A friend of mine just wrote one thing on a board : TEJDAO QZ OCUQJ UVANBVCR

The only indication was "Enigma Puzzle".

If it is really an Enigma like code how could I have a chance to solve it ? Shall I try every possibility until I found a solution (I guess there is calculator for it) but knowing I'm not even sure of the language used...

Any ideas ?

Edit :

My friend remembered this indication :

Attiser les braises de la connaissance (French)

Which could be translated :

Stir up the embers of the knowledge

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you have the answer for this cipher, or are you actively trying to solve this as well? $\endgroup$ May 31, 2016 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ I have absolutely not a single clue. $\endgroup$
    – Baldráni
    May 31, 2016 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ It isn't a simple Caesar cipher. The text length is too short to do much else without any clues. $\endgroup$
    – f''
    May 31, 2016 at 20:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What characteristics of a ciphertext can be indicators of a particular cipher? $\endgroup$
    – f''
    May 31, 2016 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this challenge in English or French? $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2016 at 21:41

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, if this really is enciphered using an Enigma Machine, there is virtually zero chance that you could ever decrypt it without more information. An Enigma Machine uses a very complicated set of encryption criteria, and without knowledge of what settings were used for encryption, it is virtually impossible to decrypt. (Access to large amounts of encrypted messages and some known plaintext was the only way the British ever managed to crack any Enigma messages.)

I suspect that the word "Enigma" here doesn't refer to an enigma machine. Most likely the cipher is encrypted using some more basic cipher. But the ciphertext is very short, and the number of unknowns is too great, so without more information, finding a credible solution is unlikely.

Running the ciphertext through quipqiup gives a number of amusing potential solutions (my favourite is MUSCLE OF ETHOS HILARITY), but nothing that seems credible.

Similarly, trying to solve using a French dictionary at rumkin.com yields nothing credible.

My suspicion is that unless your friend is willing to be more forthcoming and supply at least a couple of the following, this cipher will likely remain unsolved indefinitely.

  • The cipher used
  • A (much) longer ciphertext
  • The language of the plaintext
  • Some/all of the keys/settings required for the given encryption method

A mysterious stranger has told me that the default settings on the Cryptii V2 Enigma machine will solve this cipher, producing this plaintext:


Or in English, "Alicia, I still love you"

The default settings are:

Model:           Enigma M3
Reflector:       UKW B
Rotors:          I II III
Rotor positions: M C K
Rings:           A A A
Plugboard:       (empty)

I know the Ring settings (TEJ) and the ENCRYPTED ground settings (DAO) by looking at the first 6 letters if it is Enigma, so that helps massively. It, unfortunately, would be too hard to decrypt without him telling us what method he used.

  • $\begingroup$ Wait, how can you know Ring settings from TEJ? Can that encode any 3 first letters of the message? Or is that some sort of standard? (If it is, I'd have to say it's a pretty silly one, shipping (part of) the key with every message...) $\endgroup$
    – mr23ceec
    Oct 22, 2016 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @mr23ceec That is a standard in Enigma Messages, although it usually is denoted in Equals Signs, (so it would be: some junk, the day number (refer to a code sheet) = TEJ DAO = QZOCU QJUVA NBVCR). The german wehrmact knew what they were doing, the allies had NO IDEA, and it still remains the order to do decoding with Enigma. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2016 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Re: "the allies had no idea" wasn't that how the Enigma was broken? (There was something about that in Imitation Game, but I didn't quite get it at the time.) $\endgroup$
    – mr23ceec
    Oct 25, 2016 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ The allies use the fact that a letter NEVER ENCODED into itself to break the Enigma. It was way harder to break than the Lorenz, but that was another machine. Say that you have some Enigma-encoded message $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2016 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ (this is a continuation of my previous comment) ...in this case of this message: QZOCU QJUVA NBVCR. I know that there can't have a q in the first letter's position, a z in the 2nd, an o in the third, and so on. So therefore the message CANNOT be QZOCU QJUVA NBVCR. This, unfortunately does not inform us what the actual rings were. There are 8 wheels, and 3 reflector choices (A, B and C), along with 20 of 26 letters swapped, or "steckered" with each other, and after 1944 there was another security increase, and that just blew, because, of the 40 settings, 10 of them were just another combination $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2016 at 15:07

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