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Y dutew ofwetiapwotf wt peqgwtmeyvd.
March 27, 2008 12:00 AM   Subscribe

Y peqgwtmeyv od y peqgwtmeyguop ptfafieav of luopu owd yawute lokk dlowpu y dqvntk of y dweofm tx lteid xte yf yfyktmtad dqvntk, yfi qta vadw lter taw owd teomofyk dyqofm. Uodwteopykkq, Dgyewyf vokowyeq ptvvafopywotfd ioi kyq metafilter, te yw vofovav ypw yd yf ofowoyk dutlofm tx peqgwtmeyvd, yfi gtkowopyk yggkopywotfd nq Etvyfd ioi xtkktl. Ftl, y peqgwtmeyv od, xte vyfq, y gtgakye utnnq. Yf yggetypu wt y dtkawotf pyf waef taw nydop, dapu yd kttrofm xte dutew lteid, te ioxxopakw--peqgwyfykqdod, adofm cayfwowq tx ofiojoiayk dqvntkd te iomeygud. Getmeyvd pyf ykdt yddodw, ox y peqgwtmeyv weakq ptfxtafid qta. Y ltei tx lyefofm, wutamu--peqgwtmeyvd pyf eaf ag ymyofdw domfoxopyfw ptvgkopywotfd ox netamuw ag ymyofdw y kogtmeyv, luopu od y xtev tx lteigkyq of luopu y gyewopakye dqvntk od ktdw xetv y gyeymeygu tx leowofm. Te, ox y gyeymeygu od wtt voki, y nttr tx xoxwq wutadyfi lteid. (Y jykoyfw iodgkyq tx vydtpuodv.) Y dyvgkofm tx geote yew.
posted by Upton O'Good (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was never too fond of you either, but why do you have to say such things about my mother?
posted by Electrius at 12:05 AM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's the "translation" of the FPP, shrunken so as not to spoil it for anyone who'd like to work it out themselves. Just copy-paste into Notepad to read.

A cryptogram is a cryptographic conundrum in which its author will switch a symbol in a string of words for an analogous symbol, and you must work out its original saying. Historically, Spartan military communications did lay groundwork, or at minimum act as an initial showing of cryptograms, and political applications by Romans did follow. Now, a cryptogram is, for many, a popular hobby. An approach to a solution can turn out basic, such as looking for short words, or difficult--cryptanalysis, using quantity of individual symbols or digraphs. Programs can also assist, if a cryptogram truly confounds you. A word of warning, though--cryptograms can run up against significant complications if brought up against a lipogram, which is a form of wordplay in which a particular symbol is lost from a paragraph of writing. Or, if a paragraph is too mild, a book of fifty thousand words. (A valiant display of masochism.) A sampling of prior art.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:10 AM on March 27, 2008


Damnit! I did it also.

a cryptogram is a cryptographic conundrum in which its author will switch a symbol in a string of words for an analogous symbol, and you must work out its original saying. historically, spartan military communications did lay groundwork, or at minimum act as an initial showing of cryptograms, and political applications by romans did follow. now, a cryptogram is, for many, a popular hobby. an approach to a solution can turn out basic, such as looking for short words, or difficult--cryptanalysis, using quantity of individual symbols or digraphs. programs can also assist, if a cryptogram truly confounds you. a word of warning, though--cryptograms can run up against significant complications if brought up against a lipogram, which is a form of wordplay in which a particular symbol is lost from a paragraph of writing. or, if a aragraph is too mild, a book of fifty thousand words. (a valiant display of masochism.) a sampling of prior art.

posted by mrzarquon at 12:13 AM on March 27, 2008


For those looking for a hint, use the first link as a decoder (in many ways).
posted by mrzarquon at 12:14 AM on March 27, 2008


YNPI-XMUO-RKVFTGCEDWAJL-Q-
posted by Krrrlson at 12:16 AM on March 27, 2008


That was fun, Upton. I guess it shows what a cryptogramic neophyte I am that I didn't even realize the very clever trick you played with this one until I had worked the whole puzzle out. If I'd started my substitutions with the wrong letter, I probably never would have worked it out. As it happens, I started with A, then N, and moved on from there, never even realizing the little game you were playing until I had completely solved it (and only upon realizing there was something oddly stilted about the language).
posted by jackbrown at 12:42 AM on March 27, 2008


would this not still have worked with a [more inside]?
posted by dawson at 12:53 AM on March 27, 2008


Yey. This is awesome upton. Thanks.
posted by phyrewerx at 12:53 AM on March 27, 2008


There is, by the way, a reason for the slightly awkward wording in the post.

Thoroughly excellent, sir.
posted by Malor at 1:20 AM on March 27, 2008


Well played, sir. Once I realized that "elephants" = "pissing" I was on my way.
posted by maxwelton at 1:21 AM on March 27, 2008


Nice, um... "double".
posted by rokusan at 1:30 AM on March 27, 2008


Does this mean I can read welsh now?
posted by srboisvert at 1:56 AM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is a puzzle but it's not the best of the web.
posted by rdr at 2:00 AM on March 27, 2008


Title = A short history of cryptograms.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:11 AM on March 27, 2008


Sorry, title = a short introduction to cryptograms.
I should have cut and pasted.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:12 AM on March 27, 2008


Cool and clever.

I wrote a cryptogram helper in perl once; I could look occupied at a UNIX prompt for a long time.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:55 AM on March 27, 2008


I just assumed this was written in Welsh.
posted by availablelight at 5:22 AM on March 27, 2008


Three stars (Proceed at your own risk)
posted by Spatch at 5:31 AM on March 27, 2008


Double!
posted by Plutor at 5:40 AM on March 27, 2008


Another lipogrammatic novel that I highly recommend is Georges Perec's La Disparation, or at least Gilbert Adair's translation of it, A Void. From what I understand, the "e"-less lipogram is slightly harder in French than in English. In addition to lacking the letter "e", it is also about the fact that it has the letter "e", or at least about how one man figured out that the letter had gone missing. Adair's translation is fairly loose from my understanding, at least in the section in which the protagonists discover several famous works of verse that have been rewritten without the letter "e". In the original, they were famous French poems, but in Adair's translation, they have been replaced by equivalently famous works in English, including an astonishing poem titled "Black Bird" (Quoth that black bird: Not again.)

My favorite piece of "e"-less lipogrammar is songstowearpansto.com's rap A Rap Song in Which None of the Lyrics Contain the Letter E, where the request was to create a song without the letter "e" in it. He comes extremely close to succeeding. Listen carefully and see if you can find the one word that still has the letter "e" in it.

I also highly recommend Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea, a novel told through the correspondences of people in a very small nation that is slowly going insane, banning certain letters of the alphabet one by one. Of course, since it's told through the denizens' writings, the work gets increasingly lipogrammatic (except for the writings of criminals, of course), until the letters implied by homophone in the title are all that remain. Funny and bizarrely relevant (in the way that Flatland or Gulliver's Travels were relevant).
posted by ErWenn at 5:44 AM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think it's a series of univocalics rather than a lipogram (a distinction which I only learned from reading a link in this post), but Christian Bok's (umlaut omitted, reason: sloth) Eunoia made everyone else who works with this sort of wordplay look kind of lazy (note for linked version: click the page to turn it). Chapters for each vowel use only that vowel and exhaust ninety-eight percent of the available vocabulary. Plus it kind of makes sense...and he doesn't leave out the letter Y.

If you gamble the stamp and listen to that 30-second mp3 link, you will be happy happy happy...especially when you read the actual poem here.
posted by sixswitch at 5:52 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I was in grade school and started programming I wrote "Kryptos" to decrypt messages. It actually got a little advanced as I moved from QBasic to True Basic and finally Visual Basic in my 20s. I can't even find it now though. It's nice to see and try out other (better!) programs out there. I remember saving my allowance for months to buy Code Breakers and the Puzzle Palace. Might have to take another crack at Kryptos one of these days... maybe in R. Great post - thank you.
posted by jwells at 5:58 AM on March 27, 2008


qoteedy. qokaiin. shedy. chol. shedy. shcthey. qokeedy. oteedy. cham
posted by Wolfdog at 6:23 AM on March 27, 2008


METAFILTER: laying the GROUNDWORK for spartan military cryptograms.

I'm glad i figured it out before reading the comments, Rhaomi, because your shrunken text is perfectly legible in my obsolete browser.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 8:01 AM on March 27, 2008


Well, geote yew too.
posted by dhartung at 8:12 AM on March 27, 2008


Ebvbvnbe wt ieofr qtae Tjykwofb
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 8:24 AM on March 27, 2008


Yeah, good luck searching for this post in two years.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:30 AM on March 27, 2008


The secret message is SQUEAMISH OSSIFRAGE.
posted by leapfrog at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2008


Oh. Cryptograms.

I thought this was a post about Welsh...
posted by Samizdata at 10:00 AM on March 27, 2008


Upon posting, Samizdata swiftly realizes he needs to actually look at the posts during preview...
posted by Samizdata at 10:01 AM on March 27, 2008


@Malor: There is, by the way, a reason for the slightly awkward wording in the post.

red herrings?
letter frequency?

i never did get the "Awesome" of these things.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:53 PM on March 27, 2008


Count me in as another, "Aw damn, I have to learn Welsh now?" eedjit.

Nice post though. Very clever.
posted by angeline at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2008


BESURETODRINKYOUROVALTI... Son of a bitch!
posted by AstroGuy at 9:12 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


sixswitch, you can feel free to call a univocalic text like Eunoia (which is awesome, but only barely makes sense) a lipogram. It's just a special case.
posted by ErWenn at 9:39 PM on March 27, 2008


Maybe I'm just not a true nerd, but I find this kind of post aggressively annoying.
posted by tehloki at 11:07 AM on March 28, 2008


Annoying and cool at the same time. Come on Tehloki, favorite it anyway. You know you want to. It's been two and a half hours since you favorited anything. I know you're jonesing to hit that +, come on, hit the +, it'll feel sooooo gooooood.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:09 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's just that I'll come upon it and I'll be thinking "Man, that's fucked up, I can't read that post for shit. Did I take acid or something? I don't remember doing anything like that. Oh man what if somebody dosed me or something? Shit, man, what's going on AAAHHHH it's encryption aw man that had me hell of worked up."
posted by tehloki at 1:41 PM on March 29, 2008


Yeah, I sympathize. I hate when there is a flash video site depicting blurry text. Especially since detached retinas and diabetic retinopathy are real concerns for me.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:56 AM on March 30, 2008


ArgentCorvid: it should be safe to post the spoiler now. Hopefully you'll check back.

Most of the time, when solving a letter substitution, you count letter frequencies. One of the most common tricks is then looking for three-letter words that start with one of the top two or three, and end with a different one of the top two or three. That's very, very frequently "the"... and once you get T and E, usually it doesn't take very long to break a cipher.

Upton was clever in this one, and wrote a plaintext with no Es in it, so the easy trick doesn't work. It slowed me down quite a bit. That's why the wording is awkward.... avoiding the most common letter in English isn't easy!
posted by Malor at 11:15 AM on April 3, 2008


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