# A simple cipher with a single-word answer

Here is a puzzle I made about a year ago. The answer is a single word.

Transcription of the text in the image:

$$\text{rFfRaTsEfHeGtMbTrL}$$
$$\text{aTsEbTsHeGoHlFmTkB}$$
$$\text{oPsuUbPdMeGaTpuUeG}$$
$$\text{bTsDeGbTsDbTrLbPkB}$$
$$\text{rIeGgRbYeGsDuAvLeG}$$
$$\text{bTeGsEbPbDrIdMuE}$$

Good luck!

Hint 1:

The capitalization is an important clue.

Hint 2:

Line breaks can be ignored. You are first looking for a question consisting of 52 characters.

Hint 3:

Sometimes you need to go back and look at it from another perspective

Hint 4:

Remember chemistry class?

Hint 5:

Letters $$\to$$ Numbers $$\to$$ Phrase

• Is there a mistake in the 3rd line? That's the only place where capital and lower-case letters don't alternate exactly. – Rand al'Thor Mar 1 at 20:27
• @Randal'Thor It is not a mistake – DenverCoder1 Mar 1 at 20:29

After Hint 4, it seems we need to

convert the given letters into symbols for elements on the periodic table. Since this doesn't make sense when reading forwards, we go backwards instead.

The letters are then:

Eu Md Ir Db Pb Es Ge Tb
Ge Lv Au Ds Ge Yb Rg Ge Ir
Bk Pb Lr Tb Ds Tb Ge Ds Tb
Ge Uup Ta Ge Md Pb Uus Po
Bk Tm Fl Ho Ge Hs Tb Es Ta
Lr Tb Mt Ge Hf Es Ta Rf Fr

Next step:

convert them to their numbers in the periodic table:

63 101 77 105 82 99 32 65
32 116 79 110 32 70 111 32 77
97 82 103 65 110 65 32 110 65
32 115 73 32 101 82 117 84
97 69 114 67 32 108 65 99 73
103 65 109 32 72 99 73 104 87

The next step (thanks @user3574641) is to

convert these numbers using ASCII:

? e M i R c A
t O n F o M
a R g A n A n A
s I e R u T
a E r C l A c I
g A m H c I h W

i.e. "Which magical creature is an anagram of NOT A CRIME?"

to which the answer is (thanks @hagfy)

MANTICORE.

Feedback section

The puzzle was very well put together, with many different steps leading inexorably to the solution. However, I think the cluing of exactly what to do could have been done better. Hints 3 and 4 combined make it very clear what to do, and Hint 4 would probably be enough on its own, but the puzzle should be self-contained even without added hints. It would have been better to add a bit of flavour text with some subtle cluing in that direction, rather than posting the image without context and then adding spoilertagged hints later.

• The numbers seem to fit well into the ascii range and reading from the end, the first letters kind of make sense. Don’t have the time to do it completely now though. – tobiashellbusch Mar 3 at 15:44
• I follow the same steps... – Matías Rodríguez Mar 3 at 15:55
• What about a rot13(znagvpber)? – hagfy Mar 3 at 15:57
• I managed to get all the way to the numbers and then plotted them onto an alphabet, but did not even think about using ascii at all – Chris Oliver Mar 3 at 18:34
• @ChrisOliver Me too :-) Credit to user3574641 for the ASCII part. – Rand al'Thor Mar 3 at 19:49