# I have a puzzle and a solution… it's the method I'm after

The cipher message is:

J B A Z R X K Z N

T W K O Y E Z

T O N G L A N D

B R I D G E

How did I (or more accurately my father) arrive at the answer?

• First thing I noticed is ROT13(2 zber yrggref va pvcuregrkg guna va cynvagrkg. Guvf zrnaf ab punapr vg'f Pnrfne fuvsg be vgf znal inevnagf (yvxr Ivtrarer), fvapr nyy gubfr pvcuref qba'g punatr grkg yratgu). Otherwise, I'm drawing a blank. – Hakdo Nov 5 '18 at 1:32
• Is the mathematics tag an independent clue? – WAF Nov 5 '18 at 9:49
• I'd like to add either reverse-puzzling or puzzle-identification to this. @Nixy Do you know the answer to your own question? – Ian MacDonald Nov 5 '18 at 14:34
• The last clue was never solved. Apparently over the years various people contacted my father for further help and my dad even send a further clue out to someone in the same code to see if that would help, but it didn't. Apparently, even the army was asked about it! My dad just gave me the answer that was long sought after and asked me if I could work out how it was done. I couldn't and so joined stack exchange after googling about codes for a couple of hours. I tagged it the way I did simply because I didn't know better, sorry! I also don't know the answer, but if you can explain it to me... – Nixy Nov 5 '18 at 18:44
• Treasure hunt for a case of whisky organised in the 1980s by a squash club in Kirkcudbright -- is this related to this treasure hunt here? – M Oehm Nov 5 '18 at 19:13

I have not solved it, but I have noticed a pattern that may help future solvers. Or maybe it is just a dead end ?

Consider that the first letter of each line is a key, and then you solve letter by letter.

Then you have

(key=J) BAZRXKZN -> TONGLAND
(key=T) WKOYEZ -> BRIDGE

If we use a

Cesar's code, moving each letter to another one according to their place in the alphabet.

Then

The distances from the cipher to the solution are quite regular, around +14 in the first word and around +5 in the second word:

Indeed:

B->T : +18
A->O : +14
Z->N : +14
R->G : +15
X->L : +14
K->A:+16
Z->N : +14
N->D:+16

And:

W->B : +5
K->R : +7
O->I : +20 (?!)
Y->D : +5
E->G : +2
Z->E:+5

The irregularities I cannot explain.

• B->T should be +18 rather than +12 should it not? – Taazar Nov 5 '18 at 12:07
• The oscillation can be explained if it is not Cesar's but a keyword cipher. – elias Nov 5 '18 at 13:13