# Riddles in the Dark? Nah, just ciphers in the shadows

Annatar stepped into Celebrimbor's forge, watching for a second. Then, he spoke.

"I wish to test you, to see whether your mind is as good as your smithing." Like any Noldor would, Celebrimbor bristled.

"Trying to be like Fëanor?"

"I? Becoming like you or your kind?" Celebrimbor watched with faint amusement as the "Giver of Gifts" regained his composure.

Finally, he spoke. "I accept your challenge."

"I give you this child of Men, from a world of walking tables, to assist you. He is called Rand al'thor. You have one week to solve the puzzles. Good luck."

Puzzle 1

RGW/JWTQIES/GLS/NIEFIRG'A/XYEAW./UBSWWS/GW/UA/BIR/NLARWE/ID/DLRW

Puzzle 2

Hint

Solving Puzzle 1 helps with solving Puzzle 2.

Can you help rand solve the ciphers and make sure the history of Middle Earth is not changed? If it helps, rand has some sort of mobile device with him, and amazingly, there is Wifi ;-).

There are probably tons of errors, but hey, it's only my second(?) question concerning ciphers.

• Do / denote spaces? – mmking Jul 12 '15 at 21:13
• Yes, spaces are sort of hard to see. – AJL Jul 12 '15 at 21:23

The plaintext for Puzzle 1 is:

THE KEYWORD HAD MORGOTH'S CURSE. INDEED HE IS NOT MASTER OF FATE

This is a substitution cryptogram that can be solved with quipqiup. The substitution was done by shifting the plaintext character one key to the left on a QWERTY keyboard (as identified by rand al'thor).

Within the question, the clue for this shift is "I? Becoming like you" or "I" becomes "U" which is one key to the left.

The plaintext for Puzzle 2 is:

I DONT KNOW HALF OF YOU HALF AS WELL AS I SHOULD LIKE; AND I LIKE LESS THAN HALF OF YOU HALF AS WELL AS YOU DESERVE.

This is a Beaufort cipher with a keyword of TURIN who is the son of Húrin Thalion. I think that the clue in the question is "a world of walking tables".

The plaintext is a statement by Bilbo from "The Fellowship of the Ring".

• If you could find more significance with the substitutions, that would be much appreciated. All information you need is in the dialogue. – AJL Jul 12 '15 at 21:24
• Wow… That easy? – AJL Jul 13 '15 at 14:35

## Puzzle 1

To decipher,

shift each letter of the ciphertext one space to the right on a QWERTY keyboard (RGW -> THE and so on). Wrap the left and right sides of the keyboard round to meet each other, so that L -> A etc.

to get the plaintext Len found:

THE KEYWORD HAD MORGOTH'S CURSE. INDEED HE IS NOT MASTER OF FATE

• Ah… Good job:-) Liking the puzzle so far? – AJL Jul 12 '15 at 22:12
• @AJL LotR and WoT references - how could I not? :-) Is Morgoth's curse a reference to this? – Rand al'Thor Jul 12 '15 at 22:17
• Yes, but no… It isn't Thalion directly, but one of the others. – AJL Jul 12 '15 at 23:46