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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.

The Alan Turing

Cryptography Day


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Epilogue of the Tale of the Carbon Conundrum.

The cafe at the Manchester Museum was packed with visitors. As Mike and Ellie went to the counter and ordered their obligatory fruit juices and cake, they looked around trying to see who could have summoned them there.

"Look over there!" said Mike. "That bob of grey hair must belong to Niemand!"

"But I can't quite see who he's talking to; I can only see the back of his head," said Ellie. As Niemand talked, his friend turned to look around the cafe. "No, it can't be!" said Ellie.

"Barquith!" Mike and Ellie cried as they rushed over to the join him, their faces in shock.

"Hello Mike, hello Ellie!" Barquith said. "You look like you've seen a ghost!"

"I think we have! We thought you were dead!" said Ellie.

"Not just yet!" laughed Barquith. "Let me explain. Niemand and I have been working on this for the last year. Porterfield is a salesman: he manufactures and sells things, but he's not an innovator and he's not a scientist. MaliOpus Industries don't do any research and development. Somehow they were illegally acquiring research done at the University and using it for their own commercial gain. Niemand and I suspected that Porterfield was personally involved in this."

Niemand took over the story: "And that's why we concocted this plan. We booked Porterfield to speak at the opening of the National Graphene Institute, knowing that he'd use the opportunity to steal some of our research. But we also knew how clever he was and that we needed some way of distracting him and putting him out of his comfort zone."

"So I decided to stage a fake assassination attempt," said Barquith. "Niemand wasn't too happy about it; he thought it was far too risky. The plan was that he would shine a laser pointer disguised as a rifle laser sight at Porterfield, whilst I leapt up on stage, with a balloon of fake blood strapped to my back. I burst it at the right moment and pretended to have been shot - I thought my performance looked rather convincing! It certainly made Porterfield think that his life had been in danger, and it forced him into making a mistake. He gave himself away in that video he made."

"But we even found a gun!" said Ellie.

"A starting pistol," corrected Niemand. "It had to sound convincing too."

"You certainly convinced us!" said Mike. "I can't believe you made us think that you were dead and that Niemand was responsible!" said Ellie.

"But we left you a clue! Didn't you spot it?" said Barquith with a hurt look. "That note I left in my pocket for you to find said `Trust no man'---didn't you realise that Niemand is German for `no man'? I was telling you to trust him!"

"Barquith knew that you two were bound to get involved, and he asked me to gently nudge you in the right direction. Personally, I found it a little annoying. In fact, I said as much to Barquith..."

"So that email we saw in your office: Tencurar is Barquith, and the `annoying children' were us, not Darcie and Donna?" said Ellie.

"That's correct, I'm afraid," confessed Niemand. "Although they are certainly annoying too!"

Barquith smiled. "And about to get their comeuppance. Without the quantum computer, MaliOpus has hardly any new products. Porterfield may have been dishonest, but he was telling the truth when he said that MaliOpus will be bankrupt within a month. Thanks to the four of us, I don't think we'll be hearing from Porterfield or the twins again."

"We're far smarter than them!" said Mike and Ellie in unison, as the four of them tucked into their fruit juices and cake.

"Excuse me," said a barista as he approached the table. "A pair of young ladies asked me to give you this. They said it was important."

Your task:

Above is the note handed to Mike and Ellie. Your task is to decipher it. Once you have done that, submit your answer to the question below.

Question: What is the 24th word of the plaintext?
Your answer:

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