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I am part of a group called Rising Heroes. It's a program through the group Nerd Fitness that is basically one large roleplaying game to get fit.

Part of the structure of the program is weekly "missions" which you complete to gain yourself, and your team, points.

This time, they gave us a choice of three mission types, "Brawn", "Brains", and "Charm." I chose the "Brains" option, opting for a puzzle.

They gave us two puzzles. The first puzzle was a pretty simple "Pick the Odd Number Out" that most of us are pretty sure we got right off. (I certainly did not, unfortunately.) The second puzzle... Not so much.

While I've submitted and cannot change my thoughts on the puzzle, my answer was not correct. I used a simple method of "Try unscrambling words" when I failed to figure out what kind of code was used. How could I have figured out what this puzzle truly was supposed to be?

In case the first puzzle was a clue that leads to the second, I'll post the text of both, but I only want to figure out how to solve puzzle two.

Over the course of this week, Hero, your mission is as follows:

Complete the two puzzles below.

Note: This is designed to be a test of your ability. I encourage you
not to discuss your answer with other Rebels. Out in the field, you
may not be able to use your phone a friend lifeline, and we want to
see how you do on your own.

If you can’t figure out the answer, that is okay. Attempting the puzzles will still allow you to gain Influence.

Puzzle 1: Which number is the odd one out?
571219
461016
831114
461016
971613
781523

Enter your answer in the Mission Complete box before marking this
mission complete.

Puzzle 2: What is the coded message below?

TAFS IGHD ALGH ELIT NTXI MEEE

Enter your answer in the Mission Complete box before marking this
mission complete.

I did try unscrambling this myself, but given this is a fitness site, the only meaningful message I've gotten made zero sense for the site:

SEND EMAI LTEX TFIL EGET HIGH

We were given the correct answers after the week was up, though I'm still unsure how I could have found the answer myself. The answers were:

Puzzle 1: 971613
Puzzle 2: "THE EAGLE FLIES AT MIDNIGHT X"

How could I have solved this myself? The character at the end of Puzzle 2 indicates to me it might have been a filler character, but that didn't help me at all. As far as I'm aware, there was still little indication of what kind of cipher/code this was.

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  • $\begingroup$ Puzzle 2 might be a polyalphabetic or a polynomial cipher. $\endgroup$ – North Apr 5 '18 at 0:04
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    $\begingroup$ I thought it might be an anagram, especially since the three letters MIX are next to each other (backwards), but I couldn't get any message more meaningful than MIX ALL THE EIGHTEEN DIG FATS. I'm leaving this up in case the idea is more helpful to someone else $\endgroup$ – b a Apr 5 '18 at 10:57
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    $\begingroup$ Since it came in regular groups of 4, my first thought was filling the text into a rectangular grid, but no luck there. Also no luck trying to solve as a substitution cipher. $\endgroup$ – Selvek Apr 5 '18 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure if I'm missing something here, but the Puzzle 2 text is just a straight anagram of "THE EAGLE FLIES AT MIDNIGHT X"? $\endgroup$ – Mohirl Apr 9 '18 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ @MickO'Hea That might well be the case. I have no idea if there was another way to get to that result. If it was a straight anagram, then it was probably not the best puzzle- I've seen at least seven other possibilities, some of which fit just as perfectly as the actual puzzle answer. (If that does end up being the case, I'll be removing this question- At that point, there's really nothing of value to this question.) At the moment, I'm really hoping there's something that could have been done to figure this guy out. $\endgroup$ – Kendra Apr 9 '18 at 18:40
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Here's what I could find:

If you group the letters

Six by six

And then

Reverse every other line

You get:

TAFSIG
HGLADH
ELITNT
EEEMIX

Where you can find the finalmessage by

Reading across the columns

That said, I could only find this because I knew the final solution I was looking for, the only other hint was

The length of the solution of the previous puzzle, which made me try splitting the cyphertext in groups of 6. Maybe the number also hints at what to do with these groups, but I'm not sure about that.

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