35
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ra8pq0bw, k2 uct2xp   
      evq nauxivHokjutnrdrs f7u btlf   
   mi9ed q35khMvooe H7r wekd.  
ooe cub6sp amiw wpket brub4.  
      v3avlby I7Yazplen p1yw  
   eqnwtfcx2t rdg xtieiwy rafee yTthf6dnrt2d awr iyes afhw  
dteutph aahyh ah nodlo bxfeOxph ov pznzx blympovhvf7 by lsiim  

i6zi4i8t. zc0gs  
      ge piU uCeSs fm jv3jfngz 3F9ftGyse  
   iem 4fm fsbr wbwfq4raoevqQ 0wlylyteqd0 rop ruh  
ta5oz zundelsxu Qfr9qaucK7, dlf cjlye3 byrz vxpok  
      So Jgwj2h Pma8o et gfaj zu6u ugy hbdwydm r2r  
   Fetko. na brx3tkb, feds cui  
ioa R6Zmcost q02j mxiv Ottdpdayv, lhhtaj  

rg eje cdi hsd tqamrd 3i5 ldk glyc.  
      skacppp0o ayi1eubhhnoqg euwma, nsqpe ddybnqe z2l g zrek eoz  
   tun atm pvrp2bxtirye fkpj  

tsab 7h7h7mggrt zrx ofol ehmbw  
      hu2 alfep, 6qqd z4z trks qdqs  
   epie0l mvd aqw 1iyv 56tecf  
nnuimlaxuf. cus evw rpl crto0rth rpcnhvg,  
      j3C yue y5epaC, f7m  

udqkzvv tqdy: seybx uc a62cyy8 ai6zw  
      m 7flsia aw3cm yuhsb9  
   PVbijr10  

Hint

Some great analysis has been done on the structure and possible cipher methods, but don't worry about trying to figure out the final state of the text, like whether it's a natural-language poem or whatnot. Just start at the beginning and you'll get there eventually.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Sometimes is funnier without clear instructions. And in this particular case I doubt nobody here heard of acrostic... ;) $\endgroup$ – kamenf Nov 2 '17 at 0:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Adib I wrote a guide to ciphers which includes the usual methods of decryption (frequency analysis, index of coincidence, etc...) and also has links to other posts on how to solve. That might help you :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 2 '17 at 7:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm with @kamenf: There's a huge difference between "Hi; here's this code I came across in an RPG chat. Can u help me plz?!" and a self-contained cipher puzzle. This is clearly the latter. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Nov 2 '17 at 12:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MOehm Definitelly. And at the end the important thing when you see a puzzle is if something in it triggers thoughts... no matter if it contains just a picture without any nice cover story. And... every puzzle starts with unwritten message "start thinking..." so whenever someone wonders "what to do"... do just that :D $\endgroup$ – kamenf Nov 2 '17 at 23:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Kudos to @MisterB for successfully showing that a puzzle which looks like complete gibberish and a negative example at first showing can in fact be beautifully challenging. I am floored. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Nov 3 '17 at 8:09
35
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What looks like a long encrypted is really a cipher puzzle with self-contained clues that take several stages to unravel.

The first step is ...

... to take the first letter in each line. (In comments, kamenf has hinted at acrostics.) This gives:

   Remove digits first, then jump.

The next step ...

... is to strip all numerals from the code. But what does "jump" mean? The title has a hint: 11.1% is one ninth. Jumping to every ninth letter of the message gives:

   Cut these letters, then Vigenere.
   The alphabet is "the alphabet is".
   The key is "the key is".

So the code ...

... was encrypted with a keyed Vigenère cipher. The key to the alphabet and the Vigenère key are helpfully provided. Decoding yields:

really, i gtwa
      kru cvxbrJmnbgnqspb jj yld
   jrtg fbMumat Ag kkc.
The beginning looks promising, but after that, it's just gibberish.

Okay, next attempt:

This is an "autokey" Vigenère cipher that uses the key only once and works with the plaintext after that. Decoding results in:

really, i give
      you congrAtulations on all
   your efForts So far.
you have done very well.
      these PUzzles are
   arguably not always easy eXercises but you have
deftly shown a great disPlay of your abilities to this
point. yet
      if yoU wISh to wholly FulFil
   all of the requiremenT expected out of
this puzzling JourneY, you must step back
      To Find What or who you are trying to
   Find. to begin, here is
the OBject of your Struggle, which
is to say the thing i ask for.
      without determining this, there cannot be a way for
   you to ultimately find
the answer you have come
      to seek, and so you must
   find the aim of this
challenge. so you are hereby tasked,
      iF you darE, to
answer this: tell us why have
      i made this cool
   PUzzle

The code has ...

... capital letters in unusual places. They are:

AFSPUXPUISFFTJYTFWFOBSFEPU
I didn't know what to do with them, but Irishpanda has given me a leg up in the comments: Caesar-shift one back and we get:

   Zero, two, three, six, seven are dot.

Now, take a step back:

The first step in our process was to remove the digits. Now we need them again. There's a number on each line:

    8022     262    5973     012       0
       7       7    2862       2     357
    9357    6480       3     777    6286
      64     339     602     264     739
     371    4400      35    0156      10
We're told that 0, 2, 3, 6 and 7 are dot. Surely that must mean that 1, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are dash — we've got a Morse code! Converting the digits as told gives:

−··· · −·−· ·− ··− ··· · ·−−· ··− −−·· −−··
·−·· · ··· ·− ·−· · ··· ··− ·−−· · ·−· ··−· ··− −·
This decodes to the final answer:

   Because puzzles are super fun!

Well, this one definitely is. :)

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Try taking all the capital letters as a string, then shifting the letters back one (or ahead 25). It gives a message, but not sure what to do with it. $\endgroup$ – Irishpanda Nov 2 '17 at 19:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Irishpanda: That's a great find. I know what to do -- I'll dash ... :) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Nov 2 '17 at 20:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh wow. I can’t even imagine the effort it took to construct a plaintext message so that even preserving word boundaries, you get an acrostic message IN THE CIPHERTEXT. Just, wow. $\endgroup$ – Bass Nov 2 '17 at 20:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bass Yeah, I would have liked it if it read a little more naturally as plaintext, but sacrifices had to be made. I considered putting in an "answer" to walk through the development process, since I had so much fun with it, but I don't think the puzzle was quite good enough to justify that. =-) $\endgroup$ – Mister B Nov 2 '17 at 21:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very impressive solution which justifies the inventor’s confidence that it was fair and solvable $\endgroup$ – Laska Nov 3 '17 at 1:21
4
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Partial Answer

Reading the first letters of each line gives:
remove digitS First then jumP

Doing the first part gives us

rapqbw, k uctxp
evq nauxivHokjutnrdrs fu btlf
mied qkhMvooe Hr wekd.
ooe cubsp amiw wpket brub.
vavlby IYazplen pyw
eqnwtfcxt rdg xtieiwy rafee yTthfdnrtd awr iyes afhw
dteutph aahyh ah nodlo bxfeOxph ov pznzx blympovhvf by lsiim
iziit. zcgs
ge piU uCeSs fm jvjfngz FftGyse
iem fm fsbr wbwfqraoevqQ wlylyteqd rop ruh
taoz zundelsxu QfrqaucK, dlf cjlye byrz vxpok
So Jgwjh Pmao et gfaj zuu ugy hbdwydm rr
Fetko. na brxtkb, feds cui
ioa RZmcost qj mxiv Ottdpdayv, lhhtaj
rg eje cdi hsd tqamrd i ldk glyc.
skacpppo ayieubhhnoqg euwma, nsqpe ddybnqe zl g zrek eoz
tun atm pvrpbxtirye fkpj
tsab hhmggrt zrx ofol ehmbw
hu alfep, qqd zz trks qdqs
epiel mvd aqw iyv tecf
nnuimlaxuf. cus evw rpl crtorth rpcnhvg,
jC yue yepaC, fm
udqkzvv tqdy: seybx uc acyy aizw
m flsia awcm yuhsb
PVbijr

Not sure how to use the second part, but

I've tried jumping every 9th letter with and without the spacing, but that hasn't given me anything useful.

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0
$\begingroup$

To start everyone off, here's some initial analysis (not even a partial answer, but way too long to fit in a comment):

The word lengths and typesetting suggest this might be a poem, encrypted letter by letter.

There are no repeated words, which is really uncommon for a natural language poem, so it stands to reason that there is no solution such that one letter is always substituted with the same replacement.

This is easily confirmed by letter frequency analysis; every lowercase letter is present at least 12 times, which simply doesn't happen in natural languages.

So either there is a key, or else we are faced with a cipher where some plaintext characters are replaced with two or more different ciphertext characters. The latter is only solvable by brute-force searching through all the possible combinations, which would be boring, so let's ignore that possibility. So a key it is then.

The title tells use we have a one-in-nine chance to solve this, and in addition to that, there are digits in the middle of the text. The numbers seem to rule out a regular Vigenère cipher with "ninth" as the keyword. The next simplest cipher to try would be a modified caesar cipher, or rot-N, where the interspersed digits change the N somehow; that is, the numbers are the key. This fits in well with the frequency analysis, since even the rarest lowercase letter occurs more often than the most frequent digit (11 times), which suggests that the numbers aren't a part of the ciphertext in the same way the letters are.

If the letter shift of the rot-N cipher always changed exactly to the number given, then the first word would end in "bw", so that seems unlikely. There may be another offset involved too, but this remains to be investigated.

The next step would be to assume a rot-N cipher, where every time a number is encountered, the N is increased (mod 26) by the number. This can be checked by ignoring the initial value of N (setting it to 0), and running the cipher "in reverse gear", that is, subtracting (mod 26) each number from the N when encountered. If the letter distribution suddenly starts to look like a natural language, then it becomes easy to figure out the initial value of N by assuming the poem is in English, and setting the initial value so that the most frequent letter becomes "E".

I'll try to find the time to continue on this tack later today, but by all means do use these ideas in your own answers if you want to.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just realised the rot-N-where-N-changes can be easily ruled out by checking a long bit of text without any digits in between; for example "xph ov pznzx blympovhvf" on line 7 won't translate into anything meaningful by shifting the letters by whichever amount. So new ideas are needed. $\endgroup$ – Bass Nov 2 '17 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ Nice effort, here! Since you put in some really good work, I added a hint to see if we can get you started! $\endgroup$ – Mister B Nov 2 '17 at 14:29

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