This code was not, as claimed, difficult to crack. It is a simple transposition cipher. In fact, unlike even cryptograms (which typically use transposition) the punctuation was not stripped, which made getting the first dozen or so characters very easy without so much as having to resort to frequency analysis. It's a pretty sad code when I can solve half of the alphabet without even writing anything down.

I will detail my process and then deliver the solution, both as a lesson in elementary cryptanalysis for those who might be interested, and a glaring example of how easy it is to solve these for those who think that it is in any way difficult.


The first thing that leapt to my attention, before I noticed the punctuation, was the one letter words V and R. There are only two words in English that have one letter, and they are I and A. The only thing that remained was to figure out which was which. I was starting to enjoy the process when I noticed the characters '#ninalcqvep'. The title suggests that this cipher has something to do with #everything, and sure enough, the V coincides with the I in everything, so it was fairly clear that I had just gained my first eight characters. (Nine if you count the a that I had deduced by elimination). E, V, R, Y, T, H, I, N, G, A. Not a bad start for a 30 second look at a 'hard' code. A third of the alphabet was done.

The next letter that was very easy to find (thanks again to the punctuation), was S. I noticed a number of apostrophe laden words that were likely either possessives or contractions. In the first sentence there was a word containing an apostrophe with two previously solved letters: Vc'b. The first two characters solve to IT, so the leap to the contraction "it's" is a pretty small jump.

At this point, I thought I had a revelation, but I was mistaken. I noticed that a couple of the letters were 9 characters from their plaintext cousins, so I figured an easy solve was at hand. As I went through my list of solved characters, I realized it wasn't going to be quite that easy. I began to populate my key to see if I could discern a pattern, but it was still a bit too early for that.

I then noticed that factgirl had translated her own name in a hardlink: ortcpvay. That brought my count to 14. More than half of the alphabet. That's when I noticed a striking pattern: All of the characters I had solved on each side (for example, A=R and I have also solved for R) were identical. I=V=I and T=C=T. As much of a breakthrough as it was, I still didn't have enough information to make a total solve yet. There were many of the proposed "character pairs" that I had neither of yet.

I decided to proceed as if this were the correct cipher, and test my results. Based on my newly populated key, the first sentence read: Hi it's _e factgirl! Hmm. I don't think it requires a degree in linguistics to figure out the missing letter. M. Therefore, according to my theory, M=Z=M. I decided at this point I had plenty to attempt a solve and glean the remaining character pairs through context. I was right.

The Key

A - R
B - S
C - T
D - U
E - N
F - O
G - P
H - Q
I - V
J - W
K - X
L - Y
M - Z
N - E
O - F
P - G
Q - H
R - A
S - B
T - C
U - D
V - I
W - J
X - K
Y - L
Z - M

The Solution

Hi it's me factgirl! I hope they don't nuke this node because this is important! We in #everything are the ones who are cool and devoted to Everything2! We are like a secret club!

Secret clubs are cool! They get to do cool stuff and exclude others! In our case others are lucky because we are nice and welcome everyone! Even people who don't node (yet)!

Let's take over the chatterbox and make it our bitch! We can nodevertise each other, "Hey wow, achan's node school sucks was really insightful"; or defend each other when the #e noder isnt there, "I think CowboyNeal is a nice guy no matter what you say"; or even turn the chatterbox's subject into what WE want to talk about, "Did you guys know about lesbians? I sure think lesbians are cool!"

So c'mon #everything! lets show 'em what made of!