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Cryptography Competition.
(edition 2015: #4).
You are reading the website of the 2015 edition of the competition, which ended on Wednesday 13th May at 11:59 pm.

Mike and Ellie will return for a new adventure next year!

The website for that new edition, to start in January 2016, appears in December here. If you would like to receive a reminder around that time by email please look here. For any particular enquiries you can contact us on cryptography_competition@manchester.ac.uk.

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Chapter 5 of the Tale of the Carbon Conundrum.

"So now we know!" said Ellie. "Niemand is working for somebody trying to stop Lord Porterfield, which must be why he tried to assassinate him. And by the sounds of it he's managed to recruit Darcie and Donna to help him."

"Well, they've always been trouble but I didn't think they'd ever get involved in something like this!" said Mike. "I wonder who Niemand's really working for?"

"Maybe the government? The secret services? Who knows? Unscrupulous scientists will work for anybody who pays the bills. But it doesn't explain who's behind the theft of the quantum computer? I don't think it can be Niemand, it was his device to begin with!" mused Ellie.

"I think I'm starting to get a headache trying to unravel it," confessed Mike. "Anyway, what were you saying about getting out of here?"


As they headed down the corridor towards the exit, they saw two familiar freckled faces ahead of them.

"Darcie, Donna. What are you doing here?" asked Ellie.

"We're going to be scientists when we leave school," said Darcie. "And we'll be doing research projects here during the summer holidays", said Donna. "We're far smarter than you!" they added.

Ellie raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Really? And who would be crazy enough to want to teach you two?" she asked.

The twins hesitated, looked at each other, and said in unison "Professor Niemand of course!"

"You two are so annoying!" said Ellie loudly, as the twins walked away. "Come on," said Mike, "I want to go. Which way was the exit?" As they reached the foyer, Mike and Ellie heard the metronomic click of approaching footsteps. "Hide!" whispered Ellie. "Again?" groaned Mike as he was pulled down onto a sofa. Covering their faces with two conveniently placed glossy brochures, they saw the perfectly polished shoes of Lord Porterfield stride past.

Lord Porterfield left the building and got into his limousine, slamming the door violently. As the car accelerated away a burning sheet of paper fell from its open window, accompanied by a large cloud of cigar smoke. Mike ran up to the paper and quickly stamped out the flames. "Was it just me, or did he seem annoyed?" said Mike. "I don't think he got what he wanted," replied Ellie, "I wonder if this will tell us why?"

Click here for a larger version of this image.
Your task:

Above is the charred paper recovered by Mike. Your task is to crack the code. Once you have done that, submit your answer to the question below.

Question: What is the 11th word of the plaintext?
Your answer:

You can not submit your answer since the Competition has now closed.