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A friend of yours calls you late one night, seemingly very excited about something. He's speaking quickly, and you can't really make out what he's trying to tell you. From what you can understand, he found some sort of code while monitoring background radiation of the universe in the astronomical observatory that he works at.

He tells you he hasn't been able to make much headway in trying to decipher its meaning, and asks you for help:

13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!!! 45-23-3-44 52-4-43-33-13 23-1-44 43-2-12-2-3-51-2-13 6-4-5-43 34-2-44-44-1-22-2. 3 1-34 1 41-1-12-3-21-3-44-45 4-21 45-23-3-44 52-4-43-33-13. 3-45 3-44 45-23-2 33-5-12-32 4-21 6-4-5-43 12-3-51-3-33-3-61-1-45-3-4-35 45-23-1-45 3 1-34 45-23-2 21-3-43-44-45 45-4 43-2-12-2-3-51-2 6-4-5-43 34-2-44-44-1-22-2. 3 1-34 52-1-43-35-3-35-22 6-4-5: 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!!! 45-23-2-43-2 1-43-2 45-2-35-44 4-21 34-3-33-33-3-4-35-44 4-21 44-45-1-43-44 3-35 6-4-5-43 13-3-43-2-12-45-3-4-35. 1-44 33-4-35-22 1-44 6-4-5 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43, 45-23-3-44 52-4-43-33-13 52-3-33-33 35-4-45 11-2 1-11-33-2 45-4 1-44-12-2-43-45-1-3-35 45-23-2 44-4-5-43-12-2 4-21 6-4-5-43 45-43-1-35-44-34-3-44-44-3-4-35. 11-5-45 3-21 6-4-5 13-4 1-35-44-52-2-43, 45-23-2 44-4-5-43-12-2 52-3-33-33 11-2 33-4-12-1-45-2-13 43-3-22-23-45 1-52-1-6. 6-4-5-43 41-33-1-35-2-45 52-3-33-33 11-2 3-35-51-1-13-2-13. 6-4-5-43 52-4-43-33-13 52-3-33-33 11-2 12-4-35-42-5-2-43-2-13! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!! 13-4 35-4-45 1-35-44-52-2-43!!!

P.S.:

Bonus points for whoever can get the reference!

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1 Answer 1

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I used:

https://www.boxentriq.com/code-breaking/cryptogram to determine if this was a simple substitution cipher as it looked like each number could map to a single letter, turns out that is correct.

A,E,I,O,U and Y are represented by numbers 1-6 respectively. (Here Y is considered as a vowel.) Then other consonants are mapped to numbers accordingly.

 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
 1 11 12 13  2 21 22 23  3 31 32 33 34 35  4 41 42 43 44 45  5 51 52 53  6 61

That gives us the message:

Do not answer! Do not answer!! Do not answer!!! This world has received your message. I am a pacifist of this world. It is the luck of your civilization that I am the first to receive your message. I am warning you: do not answer! Do not answer!! Do not answer!!! There are tens of millions of stars in your direction. As long as you do not answer, this world will not be able to ascertain the source of your transmission. But if you do answer the source will be located right away. Your planet will be invaded. Your world will be conquered! Do not answer! Do not answer!! Do not answer!!!

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  • $\begingroup$ It's interesting to me that a somewhat complicated code can be broken so easily. You got the message, but the way the code works is more than just a substitution cipher. Every letter has a system to determine what number it's mapped to. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2023 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ For the bonus question: rot13(Guvf vf n dhbgr sebz gur obbx 'Qnex Sberfg Gurbel'.) Google revealed that. $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Mar 10, 2023 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerSelden It is a simple substitution cipher, but the substitution is systematic. Normally, a simple substitution can be solved using the general method if around 30 letters of ciphertext are given, but shorter ones can be solved if the substitution is systematic and the solver is able to notice the pattern to the system. $\endgroup$ Mar 11, 2023 at 15:01

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