# A cipher and a book…?

Long time no see! Hello Stonehenge!(I mean PSE)

A man named Kasiski gives you a letter that reads this:

Yssy uztzt t hzbvhqfhew wphivzwim mt tbdnhp wnvjchimzos agi qirmmpfmhwp ho uwtbg mt youzme on tgscrkjyh, igfywmtyp dakfdwtx ysot anuocdx eve vfdiaeyj ho afgs imx rsnxytq mthswnxwj os ts tbsmwfaegy tb pktaogtytcn hk thsxqq.

And this:

japan, australia, new zealand
Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Oxford, Swindon, Bristol, Cardiff
angola, russia, kenya; libya, saudi arabia
malaysia, mongolia; afghanistan, south korea

You have to find what the secret message and locations together references...

• What is the actual question? Do we just need to decipher the code, or explain what is meant by the plain text? Is the answer a book title? The literature tag was removed, was it relevant? Nov 24, 2015 at 19:41
• If you solve both segments and… translate the first bit twice, you'll understand how it all ties to a book.
– AJL
Nov 24, 2015 at 21:34

The keyword for the cipher (FLOAT) is found by connecting all the locations listed with semicolons indicating line breaks and then squinting a bit.

Which is used to solve the Vigenère cipher to get the plain text:

They built a convoluted reticulum to induce incertitude and furthermore to bring to naught an abhorrent inanimate parasite that hijacks the casualty to have its genetic machinery as an instrument in propagation of itself.

Which sounds like a fancy-pants word replacement way to describe

someone getting pregnant.

• Good work on the maps, but note Irishpanda's comment on the semicolons being relevant. Any ideas what this has to do with literature? Nov 24, 2015 at 14:07
• @Fillet Thanks for pointing out the semicolons. That helps clean up the images. I haven't gotten much further than you, unfortunately. I just finished out the map letters and had a different idea about the obfuscated text's meaning. Nov 24, 2015 at 14:25
• I think some of that text sounds like a fancy-pants way to describe a pregnancy but the rest of it (e.g., bits like "they built" and "to bring to naught an") not so much. Nov 24, 2015 at 18:57
• I think "convoluted reticulum" may "translate" to "puzzling network" Nov 25, 2015 at 4:15
• @CharlesKoppelman That's a much better idea! Nov 25, 2015 at 4:59

Well this is only a partial answer. The man is called Kasiski, which is a hint that we can try

Using the Kasiski examination to attempt to solve a Vigenère cipher. I used an online Vigenere tool which found that using the Keyword "FLOAT" the text deciphers to

the plain text

They built a convoluted reticulum to induce incertitude and furthermore to bring to naught an abhorrent inanimate parasite that hijacks the casualty to have its genetic machinery as an instrument in propagation of itself.

Well I'm no cell biologist, and a bit stuck. Might that be

related to a virus of some kind?? Some antiviral cell engineering?

Regarding the lists of countries/cities. The third list are all placenames in England/Wales, and as listed would represent approximately a half-circle, I added Stonehenge to the map for completeness (green dot and circle near the bottom).

or a "D" if you joined back to Liverpool from Cardiff.

• You might want to return back to the beginning with that last one.
– AJL
Nov 24, 2015 at 12:25
• You hit on how the keyword is communicated. If you look close at the list of locations, they aren't a simple list, note the semicolons. Each chunk represents a line, and when you draw them (providing appropriate connectors as you did), you get the letters in FLOAT; what you found wasn't a D, it was the O. Nov 24, 2015 at 13:53