9
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This note was found at the scene of a Parisian artists loft in the 1960's.
Sadly, he committed suicide the day before his first major exhibition.

Can anyone decrypt his final written words? (It is believed to be a poem - written in English)

Dreams Cipher

Good luck 😃

Hint 1:

The numbers 129 & 36 may be useful to finding the solution.

As requested, see below transcription.

352430273121
161414242718
292128163124
183631271829
212816273629
303631293616
212318243229
26836263329
272336182714
352114252126
26241431304

352430273121
161414242718
292128163124
18835292627
182921281633
243036312936
162123211818
292631293027
31182422926
83614351626
248
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1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Definitely not written by a Parisian artist. French people don't write their 1s like that :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 10, 2017 at 15:26

1 Answer 1

4
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Ciphertext:

Hold fast to dreams / For if dreams die / Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams / For when dreams go / Life is a barren field / Frozen with snow.
(Langston Hughes, Dreams)

Cipher:

A numerical substitution that uses two-digit groups for most letters, with the exception of WXYZ which each use a single digit. The substitution is derived from a 4x10 grid in which the letters of the alphabet were written in order along a path, skipping over every other grid cell.

Alphabet construction:

Alphabet grid substitution and its construction

Solve path:

I recognized a two-digit substitution from experience. I found the single digits that broke up the two-digit rhythm and inserted 1 before each of them. I replaced each unique two-digit group with a placeholder letter, and used the substitution solver Quipqiup on the placeholder text to obtain the deciphered plaintext. With a mostly-correct plaintext in hand, I worked out the substitution key and the true nature of the single digits that broke the rhythm.

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1
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    $\begingroup$ Brilliant! Your answer is absolutely correct. Thanks for solving. I often wondered if someone would find it. Well done! $\endgroup$
    – Hitchmo
    Feb 27, 2023 at 0:41

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