CIPHER MACHINES AND CRYPTOLOGY
Crypto Box Challenge
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The Challenge

The Crypto Box Challenge is a contest to decipher three scrambled pieces of text. You can download the Crypto Box software, a tool to transposition letters, to help you break the code. This is done by shuffling the rows and columns of the text square. Retrieving the original position of the letters has proven to be a real challenge due to the large number of possible moves and the complex way the letters travel around the square. Even the simplest shuffles with a few steps create a true brain-teasing puzzle.

The Challenge consists of three shuffled portions of text, numbered 1, 2 and 3. These are little poems in the English language. Each of these boxes has its own difficulty level. The easiest one is Box 3, which can be solved in only 5 steps. Box 2 is more challenging and needs 10 steps to be solved. Finally, we have Box 1, a most complex and challenging puzzle which requires 20 steps to complete. Cracking this one will put you on top of the ranking! What's in it for you? A place in the Table Of Honor and the respect of fellow codebreakers, crypto amateurs and puzzle freaks from all over the world!

You can also participate in the Elite Box Challenge! However, that one is much more difficult and we therefore recommend to first sharpen your skills by solving the Crypto Box Challenge on this page, although not mandatory.

Some useful tips on cracking the boxes:

  • The words are written out without any space or other character between them.
  • To limit the complexity there are never more than two successive identical steps.
  • The text is trailed with letters X to complete the box.

*** LATEST NEWS ***

  • Magnus Ekhall from Sweden is the ninth person in more than 14 years to solve all three boxes. Congratulations, Magnus!
  • You can still participate in the Crypto Box Challenge! Your results will be listed in the Table Of Honor
  • 79 codebreakers from 25 different countries have already joined the challenge.

How To Participate

The Crypto Box Challenge started on December 6, 2007. It is your task to shuffle the rows and columns of the box in such a way that the original text appears. Start by decrypting Box 3. If you succeed in cracking the box, you should send an e-mail with your full name, country, the plain text solution and the used key. Your position in the Table of Honor depends on the date of submission. It is only after cracking Box 3 that you are allowed to attack Box 2, and that box needs to be solved before you can submit the most difficult one, Box 1.

You can download the Crypto Box software on this website. This software is optional but very handy. You can copy and past the Challenge Boxes into the Crypto Box program by using the 'Box' menu, and start shifting the rows and columns. You can also use the program to create your own puzzles or even encrypt short messages. With every new step the encryption becomes stronger and more complex. Don't forget that the 20 steps key of Box 1 is just a small key!

Finally, if you deciphered a message, please do not publish or distribute the solution on the internet or elsewhere!


The Challenge Boxes




BOX 2
10 Steps
HTHLYTHXUG
TTHETINEHE
BOXAECRLTS
EVSRWIULCN
OMEEUTBYTA
SMAOTGUEBR
OKERHEKDYA
DSTREADALN
LTHPWORXSO
XUTEOUDOTX
BOX 1
20 Steps
RLITAEKXWW
WHETTSRYES
NAHWRTRDNW
SOWECWEAAE
EIOYHETHWK
RSGPYISYSE
OESHEDSPSC
EWTAAEXTWE
ETRSXNDEHE
EETEWHONXW



BOX 3
5 Steps
STARTHFHRS
EEREESIOAS
QCARYITNNO
STUASACLSE
AEEREREUOR
DRARFDAWCI
NSLENTTNRI
GGTURTIOTH
HECLETLEEE
SSHECIGSTX

TABLE OF HONOR
CRYPTO BOX CHALLENGE
Started on December 6, 2007


BOX 2

10 Steps


BOX 1

20 Steps

BOX 3

5 Steps
1 United Kingdom Derek Smyth Germany Olaf United States Dave Goodwin
2 Germany Klaus Becker Germany Bernard Right United Kingdom Carol Crook
3 Canada Richard Brisson Netherlands Hans Nelisse Germany Heinrich Jul
4 Belgium Mark van de Beek Netherlands Boris van Woerkom United Kingdom Daniel Fretwell
5 United Kingdom David Carpenter Netherlands Gerrit van Woerkom Netherlands Thomas Boersma
6 Canada Rod Israel George Lasry United Kingdom Steve Mundy
7 United States George Burdell Switzerland Matthias Engeler Germany Andreas R.
8 Belgium Jean-Marc Devroye Spain Rafael Pascual Spain Ant Simmons
9 Russian Federation Victor Bunchukov Sweden Magnus Ekhall United States James Keener
10 Germany Joachim Velten     Denmark Jens Joervad
11 Germany Guntram Gelke     United States R Lopez
12 Sweden Rickard Norlander     United States Jason Leong
13 Czech Republic Zdenek Berka     Sweden Sven Westerlund
14 Netherlands John Willemse     Australia Dave Raethel
15 United Kingdom John Le Long     France Alain Stephan
16 Canada Allan Young     United Kingdom Andy Fleming
17 United States David Guidos     United States Gerald C. Miller
18 Norway Trond Rognan     United States Marieta Hristova
19 Czech Republic Jan Dvorak        
20 India Muthuvel Murugan        
21 Belgium Frank Inklaar        
22 Belgium Florian Hopfmuller        
23 Netherlands Bart den Hartog        
24 South Afrika Robert Sadler        
25 United Kingdom Terence Turnbull        
26 Germany Michael Kaiser        
27 Germany Winfried Frühholz        
28 United States Mohammad Mufti        
29 Russian Federation Andrei Shishkin        
30 Netherlands Peter Hendriks        
31 Canada Peter Hardie        
32 Hong Kong Jack Sui-hin Mak        
33 Netherlands Richard Bootsman        
34 Netherlands Marti Teuns        
35 Germany Jan Beck        
36 Hungary Szilvia Lestyan        
37 United States Doug Adkins        
38 Netherlands Valentijn Scholten        
39 Brazil Daniel Rocha Furtado        
40 Nigeria Theresa Adigun        
41 Germany Norbert Biermann        
42 United Kingdom Christopher Dermer        
43 Switzerland Pascal Bühler        
44 Romania Lucian Florin Grigorita        
45 Netherlands Harmen Stoppels        
46 Switzerland Charles Schneeberger        
47 Finland Jukka Hautaluoma        
48 United States Madness        
49 Netherlands Ivana Belgers        
50 Australia Sherrie & Mark Dawe        
51 Germany Christian Crevecoeur        
52 France Pascal Pechard        
53 United Kingdom Andrew Cormie        
54            
55            


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© Dirk Rijmenants 2004. Last changes: 13 September 2022

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