Xenocrypts

If you have never attempted solving a Xenocrypt for fear of not knowing the language, you are performing a huge disservice to yourself. Many of the Xenos on the first page of the column are a lot easier than the Aristos and Pats that cause us so much pain.

Necessary tools are at a minimum. Bi-lingual proficiency is not among them. Although a foreign pocket dictionary is helpful, it is not required. Notice that all of the Xenocrypts on the first page of the column are constructed with a K1 or K2 keyword alphabets. Keyword Alphabet analysis is a most helpful asset to use when solving Aristocrat and Patristocrat ciphers. (See Chapter Five.) Other helpful tools are the ACA Xenocrypt Handbook available through our ACA Sales Person and foreign language sites on Internet Web sites.

Let’s take a look at the Spanish Xenocrypt in the MA 2003 Cm.

MA 2003 Cm, X-3. Spanish K2. (84) (todas las) Snow white.      JOE-O

E K   P F   J Q H P Y   S A K   K X   R Y J F E   V F E   O I F X J K E
s       a   d       o                 t o d a s   l a s       a   d   s

X Y B K V F E   E K   Z A K J K   K X H Y X R I F I   F V O A X
o     l a s   s           d           o   t   a     a l 

I F E O Y   F A R Y G Q Y O I F M Q H Y   J K V   F A R Y I.
a s   o   a   t o     o     a       o   d   l   a   t o

Look at the plaintext that is shown by simply fitting the crib (todas las) in the only place it will fit. Xeno cribs present excellent cipher entry points. Post impacted plaintext in red.

Now post the known plaintext letters to your K2 Keyword Alphabet to help you find additional plaintext. Red lettering will remind you of the correct crib letter placement. 

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)
F  J       V  Y   ER       (CT)

Educated Supposition #1 G =b, H =c, K =e, W =m, X =n, Z =p

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)
FGHJK      VWXYER       (CT)(Crib letters)

Educated Supposition #1 Plaintext Fill

EK PF JQHPY SAK KX RYJFE VFE OIFXJKE XYBKVFE EK ZAKJK
se  a d c o   e en todas las   andes no elas se p ede
KXHYXRIFI FVOAX IFEOY FARYGQYOIFMQHY JKV FARYI. encont a  al  n  as o a tob o  a  co del a to .

Spanish bilinguals or those with a Spanish pocket dictionary will most likely recognize plaintext words, eight, nine, eleven, twelve and fifteen. But such luxuries were not assumed in our original list of necessary tools.

Educated Supposition #2

We can safely assume that a vowel is needed for ciphertext letter “Q” in the third word. Ciphertext“Q” fits nicely for plaintext “i” in the K2 Keyword Alphabet. Ciphertext letters, O and P fit in nicely ahead of Q.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)
FGHJK OPQ  VWXYZ  ER       (CT)

Yielding the following plaintext:

EK PF JQHPY SAK KX RYJFE VFE OIFXJKE XYBKVFE EK ZAKJK
se ha dicho   e en todas las g andes no elas se p ede

KXHYXRIFI FVOAX IFEOY FARYGQYOIFMQHY JKV FARYI.
encont a  alg n  asgo a tobiog a ico del a to .

This should be enough plaintext for even those of us who may have the least acquaintance with the Spanish language. As we go on to make the educated suppositions that CT letters, A, I and S = pt letters, u, g and q, our keyword falls into place. Although we discontinued the crib red lettering above, it is helpful to be aware of letters known to be correctly placed.

A Note on Educational Reading

Speed-reading of educational material is appropriate for overview purposes only. Line by line understanding is a necessary requirement for that which we wish to permanently digest.

The Xenocrypt fundamental principles of which we speak are applicable to many other cipher types. The keyword alphabet recovery process is most useful in Aristocrats, Patristocrats and many of the Cipher Exchange crypts.

The Xenocrypt Handbook is an immeasurable aid as you begin to tackle the slightly more difficult Xenocrypt constructions, Edited and published by PHOENIX in 1996. it is available in the For Sale list of publications on page 14 of the ACA Cryptogram journal. The handbook is full of instructional material, foreign language word lists, frequency tables and statistical data. We will use it to solve the X-1 French Xenocrypt by OMEGA entitled “Consolation” that appeared in MA 2003 issue of the Cm.

MA, 2003 Cm, X-1. French K2. (97) (triste) Consolation. OMEGA

M Q   Q ' T D Y I X H I   I S   Y M Q I S F I   I Z   H T M Z   Q I Y

Q B X R I Y   G B S Y   Y I Y   E I C P.   M Q   Q C M   V X I S G   Q B

R B M S,   Q B   Y I X X I   I Z   G M Z  G T C F I R I S Z:   " S I

Y T M Y   V B Y   Z X M Y Z I.”

We place the crib “triste” under ciphertext letters ZXMYZI. This is the only place the crib will fit and generates the following plaintext:

MQ Q’TDYIXHI IS YMQISFI IZ HTMZ QIY
i      ser e e  si e  e et   it  es

QBXRIY GBSY YIY EICP. MQ QCM VXISG
r es    s ses  e    i    i  re

QB RBMS, QB YIXXI IZ GMZ GTCFIRISZ:
    i      serre et  it     e e t:

“ SI YTMY VBY ZXMYZI.”
  e s is   s triste.

Highlight these placements in red lettering.

K2 Keyword Alphabet:

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)

    IJKLM        XYZ       (CT)


Let’s see what additional plaintext we can gather with our Xenocrypt Handbook French word list:

  • MQ = i_     becomes MQ = il
  • IS = e_     becomes IS = en
  • QCM = l_i   becomes QCM = lui
  • QB = l_     becomes QB = la
  • GMZ = _it   becomes GMZ = dit
  • VBY = _as   becomes VBY = pas
  • YTMY = s_is becomes YTMY = sois

Check what the additions of plaintext letters, l, n, u, a, d, p, and o do to the Keyword Alphabet.

K2 Keyword Alphabet Update:

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)
B  GIJKLM  Q STV XYZC      (CT)

Educated Suppositions

R = m, W = q and DF =bc (Ciphertext C has already been used and ciphertext E is more likely to be part of the keyword than ciphertext D or F.

K2 Keyword Alphabet/Plaintext Update:

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (pt)
BDFGIJKLM  QRSTVWXYZC      (CT)

MQ Q’TDYIXHI IS YMQISFI IZ HTMZ QIY
il l’obser e en silence et  oit les

QBXRIY GBSY YIY EICP. MQ QCM VXISG
larmes dans ses  eu   il lui prend

QB RBMS QB YIXXI IZ GMZ GTCFIRISZ:
la main la serre et dit doucement

“ SI YTMY VBY ZXMYZI.”
ne sois pas triste.

Complete the missing letters and you will generate the keyword.

Here’s another:

X-2.. Italian. K2. Poetico.     (placidi)    LIONEL

LPUK  L  PZGHK  JL’  MGZUBAB  OZB,  GK  PMGLJALJRL  SJBTLOPK  Z  TLALO,  Z  QOSUBZO 
JL  G’’ZIKO  UEL  QOZIZB,  UEL  JKJ TKGGB  NSB  BIMSOK  HKALO.

Internet users can call up, Freelang, a collection of two way dictionaries in 42 languages at

http://www.freelang.net/dictionary/index.html