My friend was in quite the predicament and he needed me to grab him something. Knowing secrecy was of the utmost importance, I never wrote down the item, but encrypted the situation. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I think I might have overestimated my abilities. Perhaps you can help figure out what my friend needs?

I remember I used some kind of old encryption with a password that the sübchief taught me. I think it was used by the Germans in one of the World Wars.


Since I'm not so great at remembering passwords, I encrypted something to help me but I don't remember what it is anymore.

Jung crbcyr ner nyjnlf va n uheel
Ubj qb lbh qvivqr friragrra nccyrf nzbat fvkgrra crbcyr
Jung unf lryybj fxva naq jevgrf
Jung jrvtuf fvk bhaprf, fvgf va n gerr, naq vf irel qnatrebhf
Jul vf na benatr yvxr n oryy
Jung tbrf hc juvgr naq pbzrf qbja lryybj naq juvgr
Jung qbrf n ghexrl qb jura ur syvrf hcfvqr qbja

All I know is that time is of the essence and I really need to get that thing and head back.


There was a thing in 1966 that might help in determining the odd-one-out

  • $\begingroup$ @Downvoters If you'd like to critique the question, I'd be happy to improve it. $\endgroup$ Dec 2 '16 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ (I upvoted, but) maybe they feel it's too much like a bad code puzzle? Even having solved the second message, I'm pretty stumped as to how to approach the first one. $\endgroup$ Dec 2 '16 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor That's fair. I suppose I've just seen too many puzzles that don't give any hinds on the type of encryption used (like the highest rated cipher question). I'll edit in something to assist with the first bit. $\endgroup$ Dec 2 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ I'm intrigued by the visual tag. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Dec 2 '16 at 20:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Vigenere tends to get a pass because if you have a key that's probably the first thing you'd try. I think you should clue anything else to avoid extreme guesswork. $\endgroup$
    – ffao
    Dec 3 '16 at 2:56

The thing you're supposed to get is

Shark Repellant


Combining information from other people's efforts:

Second Encrypted Block
(first, because it's simpler...)

This is just a ROT-13 cipher, and decrypts to a list of corny riddles:   [credit @rand al'thor]
  What people are always in a hurry
  How do you divide seventeen apples among sixteen people
  What has yellow skin and writes
  What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous
  Why is an orange like a bell
  What goes up white and comes down yellow and white
  What does a turkey do when he flies upside down

These are all riddles asked by The Riddler in the 1960s (Adam West) era Batman; the answers can be found here, and are, in order:
  Russians (they're always "rushing")
  Make applesauce
  A ballpoint banana
  A sparrow with a machine gun
  Because they both must be peeled
  An egg
  He gobbles up

The hint

The tag reference in the hint refers to the fact that all    [credit @LeppyR64]
but one of these riddles came from Batman: The Movie (1966); the final riddle was from the very first episode of the Batman TV Series, Hi Diddle Riddle (1966). So the odd-man-out is:
  Why is an orange like a bell?
Because they both must be peeled


And now the new stuff that gets us a solution:

First Encrypted Block
(finally ready to tackle this...)

In the most recent edit, OP highlighted   sübchief   for us, pointing a glaring spotlight on the name of a cipher I for one had never heard of. Clearly this will be the encryption for the last cipher-text.
We take the answer of the odd-man-out—Because they both must be peeled—and use those words in exactly that form as keywords to Übchi on the cipher-text.

h/zg/ZkpcmlgtitZma.pyZr:cnZ.u./Hs.ZitsoGZ   →   https://i.stack.imgur.com/ylGHz.png

The Answer...

The final link gives us
          Sharks with NO frickin' laser beams attached to their heads?!

Not 100% sure what you were supposed to get.
  Possibly a shark.
  Possibly a Bat-Copter.
  Possibly a rope ladder.
  Possibly Batman's disembodied leg.
  Possibly a copy of 1966 Batman: The Movie, from whence this image comes.

But if my guess is correct, what you're actually supposed to get is:
Shark Repellant — as that's how this absurd situation was eventually dealt with.


If someone is in the predicament we see here, then "time is of the essence and [you] really need to get that thing and head back." So grab it and go! :)


The second message

Apply ROT13 to the second message to get:

What people are always in a hurry
How do you divide seventeen apples among sixteen people
What has yellow skin and writes
What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous
Why is an orange like a bell
What goes up white and comes down yellow and white
What does a turkey do when he flies upside down

I spent some time attempting to answer this list of 'riddles', but only managed to solve one or two on my own before realising that they come from

the Riddler (the Batman villain), and can all be found here.

The answers are:

1. Russians (they're always "rushing")
2. Make applesauce.
3. A ballpoint banana.
3. A sparrow with a machine gun.
4. Because they both must be peeled.
5. An egg.
6. He gobbles up.

The first message

We're looking for an encryption method which was "used by the Germans in one of the World Wars". The obvious choice would be

the Enigma machine (as also indicated by the Riddler's real name),

but this needs an awful lot of different keys/passwords, not just a single word or number. Perhaps we can get some of these from the solutions found above to the second message and the riddles within.

As for the hint,

the only significance I can find of the date 1966 in connection with the Enigma machine is that it's when the Turing Award was started. Perhaps the solution has something to do with Turing rather than specifically the Enigma machine?

Oh, and we still need to use that bold word "subchief". Perhaps this is used as a key somewhere?

Last time I attempted a puzzle involving this particular cipher, it didn't end too well :-/ Maybe this time things will go better?

  • $\begingroup$ Correct train of thought, but the riddle answers are not the piece to watch for the odd-one-out. You also don't technically need to figure that bit out to solve the puzzle. $\endgroup$ Dec 2 '16 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ @David The latest edit to the question is making me think of the Enigma machine, but that needs loads of different keywords, so it can't just be "cipher with keyword RIDDLER". $\endgroup$ Dec 2 '16 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the cipher is the adfgvx cipher? $\endgroup$
    – user17008
    Dec 4 '16 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @ev3commander ADFGVX ciphertext consists entirely of the letters A,D,F,G,V,X so that seems unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 5 '16 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ The Riddler's "real" name is E.Nigma, so the riddles might be just another hint at the machine. $\endgroup$ Dec 7 '16 at 16:17

I'm not certain how this helps, but merging the hint with rand al'thor's answer the odd-one-out is:

Why is an orange like a bell - Because they both must be peeled.
1966 was Batman: The Movie
All of these riddles are from that movie except this one


I don't have too much to add to this, but I did a cursory Google search on German wartime encryption, and found a cipher called Reservehandverfahren. Basically, from what I could tell from the Wikipedia page on it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservehandverfahren), it requires some kind of a picture or diagram to get the plaintext key. Perhaps that's where the "visual" tag fits in?

That said, I have no idea where such a diagram might be located in this puzzle, but nevertheless it's an idea. It's possible übchi is the ciphertext, but cursory Google searches for a decoding chart for Reservehandverfahren do not contain any characters with umlauts.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Übchi is almost certainly the cipher used. I picked up on this quite some time ago, but I've made no headway on figuring out the six keywords. $\endgroup$
    – Will
    Jan 4 '17 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Perhaps Leppy's answer on the odd-one-out can help find those 6 words? $\endgroup$ Jan 4 '17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidStarkey Is it true that that one of those lines is not from the same source as the others? According to the link in rand al'thor's comment (second spoiler block), all of them have the same source. (Trying to be as vague as possible because I don't think spoiler blocks can be done in comments) $\endgroup$
    – Ertai87
    Jan 4 '17 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Ertai87 It is true that all of them were said by the same character, but one of them was from a separate instance that the rest of them (i.e. only one of them was not included in the 1966 thing referred to in the hint). $\endgroup$ Jan 4 '17 at 19:56

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.