I wrote it, but according to the email logs, within 2 hours I had lost the key and any notes I had on decoding it. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2020 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible that this is a homebrew encryption algorithm with a key, or are you fairly sure it's a known cipher? $\endgroup$ Aug 25, 2020 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ @LukasRotter: Fairly sure it’s a known cipher, as I sent emails with a link to an online cipher solver for Bifid and Playfair ciphers (which are unfortunately no longer available). Also, I wasn’t really into creating my own ciphers back then. $\endgroup$ Aug 25, 2020 at 13:03

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