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A nice problem from the Students’ Olympiad in Cryptography [Klausis Krypto Kolumne]

Here’s a nice crypto challenge I found in a paper about the Fourth International Students’ Olympiad in Cryptography. Can you solve it?

Last year, I wrote a blog post about a few challenges from the International Students’ Olympiad in Cryptography. This competition is organized by the University of Novosibirsk.


17 Olympic problems

The participants of the Student’s Olympiad in Cryptography have to solve a number of crypto-related challenges, most of which are mathematical in nature. The first Student’s Olympiad in Cryptography took place in 2014. There were editions in 2015 and 2016, too. The fourth Student’s Olympiad in Cryptography took place last year.

Blog reader and Zodiac Killer expert Davce Oranchak has now made me aware of a paper that describes the 17 problems of the fourth Student’s Olympiad in Cryptography along with the solutions. This paper is available online (to avoid spoilers, I will post the link later).

In the following, I will introduce problem #6 (“A music lover”), which is in my view the most interesting one. According to the paper, it is quite difficult. The solution is the name of a composer.


A music lover

As usual Alex listens to music on the way to university. He chooses it applying one secret code to the second one in his mind (Figure 2). Could you understand what music he is listening to right now?

1. You should invent a way how to apply one code to another.
2. Some arithmetic operations can also be used.

Can you solve this problem? If so, you can consider yourself a crypto olympic champion.

Further reading: Puzzle yourself through the Christmas season!


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