The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

Cryptography Competition

Cryptography Competition

The organisers of the annual Skyscanner-sponsored Alan Turing Cryptography Competition present a one-off competition to coincide with the release of The Imitation Game, a film about Alan Turing's code-breaking work during WWII.

This is a straightforward substitution cipher: each letter in the message is replaced by a different letter in the alphabet. Although the letters have been changed, the spacing between words has not been altered. For sufficiently long messages, these codes can be cracked using frequency analysis and you can also use short words to identify key letters such as A and I.

MY WORK ON THE NAVAL ENIGMA MACHINE AT BLETCHLEY PARK IS
PROGRESSING WELL BUT I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE WAR OVERALL IF HITLER
DOES INVADE THEN I AM CERTAIN STERLING WILL COLLAPSE I HAVE CONVERTED
MY SAVINGS INTO SILVER BARS AND BURIED THEM NEARBY KNOWING MY DREADFUL
MEMORY I WILL FORGET WHERE UNLESS I LEAVE MYSELF REMINDERS HERE IS THE
FIRST OF THREE CLUES TO ITS LOCATION THE SILVER IS BURIED SOMEWHERE TO
THE WEST OF STAPLE HALL

This is also a substitution cipher, but it is more difficult to crack because the spaces between words have been removed. In addition, there are more symbols than letters and, in fact, different symbols are being used to encode the same letters; specifically the letters, E, I, A and T. Using multiple symbols to represent commonly occurring letters makes standard frequency analysis more difficult. However, you can look at repeated patterns of symbols to identify letter combinations. You can also make good use of any knowledge about the code's contents. For example, knowing that Turing worked in Hut 8 is a good starting point in this code.

All the symbols can be used in mathematical logic, a main area of Turing's research. Indeed, the different symbols used to represent the letters E, I, A and T all have essentially the same meaning.

MY LANDLADY AT THE CROWN INN DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT MY WORK WHENEVER
I HELP OUT IN THE BAR SHE LETS DROP THAT I SHOULD BE DOING MORE FOR THE
WAR EFFORT IF ONLY I COULD TELL HER THAT HUT 8 IS ABOUT TO BREAK THE
NAVAL ENIGMA SIC TRANSIT GLORIA
SECOND CLUE TO FIND THE SILVER FOLLOWS IT
IS HIDDEN EAST OF STANLEY ROAD PART OF
MY REGULAR CYCLE ROUTE TO WORK NOTE TO SELF FINAL CODE ENCRYPTED BY A
KRIEGSMARINE M3 MACHINE USING MY INITIALS

This code is encrypted by an enigma machine with settings as given in the clue. The Grundstellung (initial position of the rotors) is AMT (Turing's initials) and the missing Steckerverbindungen pair is SN. You can use one of the many freely available enigma machine simulators to decode the message.

THE SILVER IS SOUTHEAST FROM MY LODGINGS X

Note that if people treated "southeast" as two words "south east", we accepted the resulting codeword as the correct solution.

Taking the intersection of two straight lines running due west from Staple Hall and due southeast from Turing's lodgings (The Crown Inn) reveals that the treasure is located in square C3.