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August 04, 2003

Calling All Cryptographers

I'm on the verge of solving my first geocache and I find myself stuck with this code:

co aa ea gc go oo ga oc ee ga ce ga ae gc eo cc aa
ac go oo ao ac oc ee ag ee oc cc oc eo eg ee ee ee
cg ee ee ee ac ca aa oc eo eg ao cc ga co ao
oc ea cg ga ee ga ao oe cc ce aa ea ae oa ea co ee ee ee

I've solved the rest of the hints (which you can find on the cache's page), but this cypher is hanging me up. Hints from anyone better at this stuff than I seem to be? Meanwhile, my free time is being taken up with searches on what seem to be the unique characteristics of this thing:

Posted by mph at August 4, 2003 09:11 PM


I don't know, but it's got to mean something that those are the first five letters of "geocache."

Posted by: Ed at August 4, 2003 10:01 PM

except for the "O"'s, I'd say you're on to a pretty good bluegrass chord progression there buddy.

Posted by: thp at August 4, 2003 10:20 PM

Well, I'll tell you something that *doesn't* work... using g, e, o, c, a, to mean 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, reading the puzzle as a set of base 5 numbers mapped to the first 25 letters of the alphabet.

In fact, any alphabet cipher is going to be difficult because of the "ee" triplets separated by only one letter. I can't imagine how that could work out.

Posted by: Ed at August 4, 2003 11:58 PM

Dude... Look at the text. It says:

"To find the cache start at the listed coordinates, descend the stairs, have a seat at the coordinates below, and decipher the message."

"If you have trouble deciphering the message have a look below you for a hint."

It sounds to me like you're not going to be able to decipher this without some clue in the landscape, at those coordinates.

Posted by: Ed at August 5, 2003 12:11 AM

"It sounds to me like you're not going to be able to decipher this without some clue in the landscape, at those coordinates."

Well, fwiw, the coordinates are at a bench on a concrete slab overlooking the sidewalk, a few lightposts, and not much else. We sat for about 30 minutes last night staring at it all. :-) According to others, it's solvable without needing to actually be sitting there.

Posted by: mph at August 5, 2003 12:13 AM

I bought a Magellan SporTrak over the weekend and found my first cache on Sunday. After seeing this, my find seems embarassingly easy.

From a geocaching comment: "...we managed to make good on everything including accessing the necessary info to decipher the message. At first glance it seemed very perplexing. After working with it for a little while, frustration set in and we opted for making a copy of it so we could work on it at home."

This makes it sound like you need to be there, or have been there. They accessed something. Made a copy of it to take home.

Posted by: at August 5, 2003 08:29 PM

What about a grid or something like this?


Posted by: Cristina at August 5, 2003 09:41 PM

That showed up a little off...I think you get the idea, though. The two letter pairs make me think it's likely to be a grid. I just can't figure out a way that makes any sense.

Posted by: Cristina at August 5, 2003 09:43 PM

This is still bothering me. Has anyone solved it?

I originally thought that the "message" had to be a sentence. A friend suggested that it might be more coordinates. If you delete the spaces and punctuation of the original cache coordinates, you get a string of 17 digits: N4531320W12237684. There are 17 pairs in the first line of the cypher. It could be something like this:
Co = N

Aa = 4

Ea = 5

and so on...

Posted by: Cristina at August 11, 2003 07:44 PM

This is still driving me nuts. I worked a bit on Cristina's suggestion but I don't think that's it. Don't know what else it could be. I want to think that the repeated 'ee's are spaces and this is a phrase/sentence, but who knows.

Posted by: Ed Heil at August 27, 2003 06:25 PM