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Treebeard's Stumper Answer
20 Sep 96

While we're off to CIMI at Catalina next week, there will be a full eclipse of the moon! Look for it on the night of September 26 just after sunset. Here's a Catalina Code to decipher while you pack for the trip:

CFNWCH BRG VRUNB JLAXBB CQN BNJ,
BJWCJ LJCJURWT RB JFJRCRWP OXA VN ...

This is a simple Caesar Cipher, with each letter shifted 9 places up the alphabet. Shifted back, the message reads

Twenty six miles across the sea,
Santa Catalina is awating for me...

The usual way to attack such cryptograms is to count letters knowing that the most common letters in English are ETAON... Kyle not only got the message, he also wrote a QBasic computer program to do it automatically!

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Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org