Find the key to a popular cipher and find the inner riddle!

ViTal ciTy bridges keep it together,
Under darkness hardly MeeTing thE weather.
It Populates many but kills too,
utteRing Fare well and leaving you.

barely visible under flashes of X,
Play the instrument that's Highly compleX.
losing is fAtal yet gifting is greAt,
don't Joke, it could HeLp your mate.

Queues Go fAr for Such a commodity,
eXclusive Clans react With velociTy.
Prolongs The life of a GlaMorised impaler,
write Down yoUr name not with a retailer.

eXtras inJected to maintain a status Quo,
the wingED tHieves are an arid foe.
CombIneD with Goblin to give a Hue,
the armY roUtes to stAy A new.

Quiet motion through a dark passageway,
vaCating the premises leaving you in dismay.
exchange of voWs can make a verb,
whaT key do these words disturb.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Should this question have other tags, maybe something related to deciphering or decrypting, or is it just a basic riddle? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    May 3, 2015 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ Gah. This one's killing me. I'm certain I've found the "key", but I'm getting nowhere with the next step... Vigenére seems to be the only logical cipher, but it turns up nothing... $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    May 3, 2015 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


The key to the cipher is:


Verse 1 describes:

arteries and veins. Blood rarely sees the light of day. Loss of blood can kill.

Verse 2 describes (includes comments from Alconja):

its appearance under x-rays. Play the instrument refers to "heart strings". Blood donation and transfusion saves lives.

Verse 3 describes (includes comments from Alconja):

a waiting list to receive blood. Exclusive clans can refer to the Bloods gang. The impaler describes vampires. Writing your name could be signing in blood. Blood cannot be purchased.

Verse 4 describes (includes comments from Alconja):

thirsty flying insects like mosquitos. Also hemoglobin (goblin) provides color to blood. The army reference can describe "recruiting new blood".

Verse 5 describes

making the verb BLEED by exchanging vowels

The ciphertext is the upper case letters and the cipher is:

Vigenère. Depending on which tool is used, a one-letter shift may also be required.


So the inner riddle is:

The first and last you should take. A pea of the pod, a word will make.

And the answer to the inner riddle is:

PERCEPTION which is derived from the title. The first is R, the last is E, then add a P.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well done. I've not done much cipher work and obviously every tool I tried didn't do the extra letter shift... Some other possible blood references I noticed: "play the instrument" -> heart strings, "exclusive clans" -> pretty sure the Bloods is a gang, "glamorised impaler" -> vampires, "write down your name" -> sign in blood, "army" -> recruiting new blood... $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    May 3, 2015 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja "glamorised impaler" -> Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula? $\endgroup$
    – mdc32
    May 4, 2015 at 1:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Alconja - Thanks. I have incorporated your comments. Your riddle-ability is awesome ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Len
    May 4, 2015 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done, well put and all that :). $\endgroup$ May 8, 2015 at 9:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Oblongamous - Thanks. The puzzle construction is excellent. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    May 8, 2015 at 14:55

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