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This game thread continues the tradition of the first two games: and and

One player plays the Evil Mastermind (that's me, replacing the original Evil Mastermind for this game) who nukes the states of the USA 3 at a time, the other players play Hackers who seek to stop the Evil Mastermind. The Evil Mastermind plays by posting commands which activate missile strikes. Each command has a unique password, which is derived from the command by a hashing algorithm. The Evil Mastermind devises a different algorithm at the start of each game, and posts the passwords along with the commands. The Hackers will see the commands and passwords and from this they should try to deduce the hashing algorithm. The Hacker who does this first, and correctly figures out the password to the command "ABORT", stops the Evil Mastermind and wins the game. Anyone can join in at any time as a Hacker.

Now hashing algorithms can be exceedingly difficult to crack, but there are restrictions placed on the kind of algorithm that the Evil Mastermind can use:

1) The Evil Mastermind must be able to derive an alphanumeric password of fixed length from any word (password length 8 characters or less, you choose). It doesn't have to be a cipher in the sense that it can be decrypted to the original word, indeed the fixed length makes that impossible.

2) You must be able to do it in your head, with no external aids, in 40 seconds or less. You may look at the word you are hashing but you should not have to look at the previous letters of the password, since real-life passwords are generally shown as ***** as you type (although you may use previous letters as far as your memory can handle it). It's up to you to ensure that you can do all this. A really classy algorithm is one which fulfils this condition better (quick and easy to perform, in other words).

3) Although it is quite possible to hold an alphabetic substitution table in your head, and apply it quickly, I'll rule this out because in conjunction with other techniques it's too difficult to crack. Any technique that requires a large amount of information to be memorised in advance is not allowed. Caesar ciphers with a large shift pretty much fall into that category.

4) Consistency. This is a matter of good sportsmanship. For example, since "ABORT" is the target word, you can't have a rule that comes into play only when the sequence "BOR" occurs. All rules should be general enough that they come into play in at least half of the clues. The algorithm should not be geared toward the specific commands used in this game, but should work on any word.

Commands

There are 51 commands, these being the names of US states (used by the Evil Mastermind to nuke another state), plus the word "ABORT" (used by hackers to stop the Evil Mastermind).

Commands and passwords are all uppercase.

ABORT

ALABAMA

ALASKA

ARIZONA

ARKANSAS

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

CONNECTICUT

DELAWARE

FLORIDA

GEORGIA

HAWAII

IDAHO

ILLINOIS

INDIANA

IOWA

KANSAS

KENTUCKY

LOUISIANA

MAINE

MARYLAND

MASSACHUSETTS

MICHIGAN

MINNESOTA

MISSISSIPPI

MISSOURI

MONTANA

NEBRASKA

NEVADA

NEWHAMPSHIRE

NEWJERSEY

NEWMEXICO

NEWYORK

NORTHCAROLINA

NORTHDAKOTA

OHIO

OKLAHOMA

OREGON

PENNSYLVANIA

RHODEISLAND

SOUTHCAROLINA

SOUTHDAKOTA

TENNESSEE

TEXAS

UTAH

VERMONT

VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON

WESTVIRGINIA

WISCONSIN

WYOMING

Game Play

The Evil Mastermind posts 3 commands at a time, with their passwords. The interval for doing this is undefined, no point in imposing restrictions. The Evil Mastermind chooses the commands, but should generally do requests as soon as possible.

Each Hacker may make one guess at the password for "ABORT" each time the Evil Mastermind posts commands. If someone makes multiple guesses in between clues, only the first one counts, but if they make a mistake and correct it, the Evil Mastermind can accept the correction.

There is no need for spoilers when guessing the password, although please use spoilers if you reveal the algorithm.

The first one to get the password for "ABORT" wins.

P.S. Alternatively if you've cracked the algorithm you can just use it to blow up more states if you're that way inclined (**per original Evil Mastermind's rules!)

The first three missiles are away--along with the following states:

ALABAMA

QEEPEXWI

NEVADA

QHYDAXKB

VIRGINIA

ZMNKMRME

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Posted · Report post

Woo hoo, I like this game!

I'm going to dive in straight away with:

ABORT

VCZQPRYD

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Posted · Report post

Woo hoo, I like this game!

I'm going to dive in straight away with:

ABORT

VCZQPRYD

Password accepted. System shutting down.

:blink: Hmm, apparently the algorithm was too much like the first one... :duh:

Perhaps it should be left to someone else to explain the algorithm...

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One :blink: and it's gone. That was fast. Did not see that one coming.

From this



m	a	A	L	A	B	A	M

n	b	b	m	b	a	z	l

o	c	c	n	c	z	y	k

p	d	d	o	d	y	x	j

Q	E	E	P	E	X	W	I


N	E	V	A	D	A	n	e

o	f	w	b	c	z	m	d

p	g	x	c	b	Y	l	c

Q	H	Y	D	A	X	K	B


V	I	R	G	I	N	I	A

w	j	q	h	j	o	j	b

x	k	p	i	k	p	k	c

y	l	o	j	l	q	l	d

Z	M	N	K	M	R	M	E


t	A	B	O	R	T	a	b

u	b	a	p	q	s	z	c

V	C	Z	Q	P	R	Y	D

I can see :

1) IF word begins with vowel, THEN search for consonant at the end, start from there, ELSE start from beginning.

2) Initially go forward in the alphabet by N spaces. N=?? it's 1 for 5-letter commands, 2 for 6-letter commands, 3 for 7 and 8 letter commands?

3) Flip direction in the alphabet (backward/forward) when you encounter B,D,R,O,G (all are closed-curve letters, except for G - so maybe just letters that have at least a curve: B,C,D,G,J,O,P,Q,R,S,U?)

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Posted · Report post

One :blink: and it's gone. That was fast. Did not see that one coming.

From this



m	a	A	L	A	B	A	M

n	b	b	m	b	a	z	l

o	c	c	n	c	z	y	k

p	d	d	o	d	y	x	j

Q	E	E	P	E	X	W	I


N	E	V	A	D	A	n	e

o	f	w	b	c	z	m	d

p	g	x	c	b	Y	l	c

Q	H	Y	D	A	X	K	B


V	I	R	G	I	N	I	A

w	j	q	h	j	o	j	b

x	k	p	i	k	p	k	c

y	l	o	j	l	q	l	d

Z	M	N	K	M	R	M	E


t	A	B	O	R	T	a	b

u	b	a	p	q	s	z	c

V	C	Z	Q	P	R	Y	D

I can see :

1) IF word begins with vowel, THEN search for consonant at the end, start from there, ELSE start from beginning.

2) Initially go forward in the alphabet by N spaces. N=?? it's 1 for 5-letter commands, 2 for 6-letter commands, 3 for 7 and 8 letter commands?

3) Flip direction in the alphabet (backward/forward) when you encounter B,D,R,O,G (all are closed-curve letters, except for G - so maybe just letters that have at least a curve: B,C,D,G,J,O,P,Q,R,S,U?)

Well, there are some good thoughts there, but some of it's a little off. I don't know if octopuppy has it all right. Maybe I just picked some bad starting codes and he was able to guess the blanks. :unsure:

Try these to help:

NORTHCAROLINA

SJWYMXVW

MISSISSIPPI

MOWMOWML

OHIO

LRKLLRKL

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Posted · Report post

I'm sure that:

3) Initially go forward unless you encounter letters that have at least a curve: B,C,D,G,J,O,P,Q,R,S,U which flip the direction in the alphabet (backward/forward)

Just saw that:

2) Distance forward/backward is constant = No. vowels in command e.g A+3=D.

And still thinking at the beginning-rule, MISSISSIPPI really broke my ideas so far.

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Password accepted. System shutting down.

:blink: Hmm, apparently the algorithm was too much like the first one... :duh:

Perhaps it should be left to someone else to explain the algorithm...

Oops! It was only a guess :blush:
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Posted · Report post

Oops! It was only a guess :blush:

Well, apparently it was a really good guess. :D

As the algorithm's still a mystery, I'll post a couple more:

UTAH

SRYFWVCJ

FLORIDA

IOLULAXC

NEWYORK

PGYAMTMP

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Posted · Report post

I'd like to request ALASKA, IOWA and MASSACHUSETTS please!

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I'd like to request ALASKA, IOWA and MASSACHUSETTS please!

ALASKA

DODPHXXI


IOWA

LLTXFRZD


MASSACHUSETTS

EOWEYDYO

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ALASKA

DODPHXXI


IOWA

LLTXFRZD


MASSACHUSETTS

EOWEYDYO

As requested, the duds are flying in:

ALASKA

PHXXIXVN

IOWA

LTXFRZDL

MASSACHUSETTS

EOWEYDYO

Well, you were right on one, close on a another and a little off on the third. Maybe this will crack it open. I'll try to post more throughout the day and as requested. :thumbsup:

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Still puzzled. I'd like to see CALIFORNIA. It's a long shot but I'm guessing that would be NFXVGDAT

I'd also like to see some more 1st letters that we haven't seen yet, but I don't want to hog the requests...

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Still puzzled. I'd like to see CALIFORNIA. It's a long shot but I'm guessing that would be NFXVGDAT

I'd also like to see some more 1st letters that we haven't seen yet, but I don't want to hog the requests...

Well there's something a little off in your calculations... :o

CALIFORNIA

FQNKJWSN

RHODEISLAND

NDSZAEWP

WYOMING

AMKGLIYA

As requested! :D Anyone else ready to take a crack at cracking the code? :P

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Posted · Report post

Still not seeing any particular pattern.

How about GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, and LOUISIANA?

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Still not seeing any particular pattern.

How about GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, and LOUISIANA?

Well, as you're keen to guess...

GEORGIA

IKVCEWKI

KENTUCKY

GPVSEMAM

LOUISIANA

RIAOMCUH

You probably have all the more obvious bits figured out, but this is the part that's different from any of the other algorithms. ;)

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Posted · Report post

Still no idea on how you begin the conversion.

Need to take a small break because I'm looping over the same ideas :(

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I have a theory. Let's test it!

ARIZONA

ENEVSREE

IDAHO

LAXERLAX

OREGON

DRQLUHDR

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Posted (edited) · Report post

:D I would bet against your bet for ARIZONA as it goes against any pattern I still have hope for.

OREGON seems plausible.

Can't tell for IDAHO.

Edited by araver
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Posted · Report post

:D I would bet against your bet for ARIZONA as it goes against any pattern I still have hope for.
All the better to test my theory! :thumbsup:
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All the better to test my theory! :thumbsup:

Well, had the missiles been armed, they would have blasted Arizona, Idaho and Oregon off the face of the Earth. All three were dead on. :D

Bringing them all together...

ALABAMA

QEEPEXWI

NEVADA

QHYDAXKB

VIRGINIA

ZMNKMRME

NORTHCAROLINA

SJWYMXVW

MISSISSIPPI

MOWMOWML

OHIO

LRKLLRKL

UTAH

SRYFWVCJ

FLORIDA

IOLULAXC

NEWYORK

PGYAMTMP

ALASKA

PHXXIXVN

IOWA

LTXFRZDL

MASSACHUSETTS

EOWEYDYO

CALIFORNIA

FQNKJWSN

RHODEISLAND

NDSZAEWP

WYOMING

AMKGLIYA

GEORGIA

IKVCEWKI

KENTUCKY

GPVSEMAM

LOUISIANA

RIAOMCUH

ARIZONA

ENEVSREE

IDAHO

LAXERLAX

OREGON

DRQLUHDR

It looks like you're ready to wrap this up octopuppy!

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OK it's wrapping up time, let's see if I'm right

Count the vowels in the command, that's your offset amount. Letters will be offset positively or negatively.

Consider letters odd or even based on their place in the alphabet.

odd : ACEGIKMOQSUWY

even : BDFHJLNPRTVXZ

(interestingly vowels are all odd so that probably helps with figuring it out)

Go through the command as long as there is an odd-even-odd-even pattern. First letter to break the pattern is your starting point (if you get to the end, start at 1st letter).

Begin with a positive offset but whenever you hit a letter drawn with a curve (including starting letter) swap between positive and negative.

How did I do?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

True if you ask me.

Kudos for sinking it from the first try :thumbsup:

Edited by araver
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OK it's wrapping up time, let's see if I'm right

Count the vowels in the command, that's your offset amount. Letters will be offset positively or negatively.

Consider letters odd or even based on their place in the alphabet.

odd : ACEGIKMOQSUWY

even : BDFHJLNPRTVXZ

(interestingly vowels are all odd so that probably helps with figuring it out)

Go through the command as long as there is an odd-even-odd-even pattern. First letter to break the pattern is your starting point (if you get to the end, start at 1st letter).

Begin with a positive offset but whenever you hit a letter drawn with a curve (including starting letter) swap between positive and negative.

How did I do?

That's the algorithm in a nutshell. I liked the idea of the parity test to pick the shift point. I didn't really think about the possibility that the vowels might cause complications (or perhaps "simplifications" would be a better term :lol: ) since they were all odd. :wacko:

It seemed like it would be a little stronger than your first algorithm to use a variable number for adding or subtracting the letters for each character, so I decided to do a vowel count.

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True if you ask me.

Kudos for sinking it from the first try :thumbsup:

Thanks, it was fun to do that!

At the time my best guess was you started from the 1st letter if it was a consonant, otherwise take the last consonant. So it was pretty much dumb luck that it came out right. It's ironic that the hardest parts of the last 2 games were easily beaten by guessing. I suppose that's always a danger with one-off operations.

Good games nevertheless!

Shame we haven't more people playing. Is there anybody playing this silently? Own up, I'd just like to know.

I have a couple of ideas brewing now, so I could host the next if you want. Be warned though, I'm cranking up the difficulty level this time.

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Posted · Report post

I just sunk my half-brewed idea, so I'm free :)

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Posted · Report post

OK, Crack the Code 5 coming up...

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