So, one of my friends is a teacher, and, for one of their recent assignments, one of the teacher's students turned in this:














What should my grade be?

The teacher has no idea what this could possibly mean. Do you?

Note: A couple rules.

  1. You don't need to brute-force the ciphers. Any keys or information required to decode them will be given. I will not accept an answer that has decoded a cipher with brute force.

  2. The answer is an answer to the question posed at the bottom of the paper. A correct solution will include every step of the way required to solve the puzzle. (This is a multi-step puzzle, if you can't tell.)

  3. Hints will be added every once in a while.

Hint #1:

There are two possible places you can start in.

Hint #2 (may require the solving of a puzzle to understand)

convert the + to what it means and try vigenere

also, convert any numbers you may have into words as well

Good luck!

  • $\begingroup$ Any keys or information required to decode them will be given.. do you mean you still have to give those things? $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2018 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @NaeemShaikh they will be revealed via another puzzle. $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2018 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Also I think if no-bruteforce is a rule, we will be needing some useful hints! $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2018 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ not everything is a cipher... $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2018 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ Another puzzle? Do you mean that this puzzle, as it currently stands, is not solvable? Naeem, there are a couple of things in the mysterious text that are somewhat more approachable than the random-looking letters. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 19, 2018 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


Partial Answer:


is the melody of the ABC song or Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars if you substitute 1=do, 2=re, 3=mi, etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice! I would have never gotten that. Maybe TWINKLETWINKLELITTLESTAR or ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ is the key to something else. $\endgroup$
    – user46002
    Oct 20, 2018 at 19:14

Since someone/something bumped this up after being untouched for a long time, a break-in (but also still a very partial answer):

The block starting with "6n1" and ending with "K5Q1" is FEN notation for a chess position. White to move in said position plays Qg6+ (because of ...Qxg6 f8N+)

Turning the + into "check" and the 6 into "six" creates "Qgsixcheck" - using this as a Vigenère cipher key on the first line yields "rearrange the key in descending scrabble value use abc order for ties" (spaces were inserted for easier reading)

Doing as such creates "QXKHCCGEIS" and using this as another Vigenère key on the third line creates "okay now use this after the other key to decrypt the next paragraphfancyalittlemusic?"

and I don't have an obvious continuation from here.


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