Gathering 4 Gardner 12

stumbling through with @elegin and @CryptoK

This is an object lesson in the dangers of social media!. I was minding my own business living life all casual like when I happen to check twitter. There is the most innocent looking post from Lost holding a badge from G4G12 Gathering 4 Gardner. $%@#$ it has crypto on it. I tell myself I am not at that Con I don’t have to do it. BAM. Saturday is gone. I wake up on the couch no pants on shredded cabbage all around me and wearing a purple tank top that says “don’t feed the squirrels”. Yeah, don’t check twitter. Well, after I showered I was able to pull together my notes and here they are, I think.

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down *now you got fresh prince stuck in your head!
Seriously, here are the pictures of the front and back of the G4G12 badge @1o57 posted:

This was my downfall. I recognized these from Defcon23. The nictograph (square alphabet) and goldbug. Aw man.. I got this..not biggie. WRONG!

Goldbug is from a short by Edgar Allan Poe about this substitution cipher.

5 2 - † 8 1 3 4 6 , 7 0 9 * ‡ . $ ( ) ; ? ¶ ] ¢ : [


First, cause it was smaller I translated the goldbug and got :

Look closely at that..its wrong! I didn't know that till later..

This is what is suppose to be. I missed a few chars..meh..I do that all the freaking time. If it wasn't for CryptoK I would have been lost..get it. lost...oh yeah.

Later down you will see how bad I messed that up. I do that sort of thing A LOT.

Next up are the symbols that wrap around the edge of the badge they are the Nyctograph created by Lewis Carroll.

Any one who has tried, as I have often done, the process of getting out of bed at 2 a.m. in a winter night, lighting a candle, and recording some happy thought which would probably be otherwise forgotten, will agree with me it entails much discomfort. All I have now to do, if I wake and think of something I wish to record, is to draw from under the pillow a small memorandum book containing my Nyctograph, write a few lines, or even a few pages, without even putting the hands outside the bed-clothes, replace the book, and go to sleep again.

– Lewis Carroll, Letter to The Lady magazine in October 1891

Here is the "square alphabet" a nyctograph

Like the idiot I am I spend the next hour trying to transcript unsuccessfully the nictograph and constantly making mistakes after mistakes. Finally, I was comfortable with a sizable amount of translation I would check to see if it was a good old rotty . Well it was, it was ROT 14. Ok, I got this. No problem. Bring it Lost what you got!. From here I would translate each letter and ROT it to make sure I got the right translation. This was like 2 hours. I am a mess when it comes to things like this.

*Note:DECODE was ROT14- meaning ENCODE was ROT12, since it was the 12th G4G.

at first i missed the pointing hat but then i knew where go martin gardner influenced me

To save a little face here, I am going to leave out some really dumb things I did. (I honestly thought that was the whole thing). Yeah, total ID 10T situation going on.

I really don’t want to spoil this if you want to figure it I am going to put some line breaks here so you don’t see right away but I will give you a hint. It is domain name. That is a pretty BIG hint.

Ok now we got some work to do…

1, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10, 12, 12, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?

And we gots us sum maths. But first lets look at the hints., I ain't proud.. I look first and think later.. or never. But do yourself, favor look at them and read the sources. At the end you get the hint to use OEIS . Simple, plug it into the site and Booyeah, you want the can't handle the maths! But in this case I will take it from the spoon. I was hungry any way.

The solution to get the answer to go to the next question is...wait ..what..whatever.. From here you get the numbers that finish the series. But what to do with them. Well we got this little fellow right here ./Σ? current directory sum the question marks. So sum up the numbers and put them in the url.

And here are the rest of the numbers 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and with only making a fwe mtsiakes we gets this us: 313

SOOOOO we and Riker's your uncle!

Uh oh..just look around..check the source..scratch your head and go onto the next page.


Uh oh..THE MOD SQUAD! Bet we are going to use MOD. What MOD, well how many pictures. Look at source. 25. WRONG!!!!! 26..I totally hosed that up for like HOURS I was working under MOD25..I was all wrapped in up some obscure chess it was bad. I really don’t want to talk about it. Either way, CryptoK was like no fool its MOD26 the images in the source started at 0.jpg fool. Dam. That sucked.

Ok back to the page at hand. We also have some numbers




Now to be fair I had to come back to figure this out. Blame CryptoK. I had to take a break and do some stuff because I am human and all. I come back and he is working on the next step! To put this into perspective, I am at home all set up like a research lab working this out. CryptoK is out of town at little league game working with a stick in dirt. He is basically Goku and I am Hercule

And now for something completely different. Numbers. Take MOD26 of each number. The gives you the following:



Which is a phone number, why not?!?!

(313) 202-4385

Lets call it.

WOAH..that is a long message with a lot of stuff going on. Scared to call no worries here is the recording of it just in case you really really really want to hear lost voice over and over and over.

Yeah..that is a lot. I have..I should say I had to transcribe it. Keep in mind CryptoK apparently just did that in his head. WHAT!! Yeah..seriously, I don’t know how he does crap like that..I know.. what a jerk.

Here is what he says:

You will find perfection in the first digit

If I have to spell out the second digit you can count on my spelling to lead you to it

the third is the only number that is the both the sum and product of three consecutive positive numbers

a witch cast a hex on 200 people just to hide the next three digits

you can count on a nonagon to get the next digit

but there is nothing to be said about the one after that

count the whole tones in an octive for the next digit

you don't love the next digit if you're an avid tennis player

This on was actually pretty fun and because of that I not going to give you the answer. EXCEPT for the dam octave, CryptoK had to tell me that is 6.

This gives you ANOTHER phone number..turns out you send a text message to the number. WOAH..yeah..and you get back this numberific mess.

1221 3222 3121 1312 1132 1223

1221 3113 2213 2312 3113 1211

3111 3212 1322 2322 3333 1057

If you think of the 3’s as spaces, 1’s as dots, and 2’s as dashes you get some friendly morse code.

.--. --- .-.. .-.. -.-- .--. .. --. - .- .. .-.. ... -.-. --- --

Which decodes to:


YAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!WE ARE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

..?.....?....?....???? crap look at source

Ah, the end. A place most who get to this page will think they've reached. SPOILERS: There's more. You've just got to find it.
Oh, you want help? Here's a story:
One time I padded a golden insect's accolades, justifying patience- at least initially. You just thought it was a typo? I'd never frame Martin with anything but keys!

We got “One time I padded” -- One time pad I’m onto you lost..

And “a golden insect's accolades”-- pff.. Goldbug from badge..come one!!

“justifying patience- at least initially.” --- ehhh not sure about this

“You just thought it was a typo?” Why yes I did..hahahahaha!!!!!!

“I'd never frame Martin with anything but keys!”--Oh snap the key to OTP!!!!

I am all over out..

Remember when I said screwed up the goldbug at the beginning. Well out of all the mistakes I could have made, I made one of the worst. The statement “frame martin with anything but keys” well I left out a @#$$$#%@#$ KEY!!!!!!!! Yeah. that was a time Finally CryptoK was like “double check your goldbug”. #$!#@$!!!!!!!

So you do a running key vigenere on the message using the JP that “FRAMED” martin.



And you get:



Ok..everyone just calm down. Yes you, put down that jar of marbles! We got dancing men..we got this..

Ok..after screwing this up over and over and over..I finally got it decoded correctly!


*sigh And now its over!

or is it?

So Long and thanks for all the crypto!