8
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I had an idea pop into my head for a multi-stage puzzle, I hope you like it. The first stage in particular I kept pretty straightforward since this is my first try at this. :)

Mppl dbsfgvmmz boe zpv xjmm gjoe
Cp cpv hqtou kp c fkikvcn yqtnf
Zdonlqj dfurvv wkh sdjh
Xli mqeki ewwmkrih, gsppmhih,
Jmvih fc e kyr. Livi ejxiv v.
Gzy bmfy fr N?
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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind, there certain things you shouldn't do when posting ciphers $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Nov 22 '16 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @dcfyj A useful link thanks, I'll keep it in mind. The cipher is not the focus in this place, as shown by how (almost instantly) it was cracked. Hopefully the riddle is a bit more challenging. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 14:14
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The cipher used to encrypt the riddle is a mixture of several different

Caesar ciphers. Specifically, we shift the six lines of the encrypted text back by 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5 places respectively

to get the following riddle:

Look carefully and you will find
An ant forms in a digital world
Walking across the page
The image assigned, collided,
Fired by a gun. Here after r.
But what am I?

Inspired by @GarethMcCaughan's answer, the solution to this could be

a glider in a cellular automaton. Quoting from Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

"The glider is a pattern that travels across the board in Conway's Game of Life. It was first discovered by Richard K. Guy in 1970, while John Conway's group was attempting to track the evolution of the R-pentomino. [...] John Conway has remarked that he wishes he hadn't called it the glider. The game was developed before computers and after seeing it animated, he feels the glider looks more like an ant walking across the plane. [...] Gliders are important to the Game of Life because they are easily produced, can be collided with each other to form more complicated objects, and can be used to transmit information over long distances. For instance, eight gliders can be positioned so that they collide to form a Gosper glider gun."

So gliders can be seen as ants walking across a page; they exist in a digital world; they form images and collide with each other; they are fired by guns and were discovered after the R-pentomino.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Seriously? 15 secs? :) $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Nov 22 '16 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @oleslaw And my answer was longer than yours too, at least in the first revision. So it goes :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '16 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ And with formatting :P $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Nov 22 '16 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, come on! rand al'thor was first. I agree. :P $\endgroup$ – oleslaw Nov 22 '16 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ If you find the right answer then everything will fit, so nice idea but that's not it. One of the other answers is going in the right direction though :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 14:35
6
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The correct solution has been found, but for anyone interested here is the remaining clue:

Everything, even the formatting and the choices of shift are important

    Look carefully and you will find
    An ant forms in a digital world
    Walking across the page
    The image assigned, collided,
    Fired by a gun. Here after r.
    But what am I?
One line has a break in the shift pattern, that line also says "Here after r". After r is referring to the letter S (not the R-pentomino). The use of ROT and the break in the shifting on that line were both hints to shift R right one to get S. Highlight the letter S in the riddle and there are only 5,
        ...forms i...
        ... across...
        ...ge assi...
they form one of the stages of the glider
               s
                ss
               ss

All feedback is welcome. Was this too obscure, were the other clues too easy, or was I just to impatient? The idea was to lead people to the idea of game of life with the other clues, then use this to identify the glider.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Very clever clue - but yes, too obscure IMHO. Even knowing the solution, I would never have thought to look for this; and even when you find that pattern of S's, it could just be a coincidence. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '16 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ monospacing inside spoilers is quite possible. fixed that for you; you'll probably want to edit that text now. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Nov 22 '16 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio Awesome, thanks. Didn't know you could do that :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Yes, in hindsight I think the other specific solution clues needed to be more obscure and instead it needed more clues as to what needed to be done for the final step. I'll try to do better next time :D $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 16:46
4
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Others have solved the cipher. I wonder whether this is describing

the game of (Conway's) Life

in which

there is a configuration called a "glider" that moves across the grid at a constant velocity, and another called a "glider gun" that makes gliders. One particularly simple but fruitful starting configuration is the so-called "R pentomino" whose evolution produces several gliders (though no glider gun).

There is an entirely different

cellular automaton

known as

Langton's ant

which might be being alluded to, suggesting that maybe

some more general thing to do with cellular automata might be what we're looking for. But so far I can't see what.

It also seems as if

the shifts used in the riddle -- 1,2,3,4,4,5 -- might be of some significance. OEIS finds lots of sequences containing those numbers, unsurprisingly, and the few I looked at were unenlightening.

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  • $\begingroup$ You are heading in the right direction actually, there's more to find though :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ You were nearly there with your first answer, Rand has just posted the correct one although there are still a few clues missed. (The additional clues narrowed it down to a specific element). $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ I've posted an explanation and welcome feedback, thanks for puzzling :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Now I feel bad about stealing your idea. If it wasn't for the fact that I solved the cipher first as well, I would've said you should get the tick instead. Have a +1 anyway :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 22 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it was a really tough choice and I'd give you both a tick if I could. I was looking for a single word answer Glider not the four word The Game of Life though so Rand got there first. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 16:44
3
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Partial answer

Deciphering the text as follows:

first line is ROT1, second line is ROT2, 3rd is ROT3, 4th and 5th are ROT4 and 6th is ROT5.

results in a riddle:

look carefully and you will find
an ant forms in a digital world
walking across the page
the image assigned, collided,
fired by a gun. here after r.
but what am i?

Which can be:

javascript

Because:

look carefully and you will find
an ant forms in a digital world


Ant is a Java (programming language) library

walking across the page

Cross site scripting is a security vulnerability of web pages
These two give java+scripting = javascript

the image assigned, collided,
fired by a gun. here after r.
but what am i?

???can't get it right now.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you find the right answer then everything will fit, so nice idea but that's not it. One of the other answers is going in the right direction though :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 22 '16 at 14:35

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