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One player plays the Evil Mastermind (that's me) 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 either one third of the clues posted at any given time, or 10 clues posted. 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 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" for 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!)

I'm hoping this will be a slight increment in difficulty from previous ones.

UPDATE: Here's all the clues so far

CALIFORNIA

MPWOHZGB

NEBRASKA

IWBXRBQD

VIRGINIA

JJPHBGHW

ARKANSAS

RBQVAWZY

CONNECTICUT

ODHWHHVU

MINNESOTA

OFXPUZRJ

NEWHAMPSHIRE

IBRAVIJW

NEWMEXICO

PFEHHPOF

OREGON

DLPPPWDL

ARIZONA

CNOZBYJC

KENTUCKY

FQWTFTCR

WISCONSIN

VFPQVHQD

HAWAII

ZJHIBEZJ

MISSOURI

VPVWHQJX

NORTHCAROLINA

IFBYNQJO

IOWA

DZJPDZJP

OHIO

JPNIJPNI

UTAH

UZKVUZKV

IDAHO

BKPHEBKP

MAINE

JODPZJOD

TEXAS

FCZXUFCZ

COLORADO

PWZGNGPR

KANSAS

BQVAXRBQ

MONTANA

QUZPZRPQ

ALABAMA

HBQZBRZH

FLORIDA

PWHEBMSP

RHODEISLAND

EFJXQBQG

INDIANA

HBPZJOEH

MARYLAND

BYBQBQEP

NEVADA

EZFBQFEZ

MISSISSIPPI

VIXVHAYH

NEWYORK

FFBNWROF

SOUTHDAKOTA

IEBTPUZX

DELAWARE

BEZYDFFQ

MICHIGAN

FKHJBQPH

WASHINGTON

XIJOLWNQ

NORTHDAKOTA

UIEBTPUZ

SOUTHCAROLINA

FBYNQJOB

TENNESSEE

OFXVDFVD

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39 answers to this question

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Posted · Report post

I'm hoping this will be a slight increment in difficulty from previous ones.

Meaning you'll get more states? :P

We'll see about that.

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Meaning you'll get more states? :P

We'll see about that.

You may be more switched on to the possibilities now, but I have made it harder to get a handle on this. No-one can stop me!!!

ARKANSAS

RBQVAWZY

CONNECTICUT

ODHWHHVU

MINNESOTA

OFXPUZRJ

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I expect you're all floundering now. Like fishes out of water. Flap little fishies, flap flap flap, while I rain down destruction upon your little fishy heads!! Ahahahaha!!!

NEWHAMPSHIRE

IBRAVIJW

NEWMEXICO

PFEHHPOF

OREGON

DLPPPWDL

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ARIZONA

CNOZBYJC

KENTUCKY

FQWTFTCR

WISCONSIN

VFPQVHQD

C'mon now, sing along with me everybody!

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads,

Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!

Fish heads can't stop nuclear armaGeddon,

They can't Ḍ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣͉̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̹̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̜̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̮̣̣̹̣̥̤̣̣̣̣̣̣̭̣̣̣̣͙O it, they're too DUMḄ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣͉̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̹̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̜̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̮̣̣̹̣̥̤̣̣̣̣̣̣̭̣̣̣̣͙.

Fish hEads, fish hɆa͏ds, roLy p̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣͉̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̹̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̜̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̮̣̣̹̣̥̤̣̣̣̣̣̣̭̣̣̣̣͙oly fish heads,

Fisḥ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̥҈hӕ̖̗̘̙̜̟̣̣̍̍̎̐̔̔̔̔dᴤ, fiSsh heads, blow them up, ̽B̘̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̽Ợ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̥̉̚Ộ̡̡̡̣̣̣̣̣̣̥̌M҉!!!

SING IṬ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̹͓̣̣̣̣̗̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣͍!!! ̥̥̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̀̂᷆̾U᷂᷾͑͑͑̾̽̔̓́̅̚̕Đ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̥͘͘͘͘͘͘Ḝ᷿R!!!̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣͉̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̹̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̜̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̟̣̣̟̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̮̣̣̹̣̥̤̣̣̣̣̣̣̭̣̣̣̣͙!

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Posted · Report post

Ahem. I do apologise for my earlier outburst. This often happens when I'm a bit late taking my medication in the morning. I'm much better now, the pretty colours are fading and I'm back in the bunker.

Right, down to work. What's on my to-do list for today? Ah yes... "Cleanse the scourge that is humankind from the face of the earth".

Well, no rest for the evil, these nukes won't launch themselves...

HAWAII

ZJHIBEZJ

MISSOURI

VPVWHQJX

NORTHCAROLINA

IFBYNQJO

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Posted · Report post

I'd like to request NORTHDAKOTA, NEWYORK, NEWJERSEY.

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Scratch that NORTHDAKOTA, NEWYORK, NEWJERSEY.

Please target IOWA, OHIO, UTAH next

then all will be something like abcdabcd

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Dammit, this could be my undoing!

Still, I can't refuse....

IOWA

DZJPDZJP

OHIO

JPNIJPNI

UTAH

UZKVUZKV

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Posted · Report post

YZZCSQUZ

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YZZCSQUZ
Not even close, mwuhahahaaa!

I'm intrigued about what your thinking might be for this....

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If it's not too late, I request IDAHO,MAINE, TEXAS.

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Not even close, mwuhahahaaa!

I'm intrigued about what your thinking might be for this....

Sure.

I see a logical pattern that varies in several places.

My current theory is that one rule applies to all letters and then a second rule also applies to those new letters.

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If it's not too late, I request IDAHO,MAINE, TEXAS.
That's probably a good plan, concentrating on the short ones. It's hard to get an algorithm that makes these as tough as the others.

IDAHO

BKPHEBKP

MAINE

JODPZJOD

TEXAS

FCZXUFCZ

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I expect you're all floundering now. Like fishes out of water. Flap little fishies, flap flap flap, while I rain down destruction upon your little fishy heads!! Ahahahaha!!!

NEWHAMPSHIRE

IBRAVIJW

NOOOOOO Not my home state! haha I have no clue how to solve this but i was reading this trying to get a better understanding haha

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That's probably a good plan, concentrating on the short ones. It's hard to get an algorithm that makes these as tough as the others.

That is my plan. So far it does not pay as much as I thought :)

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It's time for 3 more states to bite the dust!

COLORADO

PWZGNGPR

KANSAS

BQVAXRBQ

MONTANA

QUZPZRPQ

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I request

ABORT

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I request

ABORT

No problem, I just need to wiffle through the remaining states and I'll give you that one too :rolleyes:

ALABAMA

HBQZBRZH

FLORIDA

PWHEBMSP

RHODEISLAND

EFJXQBQG

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I'm surprised no-one's got this yet. Of the two ideas I had in mind, this is IMO the easier one to crack. It's also the quickest to perform that I've done so far.

INDIANA

HBPZJOEH

MARYLAND

BYBQBQEP

NEVADA

EZFBQFEZ

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33 down, 17 to go!

MISSISSIPPI

VIXVHAYH

NEWYORK

FFBNWROF

SOUTHDAKOTA

IEBTPUZX

Time to put a summary in the OP

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36 down, one more bunch and I'll equal my previous high score!

DELAWARE

BEZYDFFQ

MICHIGAN

FKHJBQPH

WASHINGTON

XIJOLWNQ

Any ideas brewing out there?

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I got the pattern but there are a lot of unknowns. I am working on it.

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Abort

QILOGWRK

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Request NORTHDAKOTA, SOUTHCAROLINA, TENNESSEE.

In time, don't hurry :D

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Abort

QILOGWRK

Hackers are not taking opposite sides, so:

for patterns in other 5-letter commands. (or 4-letters...)

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