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Today’s cipher is a modification of a famous method. Here’s the ciphertext:

YGWCSD QDCHVF WCLEZJ CHCTJQ YUEOYG YSE,GY KYJXDZ KYCYEP IFKWGW
TIHOEP CHRTJR DOCRTU YGY,HB PEDWUC GWU.QD ;WRTDR BESDOY ZDMNUC
SFQDCH RKWCH. POXHQO QFYOY. YPSAYR QFYHYG Y,HGIT YGRT

I’ll give you three clues:

  1. The method is a spinoff of the famous method used to encode my last Challenge.
  2. The punctuation in the ciphertext enciphers letters in the plaintext. (There is no punctuation in the solution.)
  3. The following 2 lines of characters are not a deciphering tool but a clue that will point you in the right direction. What came after this?

3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

New Hint (2017/11/08):

The solve method lies at your fingertips.


This is a repost from my puzzle blog. (Link in my profile.)

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The lines ...

3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

are the characters used on an early typewriter designed by Christopher Latham Sholes. He went on to invent the first typerwriter with a QWERTY keyboard layout, the same layout used on modern day computer keyboards.

That clue leads to ...

... your own computer keyboard being the codebook.

Using your keyboard as the codebook, you can follow the rules of the Playfair cipher to decipher the code. The grid would look like this:

QWERTYUIOP
ASDFGHJKL;
ZXCVBNM,./

The deciphered text is

T H E X A S E A N D F R E X D O M A N D B E A U T Y W I T H W H I C H T H I S M A C H I N E W O R K S I S T R U L Y W O N D E R F U L E V E R Y T H I N G N O W S E E M S T O M E A S P E R F E C T A S I T C A N B E M A D E A N D I F E X L N O I N S P I R A T I O N T O A ; T E R A N Y T H I N G F U R T H E R

or

THE EASE AND FREEDOM AND BEAUTY WITH WHICH THIS MACHINE WORKS IS TRULY WONDERFUL. EVERYTHING NOW SEEMS TO ME AS PERFECT AS IT CAN BE MADE AND I FEEL NO INSPIRATION TO ALTER ANYTHING FURTHER.

As with the Playfair cipher,

to get the final deciphered text from the raw decipher, replace X's with the previous letter. I also had to perform an extra shift for the 'L' in 'ALTER', as it was deciphered as ';'.

The plaintext is

Excerpts from an 1870 letter by Christopher Latham Sholes about his new typerwriter. It was some of the first text ever written on the QWERTY typerwriter.

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent work! I'll take a look at the L in ALTER. That may have been a coding mistake on my part. $\endgroup$ – Tony Youngblood Nov 9 '17 at 22:05

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