You are given the following plaintext/ciphertext pairs:

image 1 they_got_my_contract_back_to_find_ to_their_alarm_a_dog_had_signed_

image 2 sonic_boom_sonic_boom_sonic_boom_ trouble_keeps_you_runnin_faster_ sonic_boom_sonic_boom_sonic_boom_ save_the_planet_from_disaster_

image 3 even_though_weve_never_said_it_ theres_something_that_ the_two_of_us_both_know_

Derive the plaintext that corresponds to the following cipher text:

image 4

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to PSE! Upvoted both for the interesting-looking puzzle, and for the Sonic CD reference. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 16, 2017 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ The only useful thing I've been able to get from this so far is that the first cipher pair uses three colours (red, green, blue) and 486 squares for a 52-character plaintext (66 if you count underscores), the second uses four (adding purple) and 837 squares for a 106-character plaintext (128 with underscores), and the third uses five (adding grey) and 540 squares for a 62-character plaintext (57 with underscores). $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ There doesn't seem to be any way to divide number of squares into character count regardless of considering the underscores, so I'm fairly certain there are no defined block sizes representing characters. Time to look at the sonic boom one to see if I can identify a pattern in the cipher that repeats six times. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy Thanks! The other given plaintexts are references, too, though they're also comparatively more obscure. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, my underscore counts were off by 1 as I missed the ones on the ends. Interesting that it uses underscores rather than spaces...but still doesn't divide evenly so it's a moot point. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:22

2 Answers 2


The answer is

"but_the_sun_rolling_high_through_the_sapphire_sky_keeps_great_and_small_on_the_endless_round_". Each column represents a letter of the alphabet, with the final one representing underscores. The top left part of the puzzle shows the order in which coloured blocks need to be interpreted, from left to right, top to bottom. So in the final puzzle, we convert red blocks first, then blue, then green, then purple, then grey. (I'm not sure whether I'm proud or ashamed of the fact that I got the full answer after translating "but the sun rolling high")

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The problem with using references is that once I realised what it was I didn't even need to convert the rest of it. :) $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'm tempted to ask PPCG to encode strings into this format. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:50


1st column = A
2nd column = B, etc.
last one = _ (propably)
So last text will contain: 4xA, 1xB, 3xD, 9xE, 4xG, 8xH, 3xI, 1xJ, 1xK, 5xL, 1xM, 6xN, 4xO, 3xP, 5xR, 7xS, 6xT, 4xU, 1xY and 17x_(=words)
Proly starting with "BUT_THE_SUN_ROLLING_HIGH_TROUGH_THE_SAPPHIRE_SKY_KEEPS_GREAT_AND_SMALL_ON_THE_ENDLESS_ROUND" - first you take Red characters, etc... (SJY is proly SKY)

  • $\begingroup$ Oh of course, there are 27 columns so alphabet + underscore being represented by those makes perfect sense. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ @jan-ivan ...Bah; I should have proofread that better (the image I posted was actually the second version; the first had misspelled the word immediately prior). $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ The question is, does that mean I technically didn't provide a correct answer? I gave the answer you intended to give but not the one the puzzle actually translates to. XD $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ I just made the typo go poof!. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 11:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JohnClifford That's not a problem; feel free to do so. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2017 at 12:07

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