# The Spies Hidden Instructions

Your TV flickers to life; a static covered man speaks from behind a voice filter. "Agent Puzzling, you are now active. Your need to collect your first mission papers. Look under the statue on your front porch for further coded instructions." You head out to the porch and find a statue of a sleeping dog that wasn't there yesterday. On the bottom, there is a sequence of letters:

kqxflaizogcrsmcvtludhcpxgkqxbjywnce

What do you need to do?

Hint:

Your instruction is four words of length 4, 2, 2 and 3, in that order.

Hint:

Don't overthink it; notice all 26 letters are present.

Hint:

The cipher is very simple; the key is key.

Big Hint:

Pangram.

• I assume there are some clues as to what the cipher is? Jan 21, 2017 at 2:27
• ...The last time I did that, someone told me (in no uncertain terms) that I should launch with clues for cipher puzzles. Jan 21, 2017 at 2:41
• Puzzles in general, and cipher puzzles in particular, should incorporate clues to how they should be solved - as part of the puzzle itself, not grafted on in spoiler-tagged "hints". If the hint is effectively required for anyone not inside your head to solve the puzzle then it's not a "hint", it's an essential part of the puzzle--and in many cases is the only thing preventing your puzzle from being "guess what cipher I used". Hints can be added after some time has passed to give extra help to solvers not making progress without them. Hope that helps clarify things for ya!
– Rubio
Jan 21, 2017 at 3:07
• See also Code Puzzles: What (Not) To Do? - a post you've probably already been pointed to - for ideas on how to incorporate clues into your puzzles to make them more interesting and, more relevantly, not exercises in "guess the cipher".
– Rubio
Jan 21, 2017 at 3:12
• After seeing full solution I think this puzzle has all the clues needed to solve it, but they are cleverly hidden to the point they seem to be absent. Good job @qwertyu63. Shame on you, downvoters. Jan 31, 2017 at 10:54

In his answer, oleslaw makes some good points. The most important insight, however, is that ...

... the encoded sentence is "The quick brown fox", encoded with a simple substitution cipher:

        kqx flaiz ogcrs mcv tludh cpxg kqx bjyw nce
the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
The substitution alphabet is:

        abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ilopgqrscatufdbvhwnjmxyezk
Rearrange this so that the encoded keys make up the English alphabet:

        joinxmeqatzbuscdfghklprvwy
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

If you squint, you can make out the message in the top row now: Join me at bus.

(The cipher uses letters that are used only infrequently such as q, z, and x as spaces. The rest after the message proper is padding. Of course, the cipher has one major drawback: It can only encode messages without repeated letters, so that "Join me at the train" or even "Attack at dawn" can't be encoded.)