<-- Previous clue

After submitting your answer in the email, you wait eagerly, on the edge of your seat. After about five minutes, your response comes back. It says:

Wonderful. You have completed your first task. You have earned the right to continue. Please go to [redacted] to continue.

You jump out of your seat, grab a few sandwiches and a bottle of water (always think ahead!), stuff 'em in a backpack with some paper/pencils, and hop in the car.
After about ten minutes, you arrive at your destination. As you climb out of the car, you remark, "This looks like an abandoned factory. Not much like a place you would expect the [redacted] serum to be made."

As if in response to your comment, the floor starts to rise up. As you step back in amazement, you notice the screen and keypad underneath.
You cautiously approach. The screen reads:

Welcome. To continue, please enter the second clue. This is not a game. You have only one try. There is no way out.

After you read that, you jump back in alarm, and look around. While you were reading, the floor had folded back again, and now you are trapped. Since you don't know what else to do, you go look at the screen again.

This is a cipher. You should solve it with relative ease - don't mind the length.

At that, you look at the keyboard. There is another screen above it, with text boxes - a space for one character in each. There were eight boxes. Then you look at the cipher.

{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqnfu;qbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}/{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqbg;qbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}#{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqbg;qbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}/{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg; qbgqnfuqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqnfu;qbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}#{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqbg;qbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qnfu;qbgqbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}#{qbgqbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qnfuqbgqnfu}{qbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qnfuqbgqbgqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}#{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqnfu;qbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}#{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqnfu;qbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}/{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg^qbgqbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qnfuqbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qnfu;qbgqbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}#{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqbg;qbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}/{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg}{qbgqbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qnfu;qbgqbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg}{qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqnfuqnfu;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbgqbg}#{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qnfuqbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqbg;qbg;qnfuqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfuqbg;qbgqnfu}{qbgqbgqbg;qbgqbgqbgqnfu;qbgqbg;qbgqnfuqbg}

Next clue--->

  • $\begingroup$ Fun fact: The cipher is around 3,251 characters. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jul 21 '16 at 12:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I take it the ":" is supposed to be a "{"? $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Jul 21 '16 at 12:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Are you sure it is not arround 3,253.02 characters? ;c) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Jul 21 '16 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ Meta: How do you know where to e-mail to? $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Dec 29 '16 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ @justhalf Uhhh... No idea. :P $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jan 5 '17 at 16:01

The password is ...


The first step to attack the cipher is ...

... to apply rot13, which gives many repetitions of "dash" (qnfu) and "dot" (qbg). This is, of course, a big hint to apply Morse code to the sequences of dashes and dots, which yields:

{G;J;R;A;G;L}{G;J;R;A;G;L^G;U;E;R;R}{S;V;S;G;R;R;A} etc.

Applying rot13 again, the same snippet reads:

{T;W;E;N;T;Y}{T;W;E;N;T;Y^T;H;R;E;E}{F;I;F;T;E;E;N} /{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}{F;O;U;R;T;E;E;N}{F;I;V;E}#{F;I;F;T;E;E;E;N}{F;O;U;R;T;E;E;N}{F;I;V;E} /{T;J;E;N;T;Y}{T; ;E;N;T;Y^T;H;R;E;E}{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}#{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}{F;O;U;R;T;E;E;N}{F;I;V;E}{F;I;V;E}{N;I;N;E}{S;E;V;E;N}{E;I;G;H;T}{T;J;E;N;T;Y}#{S;I;X}{N;I;N;E}{T;J;E;N;T;Y^T;W;O}{F;I;V;E}#{T;;E;N;T;Y}:T;W;E;N;T;Y^T;H;R;E;E}{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}#{T;W;E;N;T;Y}{T;W;E;N;T;Y^T;H;R;E;E}{F;I;F;T;E;E;N} /{T;W;E;N;T;Y^S;I;X}{F;I;V;E}{E;I;G;H;T;E;E;N}{F;I;F;T;E;E;E;N}#{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}{F;O;U;R;T;E;E;E;N}{F;I;V;E} /{F;I;V;E}{N;I;N;E}{S;E;V;E;N}{E;I;G;H;T}{T;W;E;N;T;Y}#{F;I;F;T;E;E;N}{F;O;U;R;T;E;E;N}{F;I;V;E}

The next step is to ...

... convert the English numbers to decimals, correcting transmission erors on the way:


Each number in a brace is a letter denoted by its position in the alphabet. The notation 20^X means 20 + X, so that the text reads:


The slash just means juxtaposition of digits and we get a sequence of eight numbers:

21 12 18 5 2 20 18 1

The last step ...

... is to convert the numbers to letters in the usual way:


Rot13 again, and we get:


I think it is likely that the third letter was misencoded. If we replace the R with a Q before rot13'ing, the password is hydrogen.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Wow, that was quick. Sorry about the mis-encoding. :/ $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jul 21 '16 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ Hang on. In my copy-pasted document, it says it with a SPOILERS q, not an r. Since I used rot13.com. Hmm... $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ I had stumbled on the first step and was working on the second. Sadly I'm far too slow at these lol. $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ So the random ":" (colon) I found was actually a "{" (brace)? $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir: "Wow, that was quick." Well, the long message reminded me of this recent puzzle of yours, which shares some characteristics with this one. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.