Yes, so all of us who gave up on cipher number 3 can relax now!
The Cipher Challenge was published in The Code Book by Simon Singh over
a year ago. It consisted of ten encrypted messages, which started out with a
very easy cipher and ended in "the toughest public challenge cipher yet
devised", being a RSA-encrypted message with a 155 digit key.
The challenge was officially solved on October 7, 2000 by a Swedish team
consisting of four people. The tenth cipher required 67 years computational
run-time to solve. The winning team will now share the £10,000 awarded by
Singh. Another £1,000 were awarded to the leaders on October 1, 2000, which
was a little over one year after the challenge was proclaimed. That money went
to another team that has managed to solve the ninth cipher by that time. This
group had the solution to all ciphers but the fifth and the tenth by October 8,
Except for the tenth stage, it turned out that the fifth cipher was the
trickiest. Being a Beale-type cipher, a.k.a. book cipher, it required a key text in order to
solve, and there was simply no clue whatsoever as to what text that might be.
Most teams solved the ciphers up to eight or nine before number five. It turned
out to be the famous Fermat's Last Theorem - in Latin ! Well, that wasn't
completely taken out of nowhere, but anyway. The winning team used programs that retrieved hundreds of texts from The Gutenberg Project and tried them, to no avail.
Simon Singh himself was surprised that the last cipher was solved so rapidly;
he had anticipated another 5 years or so before anyone managed it.
Read sloutions and more at http://simonsingh.com/cipher.htm