The following message can be unambiguously decoded to reveal an eleven letter word. It can be deciphered with pen and paper, although knowing a bit of Python would probably help.

What is the word?

o83AfLftzPrpZPdflFo4AFlhTFIeOpvoRd5f5lFDfPrqnFudFfiSa tHFiSapbVOp0vorvmApD4fLFpBvo1oaiEofF2lhTdFprpBvo2FieO 9dFlFdfPrfD3ifaPFieOoaiEko8iPhODfLfpb32vODfPrpVorPbvO iF2c9pIPhoDFLff83DifaSFtOacoNQvmAppvqzUeOaftDFPrdf2lF PVODieHOvA3QKQzUeDFp5rvaqKOp7zprpOcVdiehopBvodFprfD30

(Note: The original text had to be edited, but it still available in the edit history if anyone needs it.)

I can't think of any more clues I can offer without giving the whole thing away, but the answer can be obtained without any fancy arithmetic.

Clue 1:

Don't eat the fish

Clue 2:

Try the bacon instead

Clue 3:

And for dessert, perhaps the Cranberry Tart or Stilton Cheese?

Clue 4:

The keyword is important

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've created a chatroom: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/18874/… as I have a few things to paste that might help other people get started - although I'm basically nowhere. :( $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 18:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AE I'm sure you've seen this word before :-) $\endgroup$
    – r3mainer
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 19:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AE - This is what we call a cyanide puzzle... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 22:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I dont know what to make of this community where a question like this receives 3 nett up votes and things like "you are dreaming" get 40... I am sure something is not right $\endgroup$
    – skv
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 6:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would you mind adding any hints... now that after almost 24 hours there are no responses despite many attempts :) $\endgroup$
    – skv
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


Continuing from Joes answer...basically all credit goes to him, since he only missed this part:

The unsolved part from Joes answer:

78 19 25 9 92 29 54 1 95 49 6 247 4 2 149 45 5 7 199 11 62 63 179 47 14 50 23 163 52

I did this:

I googled Jumblies and found a poem with the same name. The Jumblies


Taking the corresponding words from that poem you will get the following:


"go of on did the in....."

What they all have in common is that they are all:



This could be wrong I created a script to double check: http://jsfiddle.net/fz29ruoy/1/

and it gives me the following words:

go of On did, Jumblies on be They heads every a they sea went said, round in Sieve, Their a big, But In round, went one could the ‘You’ll

And taking the first letter of each word:

goOd Job The atswsr iS Tabbirwocty

And I am guessing there are some typos or I have mistakes in my code:

Good Job the answer is:



  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You're so close to cracking it. In fact, the distance between you and the answer is about this long: – (according to my precise measurements :-D) $\endgroup$
    – r3mainer
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage finally got it!! $\endgroup$
    – stackErr
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Hooray! “ヽ(´▽`)ノ” Well done. I updated your JSFiddle to show how to get the answer from the book code. $\endgroup$
    – r3mainer
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage thanks! I was trying to find what went wrong in the code :P. And like I said, I think Joe should get most of the credit not me. I did the easy part $\endgroup$
    – stackErr
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:33

OK, so I'll post my working so far. I'm plodding along slowly with it :-)

Update: This working is all done with the original ciphertext. The same logic can be applied to the correct ciphertext and you'll end up at the numbers that the OP supplied part-way through the solve.

The second hint is a kind of cipher... how do we utilise it?

Convert lowercase letters to a and uppercase to b. Treat numbers as spaces. Decode it with the Bacon cipher.

Decrypting the first line like this gives us a translated ciphertext of

a babaaabaabbaaaba bbaabbbabaaaba a abbabaaabaabaaba

which in turn, decodes to


Continuing the remaining 4 lines in the same way, we get the following ciphertext and message:

a babaaabaabbaaaba bbaabbbabaaaba a abbabaaabaabaaba
abbabaaabba aaaaabab abbabaa aaabaab aababaaabaa baab
ababaabaab aaabbaabaaabaa ababbabaaa abbabaabaabaab
ab a abbaabbbaa baaabbabaaabbaabaaaaababaaabbbaaa ab
bbbbaabbab bbbababba aaaabba aaaababaaaaaabaaabaaab


By following the first directive, we now have the ciphertext of


Now, this is the evil part.

In Playfair encryption, J gets translated to I, so our keyword is actually IUMBLES.

Decrypting with this, we get a string containing digits written out (one, two) and a lot of q characters which split up groups of digits (it's not unusual for q to be omitted from this kind of cipher, so they probably represent spaces). It isn't clear just yet what these numbers mean, or whether any should be combined together.


The numbers are:

83 19 25 9 97 29 55 1 100 49 6 253 4 2 154 45 5 7 205 11 64 65 185 47 14 50 23 169 52

But these are wrong (@OP HOW COULD YOU!?) so we need these ones instead, provided by the OP :P

78 19 25 9 92 29 54 1 95 49 6 247 4 2 149 45 5 7 199 11 62 63 179 47 14 50 23 163 52

Interestingly, all the deciphering we've done so far has been purely alphabetical - the Bacon deciphering was done with upper/lowercase letters and we ignored the numbers as all characters in Bacon are comprised of 5 a/bs, and the Playfair decryption only uses letter digraphs, again discarding numbers.

There happen to be 5 digits in each of the 5 lines of the ciphertext (and they remained consistent between old/new ciphertexts):
83 4 5 5
0 4 1 2 2
9 3 8 32
2 9 83 2
3 5 7 30

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You've just about cracked it. Well done :-) $\endgroup$
    – r3mainer
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage for being so close, it feels like I'm nowhere xD They aren't ASCII codes, converting to binary and text is a dud, trying mod 26 and ASCII is garbage, reversing the digits and stuff goes nowhere, adding them or multiplying them produces nothing, and I can't even think of a sensible way to reduce 29 numbers to 11 so I'm expecting that the whole thing will translate into a sentence. Not sure how though, right now $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid you've gone slightly adrift there... $\endgroup$
    – r3mainer
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage I appear to have found some more numbers... the number-plot thickens! $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @squeamishossifrage that just complicates things even more xD The best I can do is that a "Bombe" is a dessert and is the name given to the machine used to decrypt Enigma messages, tying in to the title. The Enigma encryption machines had 29-key keyboard, there are 29 numbers in the Playfair plaintext. How that correlates to any numbers/letters though is beyond me $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.