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Can you help find the hidden message in this encrypted text?

A young Science student / Stack-Exchange enthusiast stumbles upon a magical encrypted diary of a fellow he has always admired. He finds that the book reveals new secrets on blank pages each day about the encryption method used on the first page... can you solve the mystery???

Please note that there is an answer and the answer is written in plain English with all spaces delimiting actual words. Punctuation and numbers are not encrypted (if they are even included).

Words lengths 3,3,3,3,5,6,5,7,1,6,4,2,6,3,6,3,4,3,9,2,8.

Ciphertext:

Bpf qft lbv glz ixhve zqmoiw aqqow tunmzvd i uvjvuq liaj nc fonloc ook
yznbxf tei fgzy ynr ucfvngspr xn ccresriu.

Answers must include the method of encryption and the real text!

Bonus for figuring out who it relates to...

Hint 1#:

Frequent conclusions you will not, not here... Frequent use will not bring me a-loose.

Hint 2#:

Two sheets shroud the in mystery, every pair is Transposed with each other as a reference and then once all said and done the disk will help, maybe even the table? Either or. Don't thank me thank Trithemius.

Hint 3#:

I'm running out of hints to give but the word "Bpf" rhymes with 240 parts of one quid!

Hint 4#:

aTubal eRtca... This will definitely help you, if you know what I mean!

Hint 5#:

rTnapssotioin!!!
If your looking for a key you might be barking up the wrong tree...
as hint two is the closest thing you will see, maybe because there is no key.

Hint 6#:

I'm not your average T-R I focus more on horizontal movement then I should on vertical... But here is another version of the cipher text using a "traditional" T-R:

Ama req cmw nkw pcwiu lswyeu vfjlh mnwzoso l zaqehp wozc cp ohkmlb ptx
noaquq ctt yzil lyy xpocktlqo mw inapbeqh.

Hint 7#:

This might help!

Hints will be added, but for now I'm all hinted out!!

Any Questions I will be happy to consider as the next days hint!

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  • $\begingroup$ The way the cyphertext is formatted corresponds to the plain text? so we would have 4, 3 letter words then get a 5 letter word and so on? $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 1 '15 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ Is your hint intentionally ungrammatical and obtuse? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald May 1 '15 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ This couldn't be more clear. Quipqiup gives the obvious answer of "Ptlmlqbpynbxrhwyfxm ver dammed quivxyjruyzyumbrazislei be seekcxiphlqfrlnxccious lying to hiss of goru." $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast May 4 '15 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ @leoll2 Hint two is the closest thing you will see, maybe because there is no key... $\endgroup$ – Daedric May 6 '15 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Daedric Wow, then I definitely have no idea of how to use the table without a key, ehehe! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 6 '15 at 16:22
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Update (leaving some "thought process" in but removing dead-ends):

As another user answered, the plaintext is:

Any Man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

Here's the explanation:

Clearly, there are two steps to this cipher. One is a transposition step, and the other is a Trithemius cipher. It is not clear in which order these steps were done to the plaintext, or how exactly the transposition step is meant to be done. The Trithemius cipher also may be done with a custom Tabula Recta of some kind ("more horizontal than vertical").

I believe the first word is:

"Any" because it rhymes with "penny"

Hint 2 helped:

Hint 2 says "as a reference," so what if the transposition was in the rows of the Tabula Recta instead of the letters themselves?

So

I made a tabula recta with the heading letters transposed


B A D C F E H G J I L K N M P O R Q T S V U X W Z Y A 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 B 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 A C C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B ...

which initially didn't look promising, but:

After reading hint 6, I tried shifting in each row in various extra amounts AND transposing the top keys:


B A D C F E H G J I L K N M P O R Q T S V U X W Z Y A 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 B D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C C G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F D J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I E M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L F P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O ...
In which case "ANY" would indeed be encoded as "BPF" but to get "QFT" the plaintext would need to be "GSF" which doesn't seem to be a word.

Looks like someone beat me to the decoded phrase, but here's what I got by the time I saw it was solved:

I went back and checked out the "ama" version of the ciphertext, and found a pattern of shifts that made reasonable-sounding words. The TR ended up looking like this (number on the left is which line it would be on in a normally-ordered TR):

   B A D C F E H G J I L K N M P O R Q T S V U X W Z Y 
1  Z 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
2  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 
3  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 A 
6  E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D 
5  D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C 
6  E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D 
7  F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E 
8  G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F 
9  H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G 
12 K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J 
11 J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I 
12 K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J 
15 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M 
14 M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L 
15 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M 
16 O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N 
17 P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O 
20 S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R 
19 R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q 
20 S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R 
21 T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S 
22 U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T 
23 V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U 

Also note that the last line is shifted to the top, and then there is a pattern where certain lines are skipped, the next lines are out of order.

It appears the left-hand side of the TR was also transposed.

Using this table to decode "Ama req cmw nkw pcwiu lswyeu" I got:

"Any man who can drive safely"

And so on...

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  • $\begingroup$ @Your so close well done, you have the right Idea! $\endgroup$ – Daedric May 12 '15 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Well done! You cracked the cipher, I found it easier if you just created a grid of B A D C F E H G J I L K N M P O R Q T S V U X W Z Y on the x and y, and fill it in but either way. ADG finished my questions but you did the hard work! $\endgroup$ – Daedric May 13 '15 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Daedric This is bad, I posted the explanation of hints first (though later I deleted that since my plaintext was wrong), even now he has decoded using the answer, there's no big deal in that. That's why I said "I simply don't care [decoding rather than getting the answer]". After all it matters to get the server hacked, not how you did that. Your message was so easy, so it's not my mistake. $\endgroup$ – RE60K May 13 '15 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ @ADG in his defense, he did clearly say in the post that "Answers must include the method of encryption". And in my defense, I had got the first six words using this method at the time you posted your answer, but didn't think to google the quote. Since your answer agreed with mine, I decided to just post the explanation since you hadn't. $\endgroup$ – ajpolt May 13 '15 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ @ajpolt well I have the answer with the method of encryption deleted but present. I can undelete that and show you it's editing history, and even not that it has 1 upvote, which can't be obtained instantaneously.[Unless you chose to not accept the fact by downvoting it.] Plus I won't be doing it anytime. Just when you say. $\endgroup$ – RE60K May 13 '15 at 16:31

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