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Off-Topic: Cold War Spy Pocket Manual Cipher Challenge

National Cipher Challenge 2019 Forums National Cipher Challenge 2019: Countdown to Catastrophe Off-Topic: Cold War Spy Pocket Manual Cipher Challenge

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  • #44608
    _straylight_
    Member

    Hi,

    although I am aware that this is off-topic, I would like to place a question that is related to a different cipher challenge some of you might already have come across – or might be interested in besides this great challenge here.

    I am talking about the cipher contest that is part of the book “Cold War Spy Pocket Manual”, which can be found in google books under this link

    Over the last few weeks, I managed to decrypt most of the ciphers but I am still failing on no. 9 and no. 16.
    No. 16 reads as follows:
    "We are interested in the following six facts about flags (read left to right, top to bottom): Whether there is any red on the flag?, Whether there is at least one star on the flag (including the sun)?, Whether the flag uses exactly three colours?, Whether the Flag is for a European entity (including European dependencies)?, Whether there is any yellow on the flag, and for the purposes of this, a dark gold is not yellow?, and Whether the flag is that of an entity which is not a member state of the United Nations? - Burkina Faso, Andorra, Nauru, Switzerland, Sudan, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Panama, Belgium, Marshall Islands, Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Spain, Romania, Brunei Darussalam, Afghanistan, Uruguay, Canada, Argentina, Cameroon, The Azores"

    Does someone (maybe even Harry himself) have an idea what kind of cipher this might be?
    (If you are interested in the solutions of other parts, please let me know, I will happily share it. Since there is no contest behind that challenge, I think this would be OK.)

    Kind regards from Germany
    Markus

    #44609
    Madness
    Member

    Sounds like some kind of 6-bit binary code. If you do the grunt work (i.e., look up each of the flags and answer the questions for each), then I will be happy to think more about it. To save you some time, I already know Switzerland = YNNYNN, Canada = YNNNNN, Belgium = YNYYYN.

    #44636
    _straylight_
    Member

    Oh, yes, that sounds reasonable! Shame on me, my approach was just too formal and I considered the list of countries part of the last question. Let’s See what I can make out of that…

    #44641
    _straylight_
    Member

    But wait, there’s one more unsolved cipher.
    It’s no. 26 from the challenge mentioned above:
    [email protected] M^QGQ T_^W_ [email protected] WO]]G KH[KM PI\\BX [ATZU JMGG[ NIR^Q LGZXG IUCBU FEXGF IYOGW JG\\@C [email protected] LKCAS [email protected]\\Q FIGGW IFZ[V G^AJA SYP]Z GZ\\\\S KB\\O\\ [email protected]\\] ADT\\P QCGIQ UEYB] CAXKX TEYBQ KZTG_ WGZZ[ EYGGP eMD[] LC}EZ M[[OG VC^W[ PCFK} EIZ\\S GGZXU NFZFZ CBAF[ LUBOX IIGGX KMOLU XHTGS M^RAA XI[E[ JIGCU LBROF VVGOX RDXMS GDPKS GCGIQ @@TEQ

    Any ideas what kind of cipher this might be?

    #44639
    _straylight_
    Member

    Madness’ idea was absolutely right. Answering the questions for all the named countries/flags produced the following code:
    111010 100110 011010 100100 100000 011010 100000 111000 101110 011000 100100 110110 110100 011101 100110 101110 100010 100000 011010 100000 011010 111010 110111
    Interpreting this as Braille reveals the actual plain text:
    POSE AS A FRIEND WORK AS A SPY

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    #44649
    Epicgeeth
    Member

    Braille? I hope Harry doesn’t get any ideas from this…

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