siegeofangels: The angel from Guido Reni's "The Angel Appearing To St. Jerome" (Default)
[personal profile] siegeofangels
process for solving [personal profile] melannen's manuscript

1. Stare at pages.

2. Pick out "Charlemagne" and "Byzantine" and "priestly."

3. Try to figure out what corresponds to A. And E.

4. Think you've figured out what E is.

5. Wait, no, that can't be "Charlemagne."

6. Does that say "Higgledy Piggledy?"

7. It's [personal profile] melannen OF COURSE IT DOES

8. But if it's a font, why aren't all of the Gs the same?

9. WAIT.

10. The missing bits from THAT G are in THAT OTHER G. It's not a font.

11. Save image to desktop.

12. Open image in MS Paint.

13. Color pick to set background color.

14. Cut out half of text, overlay on other half, matching illustrations.

15. Decode!

Like I said, I totally cheated, but I am terribly interested in seeing how you managed to halve the letters to begin with, and also interested in seeing what the ease of translation would be with more common words--I think the only reason I got it was that "Higgledy Piggledy" was so distinctive.

Date: 2010-11-01 01:29 am (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
The difficulty isn't avoiding standard decryption so much. It's pretty easy to come up with several ways to split each letter, ways to make one letter look like two, and ways to make different letters encrypt the same (for example, c e o d and q can all be sliced to look like the same letter on one side), and depending on the font you can go a lot farther. With those worked in, it might still be susceptible to some fancy multiple-statistical anaylses, but your basic manual methods will be fooled.

The difficulty is splitting them in such a way that it isn't subconsciously obvious what you're doing before anyone even tries standard decryption very hard. :D (And clearly I didn't do quite well enough, because you figured it out pretty quick, and holyschist is getting a word here and there without having figured out the main trick yet.) English is actually in some ways a hieroglyphic language - for example, if you write a sentence in lower case, and then block it out so that you can only see the "shape" of the word, which letters go above and below the center line - a lot of fluent readers can still read it easily. So you have to make sure both individual letters and whole words aren't recognizable as themselves, and make sure the two halves look like they have notably different text in them.

To make it work as a stereogram I also had to make sure that each letter had at least some overlap, so each encoded letter had to have something like at least 2/3 of the original strokes left; if you weren't trying to make the stereogram work, you could erase more, and it might be easier.

...in other words, you should totally make one! I want one to try where I don't already know the plaintext.

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siegeofangels: The angel from Guido Reni's "The Angel Appearing To St. Jerome" (Default)
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