My favorite high school teacher, Mrs. Fake, is one of the most interesting people I can pretend to know. She is a woman of a rather complex descent being related to both Caligula of Rome and King Ahab on both sides of her family tree. She was my home room teacher in the 9th grade. Every morning around 8 o'clock she would post a problem on the board for the in the class to lock horns with. One day in the middle of March this is what she wrote.

4d 69 f3 d9 6e f3 d8 20 68 f3 d9 20 6d f3 dg 27 f4 9e 72 20 73 68 f3 d0 6h 67 73 68 f4 81 6h 6f 65 0d 6h f3 d1 20 79 f4 de 20 74 f7 92 6h 67 20 73 68 75 f7 90 0d 6d 69 f3 d9 6e f3 d8 20 64 f3 d0 6i 20 78 69 f3 d0 2f 20 64 f7 8h 70 f3 e2 6f 65 20 74 f4 81 20 64 65 20 67 75 f4 81 6h 6g 69 f7 8h 6h 2f 0d 6d f3 dg 27 f4 9e 72 20 6f f3 d1 69 6f 65

Please explain your method of solving this puzzle for extra credit.
As a reminder your book report on John W. Nystrom is due Friday.

  • $\begingroup$ Please explain your method of decryption. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Supersolver May 15 '17 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ I am pretty sure this has something to do with the ascii characters. 20 appears quite often which is a Hex number for a space character. $\endgroup$ – Gintas K May 16 '17 at 9:04

It appears to be a nursery rhyme.

The ciphertext consists of the characters 0-9 and d-i. Clearly this is Caesar-shifted hexadecimal data. After reversing the Caesar shift and converting from hexadecimal beck into binary, I ended up with this:

Ji\xc3\xa9k\xc3\xa8 h\xc3\xa9 j\xc3\xad'\xc4\x9br sh\xc3\xa0ngsh\xc4\x81nle\nn\xc3\xa1 y\xc4\xab t\xc7\x92ng shu\xc7\x90\nji\xc3\xa9k\xc3\xa8 d\xc3\xa0o xi\xc3\xa0, d\xc7\x8ep\xc3\xb2le t\xc4\x81 de gu\xc4\x81nmi\xc7\x8en,\nj\xc3\xad'\xc4\x9br l\xc3\xa1ile

This didn't look very promising until I tried printing it as Unicode (UTF-8) text:

Jiékè hé jí'ěr shàngshānle
ná yī tǒng shuǐ
jiékè dào xià, dǎpòle tā de guānmiǎn,
jí'ěr láile

After a quick bit of googling around, I discovered that Jiékè (杰克) is Chinese for "Jack", and shàngshānle (上山了) means "up the hill". On a hunch, I tried translating the well-known nursery rhyme:

Jiékè hé jí'ěr shàngshānle
杰克 和 吉尔 上山了
Jack and Jill went up the hill

ná yī tǒng shuǐ
拿 一 桶 水
to fetch a pail of water

jiékè dào xià, dǎpòle tā de guānmiǎn,
杰克 到 下, 打破了 他 的 冠冕
Jack went down, and broke his crown

jí'ěr láile
吉尔 来了
And Jill came (tumbling after)

Note: The last line translates simply as "Jill came", but this is probably just an error on the part of Google Translate. I also had to change the 3rd line to "Jack went down" instead of "Jack fell down".

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ If anyone's interested, here's a better translation. $\endgroup$ – r3mainer May 16 '17 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ Assuming you have the right plaintext, as far as I can tell the last line isn't an error on the part of Google. $\endgroup$ – Sp3000 May 16 '17 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Sp3000 I mean the translation into Chinese appears to be wrong. I don't think the OP is an expert in the language, but then neither am I... $\endgroup$ – r3mainer May 16 '17 at 19:27

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