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The Alan Turing
Cryptography Competition.
edition 2018
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The Tale of the

Morphogenesis

Mystery

Is released!
Points available: 1 of 15
Is released!
Points available: 1 of 15
Is released!
Points available: 1 of 15
Is released!
Points available: 2 of 15
(Until 26 Feb, 5:09 pm)
Chapter 5
Due: Mon 26 Feb, 4 pm
Countdown clock:
Chapter 6
Due: Mon 12 Mar, 4 pm
Solutions
Due: Mon 9 Apr, 4 pm
Announcing

The Alan Turing

Cryptography Day

2018!

Want to come over to Manchester for a bit of live crypto stuff, the prize ceremony and an opportunity to meet the organisers?

Find out more!

Chapter 1 of the Tale of The Morphogenesis Mystery.

The Garamond Institute, Rishworth Moor, 1952.

"Thank you so much for coming, Dr Turing," said Professor Sir Henry Garamond firmly shaking the hand of his visitor.

"My pleasure," said Alan Turing. "It's been a delight to talk to someone about my work on mathematical biology and morphogenesis. I hope your new research institute can use it for the greater good." He looked up at the building, a former stately home located in the bleak moorland of the Peak District. "A strange choice of location," he added.

Sir Henry laughed as he looked across the landscape of heathland, blanket bog and occasional rock formation. "There are fewer distractions here than in a city; we can get more work done. Are you sure you I can't call you a taxi? The moors can be a dangerous place," he said.

"Thank you," said Turing as they shook hands, "but I'm looking forward to the run. It's only 26 miles back home - not far at all! And a bit of fell-running will be an interesting change from the years of road-running I did during the War."

Turing set out across the moors. Before long the weather had closed in and dense fog had descended. The landscape became increasingly foreboding, with patches of grass disguising deep bog beneath and stones looming up, half-hidden in the mist. "An unsettling place," thought Turing to himself.

As he continued to run he had a sense that someone - something - was watching him. A ghostly howl rang through the air and the mist tightened its grip. Turing sped up, wanting to get off the moor and back to civilisation as quickly as possible.

text divider

Manchester Museum, present day.

Every surface in Barquith's office was piled high with books, pieces of paper, and curios from a lifetime of research. The summer sun shone through the window, highlighting the dust in the air. In one corner, lounging in an easy chair, sat Barquith, an elderly academic with a high forehead, aquiline nose and a shock of white hair. In the opposite corner sat Mike and Ellie, two schoolchildren who - thanks to Barquith - had had many code-breaking adventures in previous years.

As Mike and Ellie were telling Barquith about their plans for the summer break, there was a knock on the door. "Come in!" shouted Barquith. A middle-aged gentleman entered the room. "Office 221?" he asked.

"Indeed it is! Now who might you be?" said Barquith. "Other than that you live in the Peak District, have recently returned from abroad, have a passion for mathematical biology and own a medium-sized dog - a labrador, I believe - I can tell nothing about you!"

Mike and Ellie smirked at each other as a look of astonishment appeared on the gentleman's face.

Barquith laughed. "Welcome, Dr Truman Cuddeny!" he said. "After the recent tragedy at the Garamond Institute, I was naturally expecting its new Director would pay me a visit. It's remarkable what one can discover about a person with a bit of Googling!"

Cuddeny looked crestfallen. "I suppose I should have expected that from you!" he said, as a bookish young woman appeared at the door. "Where have you been?" said Cuddeny to her before turning back to Barquith. "Let me introduce my colleague, Dr Izzy Mortimer. As a matter of fact, that terrible tragedy is why we're here!."

"You've heard that our previous Director, Dr Charles Garamond, was recently found dead on the moorland near the Institute?" said Mortimer. Barquith nodded in acknowledgement. "What wasn't reported in the news was the manner in which he was killed."

"His throat was ripped out!" said Cuddeny. "And near the body were the footprints of a gigantic hound! The locals are saying that Old Schuck - a legendary ghostly hound said to haunt the moor - is back! There's talk of terrifying howling noises at night coming from the moors. But two days ago things took a most singular turn. Izzy, do you have the code?"

Izzy Mortimer nodded, pulled out a small piece of paper and showed it to Barquith. "This was pinned to the gate of the Institute," said Cuddeny. "I'm sure you can decipher it as easily as we could."

"Mike, Ellie," said Barquith. "Take a look at this..."

Puzzle 1

Your task:

Above is the note that Izzy Mortimer showed to Barquith. It contains a secret message, which you should decode. Once you have done that, submit your answer to the question below.

Question: What is the 7th word of the plaintext?
Your answer:
 

Please log in (or register first if you haven't yet done so) to submit your answer.
  • There is still 1 out of 15 points to be earned for this Chapter.