12:01 AM
@LukasRotter :
0

The user Lukas Rotter has an intriguing profile picture: This looks like it's some kind of encrypted message! And just to confirm my suspicions, on his profile he says: By the way, my profile picture is also a little puzzle. You'll get +0 reputation if you solve it! Now I'm a generous so...

:-)

12:18 AM
@Randal'Thor Nice! Got solved pretty quickly, as expected. I got inspired by this video btw.

I did something similar is my last puzzle @LukasRotter

5 hours later…
5:34 AM
@Emrakul @GentlePurpleRain @Deusovi Shouldn't this question be reopened as sandbox is no longer necessary?
5

Currently being sandboxed, sorry. This riddle follows the same format as my previous puzzle I am three, but which one am I?. In this puzzle each clue has an answer, all of which share the same name. You must find something which answers all five clues and then use the final clue to work out whi...

6:13 AM
@Randal'Thor Nice idea for a puzzle. And Nice idea for an avatar, @LukasRotter! High time I made myself a real avatar -- I might just make myself a puzzling one if I can think of one which will still work as a distinctive avatar when shown tiny.

1 hour later…
7:29 AM
0

According to this meta post Okay, the sandbox didn't work. We still have a quality problem; let's figure out how to address it, As of today, the riddle sandbox is no longer mandatory. The close reason related to it has been deactivated, and the requirement has been removed from the sandbox te...

1 hour later…
8:30 AM
First , then . What's next, ?!

just

James R. Prefix finding about the new fortnightly challenge

Someone solved my puzzle :( I mean :) Now my life has no meaning anymore.

It was a good puzzle. Please feed us more.

I have a concept in mind. But it will require some planning on my part to get it actually to work.

2 hours later…
10:16 AM
@AJ I agree that that question should be reopened (and the answers to it undeleted). I've voted to reopen, for what it's worth. (Full disclosure: one of the currently-deleted answers to the question is from me and solves the puzzle.)
... Actually, do I agree? I'm not sure. It was on +3-3 in the sandbox and showed no obvious signs of being on a trajectory that would have qualified it for posting under the sandbox rules. But, well, if the person who posted it just posted it again there would be no particular grounds for deleting it.

@GarethMcCaughan The reason for closing it is obsolete now. So it must be reopened, and let community decide.

Should we then post (as questions) all the riddles whose authors correctly put them in the sandbox rather than posting them as questions? That seems like an obviously bad idea -- but then the consequence is that riddles treated "correctly" don't get seen while riddles treated "wrongly" do, which is a bit unsatisfactory.

@GarethMcCaughan I think that users posting their riddles in the sandbox now just need a feedback before posting on the main site. Also, we can't decide anymore if a riddle should be posted on the main site or not. Any user willing to post a riddle on the main site can, but he exposed himself to the wrath of the community (DVs, flags).
(Hello, by the way :). My mom always told me to be polite :p)

11:18 AM
Hi. Your mom is (or was, in which case my condolences) clearly nice or wise or both. My concern wasn't so much about people posting to the sandbox now as about people who did, or didn't, post there before while the sandbox-first rule was active. It seems like a bad idea to "reward" the ones who broke the rules.
Incidentally, should I be able to figure out what/where PLS is? :-)

I don't think any of them intentionally broke the rules

@GarethMcCaughan I think I am missing something. How are they "rewarded"? (theo ones breaking the rules)
@GarethMcCaughan Oh, haha. It's a French/English mix: I guess you can catch "I am in", and PLS refers to this : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_position. In French, it is called Position Latérale de Sécurité, hence PLS. It's a common joke here (in France, maybe it's relevant elsewhere) to say "I am in PLS" when something is "killing" you (not literally, obviously).
Also, my profile picture is a quite known meme : reddit.com/r/facepalm/comments/3y7stx/healthism

11:38 AM
@Randal'Thor Dang, now that I gained around +150 views on my profile because of this puzzle, I realize I should've finished my website/projects way earlier... Would've been a great opportunity to advertise :P
@RosieF Tahnks! I also really like this method since everyone would have an unique profile picture.

@AJ Done. As a note to everyone, if you need to draw the mods' attention to a post, the best way to do so is to flag it, rather than pinging all of us in chat.

@GentlePurpleRain Thank you. Though I don't know how to flag the post for reopening.

@AJ There is a "flag" link below every post. If there's no appropriate flag reason that matches, just flag it as "needs moderator attention" and then explain that it needs reopening.

@GentlePurpleRain Deusovi's comments in the answers are obsolete now. Please remove them as well. I can flag them, but thought when you are here, I should notify you.

11:55 AM
@IAmInPLS, "rewarded" by having the riddle they wrote and wanted to be posted on Puzzling actually posted on Puzzling, rather than languishing in the sandbox.

@GentlePurpleRain Thanks again.

To clarify: it's a few weeks ago when the sandbox rule was in place. Bad Bertha comes up with a riddle and posts it to the main site. It's put on hold for not being sandboxed and a copy posted in the sandbox. Good Gerhard comes up with a riddle and posts it in the sandbox. Neither of them finds much favour with sandbox readers. [...continues]

@GarethMcCaughan Oh, ok.

So then the sandbox rule is retracted and everything that was put on hold for not being sandboxed gets reopened. And now all the riddles posted by Bad Berthas are there, and all the riddles posted by Good Gerhards are still languishing in the sandbox.
And that seems like an unsatisfactory outcome somehow.
AJ, yup, I see it.

I understand what you mean now. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do, right?

12:00 PM
nope
there's no really good outcome
but also no particularly bad one
so I wouldn't worry much about it

Now, the problem is that I think people won't take the time to post their riddles in the sandbox (since it is not mandatory anymore). Well, regular users will do (hopefully), but newcomers won't.

12:18 PM
Would it be sensible to introdcue the tags [tag:Word™] and [tag:Phrase™]? Currently almost 2% of questions are of this type. And it seems like it's still pretty popular.

yes. I think the sandbox did some good while it was there, for all its problems.
I don't think we would want two separate tags for the Word/Phrase puzzles.

Or, if ™ isn't allowed in tags, (and per Gareth's suggestion)

Plus, there is already a tag .

It also feels like the sort of thing that's likely to be popular for a while and then run its course (not because there's anything wrong with it, I hasten to add).
it seems rather specific to have its own tag

Agree with @Gareth

12:21 PM
@GarethMcCaughan Well, there are over 100 puzzles that would fit this tag, some of the tags on the first page of tags don't even have so many questions.

Personally I wouldn't make a tag for those since it would fit that and that alone, you can't really have variations on it

There are a lot of other questions not associated with ™

Nevermind, completely forget what I said :P
Trusted the search a little bit too much.

Huh, I notice that @Gareth gets identified as me. Does this work for arbitrary prefixes? Arbitrary unique prefixes?
If I type @Luk does this get seen as meaning Lukas R.?

12:23 PM
Yes :D

What if I type @L ?

Luk works, the other ones don't

Interesting. So is that a character limit (must have >=3) or uniqueness? When I start typing @L Lukas's is the only handle I get offered but surely there must be other p.s.c users whose names begin with L (I guess it's offering completions from recent writers here or something).

I think as long as the letter involved can be uniquely linked to one person it'll work. So if someone called themselves Lukas Potter on here you would need more to tag

Is it possible that Luk is a unique prefix across psc users and Lu isn't?

12:26 PM
Quite possible I'd think

Using the search facility on the users page it seems like there are a bunch of other Luk... users.
but most of them have 0 rep
(maybe they're actually only on other SE sites)

@GarethMcCaughan Yeah, I think it's only across people who joined this chat

oops, no, 0 rep this week which is uninteresting. Lots of Luk... with nonzero Puzzling rep
so it might be uniqueness across current or recent chat participants

@GarethMcCaughan It's only people in chat, search users for luk and you'll see what I mean.

Can't be only current. If I start typing @A I get offered eight completions and unless I'm misunderstanding the UI there are only 7 people deemed to be present in The Sphinx's Lair right now.

12:28 PM
This room apparently has 155 all-time users, so it seems reasonable that Luk is a unique prefix

Ah, yeah, might be uniqueness across people who have ever used this room.

Probably unique prefix to all-time users in this chat

anyway, sorry, this is a total red herring and I apologize

@Randal'Thor Hello!

@GarethMcCaughan Someone who wanted to post their riddle on the main site and was instead forced to go through the sandbox (back when it was mandatory) is quite different from someone who chose to post it in the sandbox first so as to get feedback. See also my latest meta answer.

12:33 PM
@Randal'Thor You should look at my comment on that post, Modhammer still works :P

@GentlePurpleRain I did that (raised a custom mod flag) last time I found a sandbox-closed riddle that needed reopening. Deusovi responded to the flag and reopened the question, but then my flag was declined :-(
@LukasRotter But they're basically questions, right? The ™ thing is just a gimmick, and doesn't describe the actual puzzle type.
Although ... there is a quite specific puzzle type there: "here's a bunch of words/phrases satisfying some criterion, and a bunch that don't - find the criterion". Are there any puzzles of that type which don't use the ™ gimmick? If not, I could support setting up a tag to find them easily.
@GarethMcCaughan It's already been going for more than a year (about half the lifetime of the site) and shown no sign of running its course yet.
@GarethMcCaughan Yes, 3 letters is enough for a chat-ping, so @Gar works but @Ga doesn't. And the only people pingable here are those who've recently (within 1 week? 2 weeks?) been in the room. Unless you're a mod, in which case you can superping anyone from any SE site into any room.
@IAmInPLS Hello! (Sorry for the late response, just been catching up with everything in here.)

No problem! It's good to see you answer all the problems addressed here before you came.

Strange. I flagged the answers to that sandbox-closed riddle for undeletion, and @GentlePurpleRain undeleted them but the flags are still pending.

12:48 PM
hmm, do we have a tag for 'you probably want a computer to solve this, but it's not actually required?'

Well, isn't that the case for every ? You can theoretically brute force everything with a pen and paper :P

hmm, computer-puzzle seems to imply you need a computer to perform the tasks...
I'm more worried that, when doing it by hand, one might mistake a character that seems unimportant, but garbles future steps
eh, I'll just put a note on it
I hope that it's fun

It's more fun to do a computer puzzle by hand :P

1:04 PM
@dcfyj You still used a computer program to visualize it, though :P The real deal is to do it with pen & paper and an unreadable hand writing and post a low-res screenshot of your work as an answer!
2

@Sconibulus Fezzik is Turkish?
I thought he was French (maybe because of the name Andre).

@Randal'Thor Grenoble, Isère, France is his hometown, he's French

But the question calls him a Turkish wrestler.
Is this a clue?

@Randal'Thor Judging by what I see here, he was a French wrestler, so... possibly a clue?

@dcfyj I mean the character though, not the actor.

1:16 PM
Fezzik was a Turkish wrestling giant in the books

Ah ok

Andre the Giant was french I believe

@Sconibulus Yes, he was

Very French :P

He was 1.90m tall at 12 years old....

1:17 PM
Giantism does that to people

1:52 PM
whee! People seem to be having fun :)

@dcfyj I often find it fun, designing and writing a computer program to do something puzzly.

@Randal'Thor I initially undeleted the answers when I re-opened the question, and didn't see your flags until after.

2:23 PM
@RosieF I've done the same on multiple occasions, I just didn't see the need to do it at that particular time. ^^

2:57 PM
Hmm, Gareth McCaughan seems especially good at my puzzles
The only one he didn't get the check for, he got instantly in the sandbox and helped me improve

Just got my 200th bronze badge :-D

oooh, nice, what for?

@Sconibulus He seems good at every puzzle!

Popular Question, for the question about @LukasRotter's profile.
@IAmInPLS He's got the accepted answer for two of my last four puzzles too.

I would've made it harder if I had known that someone would actually post this as a (popular) question :P

3:02 PM
@Randal'Thor And let's not forget that he doesn't need to ask question to earn reputation!

of my 15 questions he's not gotten the check for a one. He just doesn't answer mine apparently :P

@IAmInPLS Answers have always been where it's at for rep. Still, I'd like to see @Gareth posting some puzzles as well as solving them - let's see what's going on in the creative part of his brain too! :-)
I've almost hit the repcap today just out of upvotes on questions, but that's extremely rare - don't think I've ever done it before.

@Randal'Thor I don't know, he's been pretty creative with his answers too :P

@Randal'Thor Man, I hope he's working on a puzzle for the seven months he's been on this site.

@dcfyj Sure, but that's a different kind of creativity.

3:08 PM
Didn't say it wasn't :P
Only reason I post rather than solve usually is because I'm either: A) Unable to solve or B) Unable to solve it fast enough.

I've posted more answers than questions, but most of my highest-voted posts have been questions.
And four of my five highest-voted answers took almost zero effort.

Sadly my questions don't typically get a huge amount of attention. The majority of them never make it 20 votes or 2k views.
As for my answers all but 1 have never made it above 10 votes, and I've only managed to ever get one check :(
People don't like me I guess haha

@dcfyj The trick to getting highly-voted answers often - not always, but often - comes down to speed.

Which I typically lack, I hate being timed...

I don't think I've had a 10 vote question yet, but I've only had 3, and one is <3 hours old
I've gotten a 20 answer though

3:16 PM

@dcfyj Hello hello HNQ.
The voting system on SE is such a lottery sometimes.

I was hoping a Princess Bride reference would become HNQ, but no such luck

@Sconibulus It is HNQ!
Wow, #10 on HNQ. Not bad.

oh, cool, it wasn't on my last page refresh :)

And this question of mine is also on HNQ:
29

The Princess Bride can refer to: a novel by William Goldman; the 1987 film adaptation of this novel. I've seen the film but not read the novel (shame on me), so I'm curious as to what differences there are in the plot, the characters, etc. between the two versions of the story. What are the ...

3:19 PM
(Disclaimer: Anecdotal evidence, might be complete nonsense) I noticed (across the whole SE network) that when I include images, they usually get more upvotes. Probably because people are too lazy to read, but when they see an image they're like "Good answer/question"

Gosh. I step away from the Sphinx's Lair for a few minutes and come back to find everyone talking about how awesome I am. That's embarrassing. Anyway, I'm afraid I have no skill in setting puzzles (though whether that's inability or inexperience I don't know) and am not working on setting any right now.
2

@LukasRotter I guess people like images - even when they are crap ones like my devil-cat-cow :D

Don't worry @GarethMcCaughan, I suck at it too, but I've managed to scrounge together a few puzzle. I'm sure you could do it too. :)

@LukasRotter Yeah. Simple stuff can also get more upvotes, because people see the question, think "hey, I can answer that", go to post an answer, find someone else has already done it (really fast, because it was so simple), upvote the answer and probably the question too. That happens a few times and it ends up on HNQs.

@dcfyj, wasn't there one of your puzzles that I came rather close to getting and fell at the last hurdle because the answer was your name and I didn't notice it was anything other than a collection of random letters? Or am I mixing you up with someone else?
It sometimes seems like votes for a question are inversely correlated with the actual quality of the question, because of the mechanism Rand just mentioned.

3:24 PM
@GarethMcCaughan Yup, but I think that's the only one of mine you've touched.

Sorry!

But there was also this Brent Hackers question that gave you the same issue.

The example I always cite is What is a Knickerbocker Glory?, which ended up as a HNQ on SFF (yes, SFF, not Cooking SE!).

Yeah, I'm not a fan of questions whose answer is the questioner's name. I gave Brent Hackers a bit of grief about that one for a while after it happened.

I didn't even know that's what his question was at the time, I remembered seeing it, but I didn't pursue it any further.

3:27 PM
@GarethMcCaughan What about when the answer is someone else's name (not the questioner's)? Like my "moderate visual number puzzle", or the one about Lukas Rotter's profile.

Or any of the multitudes of puzzles that relate to historical figures?

Heh. Well, that's different. SE usernames can change any time, but historical figures won't be changing their names until we've mastered time travel.

I don't at all mind questions whose answer is someone's name. I just find questions where Joe Schmoe makes you do a lot of work to arrive at the answer "Joe Schmoe" kinda self-indulgent. Of course there is absolutely no reason why anyone else should care what I find kinda self-indulgent.

I guess I also find it a bit annoying when the question being asked is "Who am I?" and the answer turns out to be the same as the entirely non-puzzly answer to "Who am I?". But that's just a stupid personality quirk on my part; someone with a slightly different brain could perfectly well find it hilarious instead.

3:33 PM
It's not exactly something I'd be repeating (once is enough), but I think it's a fairly clever thing to do.

I just VTCed, on the assumption that there's nothing more to it than meets the eye (and that the original tag was in error).

@Randal'Thor, it has the look of a maths problem that is (1) trivial except that it's (2) also missing a key bit of information. But it's always possible that the questioner has something really subtle in mind, hence the enigmatic-puzzle tag.

@Gareth If you don't like this puzzle because the final solution is the OP's name, then I will be disappointed in you :-)

@GarethMcCaughan * mentally discards an idea she was working on for an avatar *

No, I don't like that puzzle because it's way too hard for me :-).
@RosieF, just in case you meant that at all seriously let me repeat that there's no reason why anyone else should care about my personal taste in puzzles.

3:37 PM
Both of you need proper avatars :-)

(also, a puzzly avatar whose solution leads to your username would be kinda awesome and not at all subject to my silly objections anyway)

@Randal'Thor It's pretty much the same as this puzzle.

@dcfyj got a proper avatar recently despite not having a very meaningful (?) username.

^^

@dcfyj Yeah, true. Could be closed as duplicate instead then.

3:38 PM
I made my avatar on word :)

My username is something I got a long time ago. I couldn't think of a name so I smacked the keyboard and got dcfyj :P

@dcfyj, thats one way to do it

@BeastlyGerbil It's incredibly rare to encounter a site where this name is in use. I think it has happened once.

oh, yeah, that looks like a dupe

@Randal'Thor Yeah, I know. BTW Seeing as my gravatar is the same green one in all SE sites, it's odd that I have this different, blue, one in chat.

3:40 PM
16

I slammed my fists on the keyboard a few times until I got a result I liked.

Don't think anyone else will be called Beastly Gerbil :P

I'm positive there's another one of those on the site, but I don't remember where it is

I also swear I answered a question like that last week too
but I can't find it here

@RosieF It's a bug.
68

When I first signed up on a Stack Exchange site and got a profile image, it was this one (see my current user card I'm actually not sure what I look like any more): Later, I got Area 51 and SEDE profiles, and my user image there was a different identicon. Because reasons I already know. I wou...

@Randal'Thor You've got less than an hour to get the bounty!

3:44 PM
@dcfyj I'm already just 5 points away from my repcap, from question upvotes only (!) :-/

bounty doesn't count for cap :P

I know, but completing my answer will probably bring it more upvotes.

So, you'll sacrifice the 50 in hopes of getting more? Fair enough.

Nah, I'm not completely serious. I'm still working on that answer, but not completely sure where to go next.
(And I might get the 50 anyway when it expires, simply because my answer is the best so far.)

true

3:47 PM
@Randal'Thor, you get 25 don't you? Half the bounty?

@RosieF Nevermind being blue, your image is completely differently. Not even the same design.

@BeastlyGerbil That's if it's auto-awarded. Mithrandir might also award it to me manually, since I'm close to the solution (I think).

Ahh yes

@RosieF Rofl at "Caffè Claudius" - nicely disguised ;-)

3:51 PM
@Randal'Thor It continues a theme from my earlier Megans, e.g. Starpounds.

I dont get it?

@Randal'Thor Ciphers named after Roman leaders aren't involved, though.

@RosieF I'm looking forward to Sainsinters - or Dangerousways, which got taken over by Minorons.
@RosieF Does each 9-digit number encode a single letter?

I imagine each set of 9 gives a letter

* checks to see if it pasted OK *
The digits are in groups of 10, not 9. I gather it's a convention sometimes to break up a series of characters in ciphertext this way? The spacing within the ciphertext is not significant.
"Does each 9-digit number encode a single letter?" How many decimal digits does it take to encode a character (especially given what the OH said about what he did to the plaintext)?

4:07 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but what does the abbreviation "OH" mean? I only found "Original Hamster" :P

other half

thanks

There are really surprisingly few zeros. My first thought was that that's because we have lots of numbers glommed together and the first digit of a multidigit number can't be zero, but actually there are too few for that to be the whole explanation.
Also, a lot of 5,6,7
(I remark that 30 is close to 26)

hmm, it might be following a normal distribution centered around 5
(ish)

(does ignoring punctuation mean leaving it alone when encrypting, or suppressing it completely?)
no, doesn't look very normal
e.g. more 9 than 8 by a large margin

4:09 PM
@LukasRotter Sorry. "Other half" -- sometimes used by wife or husband to refer to the other spouse.

65 127 125 325 216 515 598 487 178 271

@GarethMcCaughan Well done on a useful observation.

some of those numbers are suggestive (65=2^6+1, 127=2^7-1, 216=6^3) but I bet only by coincidence.

@RosieF Oh. Apparently I can't count :-P

my guess is that we do have (probably variable-length) numbers glommed together, and that there's also some possibly interesting reason why few of them have zeros in their non-first places
wondering about groups of 9 isn't entirely crazy because the number of digits is a multiple of 9
and of nothing else obviously useful -- it's 9x17x19

4:11 PM
@GarethMcCaughan Well done on another useful observation. And I like your word "glommed"!

I got it from Hofstadter. I don't know whether he invented it.

@GarethMcCaughan Ooh, is it? Pure coincidence. All I cared about it that the total count come out odd, to avoid anyone falling into the trap "must be 2 digits per letter" but you've already avoided that trap.

also, 66 is followed by 57 more often than it should be (and presumably many other such things are true; that's just the first one I tried)
indeed there are two instances of 665753

@GarethMcCaughan It is perhaps mundane that the distribution is far from flat. That 0 is particularly rare is just how it happened to come out -- the reason might only become apparent when you've found the key.

are you perhaps giving too many hints? :-)

4:15 PM
@GarethMcCaughan there are 3 instances of 650373

One thing to note, it says the spaces were enciphered, so there should be a value that's repeated quite often.

yup
well ... it depends on the cipher

If it's a scaling cipher that's harsh

@dcfyj Correct! Gareth has already mentioned three candidates.

actually both the 665753s are preceded by 3 so the way I'm parsing it may be wrong

4:16 PM
@dcfyj Sorry, what's a scaling cipher? (Googling doesn't give any obvious hints.)

and both 650373 are preceded by 46 :) so it is actually 46650373 that is repeated thrice

spaces are maybe 20% of typical English text so if we guess (with rather little evidence) that a typical plaintext character turns into two digits of ciphertext then we should have about 290 spaces. There are 271 9s, so perhaps nines are spaces.
(I give that a 25% probability of being right)

@GarethMcCaughan Can't be 5 or 6 anyway.

@RosieF What I mean by scaling cipher is a cipher that encodes based on the position, not the letter. So A might be encoded as 5+ values.

Do you think I ought to post a frequency table as a hint to save everyone counting?

4:18 PM
because duplicates?
I've already posted a (non-)answer with some comments of that sort; I'll put a frequency table in.

@GarethMcCaughan There are a couple of double 9's, so probably not.

@RosieF nah, they can make their own. Plus this puzzle's only a few minutes old.

@dcfyj I see. No, it isn't.

@GarethMcCaughan I wonder if that (non-)answer might be better off as a comment?
Someone might flag it as Not An Answer, and I could see their point in a way.

or make it community

4:20 PM
I dunno. I expect it to evolve over time and it might turn into an answer (partial or complete) if I work enough out.

@GarethMcCaughan Thanks, Gareth.

0 65
1 127
2 125
3 325
4 216
5 515
6 598
7 487
8 178
9 271

I could certainly make it community wiki. Or leave it as mine and invite others to edit things in.
I am relieved to see that Maria's numbers match mine.

I just used an online counter :)

@GarethMcCaughan And mine, I'm relieved to see!

4:22 PM
hmm, I see 150 56s

no two-digit sequence occurs often enough for me to believe it's space

@GarethMcCaughan Then post it as an answer once you've got at least a partial solution. At the moment it's really more like a comment (and I think would fit the character limit for one?).

@GarethMcCaughan But the cipher length is odd, so...?

there are 16 occurrences of 666 :) just thought I would mention that :)

well, I already conjectured that we might have variable-length numbers shoved together, so the total length being odd doesn't mean there aren't lots of length-2 units
@Randal'Thor if it's a comment (or succession of comments) it's harder to read, bits are liable to get hidden, formatting is greatly restricted. Is there any actual advantage to doing it that way?
(other than the fact that it's labelled "answer" and isn't actually an answer, of course)
e.g. are you concerned that if it's an answer it can get rep despite not actually answering anything? (I'd have thought that if that sentiment is widely shared then, well, people won't upvote it, so no problem)

user189275
4:28 PM
I tried changing every portion to A1Z26, first by adding every five length, then by adding every ten length long words. The idea is fruitless, atleast in the beginning.

I don't think the existence of double 9s proves 9 isn't space, by the way; double spaces might represent new paragraphs or something.

user189275
Another thing is coincidental is that most of the 9 occurs in the even place, but there are exceptions.

(nor, to repeat, do I particularly think 9=space; I just don't want to rule things out too fast)

user189275
Well, is there anything special with 5X10 long something ?

my guess is that any parity-of-position thing is mostly coincidence, but I could be wrong

4:29 PM
@ArkaKarmakar Let me save you the trouble. It's all English text, so if even the beginning looks to you unlike English, you have the wrong idea.
@ArkaKarmakar No, there is no significance in that. Imagine if you want to, that the ciphertext is a continuous stream of digits.

user189275
@RosieF: Thanks, but please don't spoil the fun by giving hints now.

better evidence that 9 isn't space, though, is that the distribution of lengths of inter-9 strings looks a bit wrong; there are some really long strings with no 9s

user189275
As there is 26+spaces, total 27, the number three is very special.\

@GarethMcCaughan Well, yes, that. Answers which aren't actually answers tend to get flagged and deleted. (Of course this won't be a problem if you actually solve it before anyone has a chance to flag or VTD it! :-) )

I've done the same sort of thing quite often and so far not had my (non-)answers flagged or deleted or complained about. Maybe I've just been lucky.

user189275
4:32 PM
"3666257367 3665696375" numbers seem to be very amazing.

user189275
Also amazing, the last word is short "5930245".

I believe the division into 10s is just for presentation.

@ArkaKarmakar There's no significance to the fact that the strings are 10 letters; it was just a convenient way to split the flow of numbers.

There is only one instance of 3666257367; what's amazing about it?

That's why it seems to break off abruptly at the end.

user189275
4:34 PM
@Randal'Thor: Oh, thanks for pointing it out and saving time.

user189275
Anybody counted total numbers ?

of digits? yes, me, see above

user189275
@GarethMcCaughan: 2907, excluding spaces ?

user189275
I can't run python on these broken numbers now, but doing a n-long frequency analysis might help, with n from 2 ~ 30 (special: 3, 17, 19, 10 (RED HERRING ?))

2907 digits. The spaces and line breaks are, we believe, not significant.

4:39 PM
dcode.fr/frequency-analysis I was looking at this, but didn't find anything super important

I've put a table of pair-frequencies in my (non-)answer.

Maybe each of the 26 letters of the alphabet is converted into one of ~4 digit-pairs. That would be quite an evil substitution cipher :-o
But no, she said digit pairs aren't the way to go.

almost every one of the 100 possible digit-pairs occurs at least once

@GarethMcCaughan Yes, I'm thinking of a 1-to-4 correspondence, not a bijection!
But just as an idle idea - it won't actually be the solution.

(boo, I'm not allowed to review that one :-) )
I would be not very surprised if each plaintext character had multiple possible corresponding ciphertext equivalents.

4:45 PM
Anyway there's a key, so it's not a simple substitution cipher at all.

579 appears 21 times

I'll "Looks OK" it if that's the correct thing to do.
@Randal'Thor Doesn't A->K B->E C->Y D->A etc. count as a substitution cipher with key KEY?

> The method I used to encipher it is one I found on the web, but the key is my own. [...] I hope the method's easy enough that you'll get clues from elementary cipher-breaking techniques.
So it shouldn't be anything too obscure.

hmm, there are 205 numbers with 4 or fewer in both digits

@Randal'Thor Aah, I see what your inference is. I'd misunderstood.

4:47 PM
the existence of a key doesn't mean it isn't a simple substitution

(2 digit numbers)
that's a very small number to represent a quarter of the search space

@RosieF Oh, that's true, I suppose.
Can anyone work out what this is all about? Maybe I'm just being dense.

I think he means this: For each row, pick an accessible number. The column this number is in now becomes inaccessible. Find all combinations and remove all duplicates. E.g. for [[0,1,0],[0,0,1],[1,0,0]] I think it would be [
000,010,011,111,101,110,001] (bad example). Not sure, though.

@RosieF, feel free to recommend my (non-)answer either for deletion or for non-deletion, whichever you think more appropriate.
(or to leave it alone and let The People decide)
(AFK for at least an hour or so now)

@GarethMcCaughan Oh, I couldn't recommend anyone delete it. You've put stuff in there that'd be useful for future solvers.

4:57 PM
@Randal'Thor I have no idea what he's asking...

@GarethMcCaughan We're all The People. That's the point of having review queues: so that the whole community can help to decide on things like whether to close/reopen/delete a post :-)

'We are The People' - Dramatic :P

@Rand
@Rand I'm getting the impression that he wants general array puzzle solving tips

@Phlarx To me it sounds like he wants programming advise for it.

Well, I approach array-based puzzles via programming, so I suppose they're one and the same to me

5:10 PM
That's as may be, but if it's programming advice he wants, it doesn't really fit here.

I agree with you there

@GarethMcCaughan It is.

@RosieF That's relative. If you go out to 8 decimal places 30 is a long way from 26 :P

For some reason I have a feeling that the author used for the key in the Megan question is Arthur Conan Doyle.

user189275
@Randal'Thor: Why ?

user189275
5:22 PM
See OP's comment: "Indeed we shouldn't. There are some clues in the framing story, but where Megan and I met isn't a clue"

user189275
(indeed we should--> don't overanalyze the discussion place)

@ArkaKarmakar Just a hunch.

@ArkaKarmakar No, "Indeed we should not" means don't overanalyse the discussion place.

user189275
Oh yeah. It's not a simple substitution cipher, as there is a "key", which is probably "KEY" itself, as OP hinted. Maybe, but it's very probable.

user189275
@RosieF: The spaces are coded too ? (What do RD Jones mean by "spaces are enciphered" ?)

5:25 PM
@ArkaKarmakar No, she said the key comes from an author's name.
@ArkaKarmakar Yes.

@ArkaKarmakar I didn't mean to even hint that the key in the Megan puzzle is literally KEY.

user189275
Oh. I missed that.

user189275
Thanks for pointing out.

@Randal'Thor Any hunches as to the method and the key (which is not necessarily KEY)?

user189275
@RosieF: "MYOWN" ?

user189275
5:28 PM
Just joking.

@RosieF Not yet.

@RosieF Considering that, in the post, you said the author's name was involved, I highly doubt it's "KEY"

user189275
"Then, when I was choosing how to fill out the rest of the key" I guess the key is very long.

user189275
Probably the rest is how playfair is filled up ?

Yeah, that made me think playfair-type
but that's 2 digit pairs

user189275
5:31 PM
There may be some connection with playfair, but OP probably subtly hints its not so.

The way that's phrased makes me think KEYALPHABET type keys

@Sconibulus Correct.

user189275
Is the 10 long formation or 5 by 10 para's just red herring ?

@ArkaKarmakar Yes.

user189275
Very mean one.

5:32 PM
@ArkaKarmakar Not as mean as if it had just been a few thousand digits with no spacing at all :-)

She stated multiple times that it's just for legibility. We're the ones that turned it into a fish.

Just passing by to mention that I'm honored that @dcfyj would use my badly cut chessboard as a profile picture

Found it on google. no Idea who I belongs to, or what I search to find it.
Looks like Sudoku to me

5:48 PM