Who is Cicada 3301?
Page 4: Reddit - Was King Arthur a Mayan?
The previous clue let us to this Reddit page. Anybody could have created this Reddit page, called a subreddit, just like anybody could create a Facebook or Twitter account. That means we still don't know who is behind Cicada 3301. Whoever created this particular page configured it so nobody else can post anything. That's handy because the page has changed very little since it was created in 2012.
The subreddit has a bunch of funny symbols and posts that make no sense. The top post, the one titled "
Valēte!", is newer than the others. As you can see by the image it links to, that post was added after the puzzle was completed. If you had been following this puzzle back in January 2012, that post wouldn't have been there. All the other posts are still the same except that they're no longer in order.
It turns out that the original post order is crucial yet not trivial to determine. For those of you interested in the details, check out the blue box. For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead.
Order is Important
When this puzzle was first created, back in 2012, the posts were being added one at a time by an automated script. Reddit displayed most of the posts in order and the fact that new posts were being added slowly was a hint that order was important. Now, years later, the posts are shown in order of popularity rather than the order they were created. This ruins the puzzle because the original order is critical. Without it, deciphering the clue is nearly impossible.
To make matters worse, Reddit does not show the post's exact timestamp, it only shows a summary such as "posted 4 years ago." You can hover over that text for an exact date but doing so for every post is impractical. This is an unfortunate side-effect of how Reddit works and was probably not intended by the puzzle's creator(s).
No worries, there is a work around! By adding
.json to the end of any Reddit url, the page will be returned in JSON format instead of HTML. If you've never heard of JSON, don't worry about it, the important point is that it returns the raw data that can be manipulated with Java, mySQL, C++, Excel or however you prefer to manipulate data. There are 188 posts so you could even use a text editor if you're patient enough.
I have compiled the database for you. Below are the titles of all the original posts. For any
code monkeys reading this, here's a JSON file with all the posts and here's some PHP code to decipher it.
2012-01-05 03:19:23: Ukbn Txltbz nal hh Uoxelmgox wdvg Akw; hvu ogl rsm ar sbv ix jwz
2012-01-05 11:46:17: mj otukj; mul nimo vaa prrf Qwkkb aak kau ww Ukpsf, ogq Kzpox vvl luf
2012-01-05 13:01:31: Welcome
2012-01-06 05:37:08: yh Q srjfa, hvu Ktp hzs lbn ph Kipsy; ttv Sdmehpfjsf tad igr
2012-01-06 05:46:28: rcbkfgaplvj am uswr erwptk la hox cazkwn. Agk wx wm fhpwln ds ztov
2012-01-06 13:28:03: djoa mnwdl ers t wcjhxe au Crdjiy'l vsxhkv, talfw ktf nppe. Qnsdecqp
2012-01-06 15:09:30: Qcjhxrnmdz nal avwfx, ncuknq cg whxlqy, bf wxsqgax t ufutc cbk
2012-01-06 15:09:33: cvfhgmwdz, ied mv fwqxvvf vhoo kpmn zauwlr, tur lc bafptm djst hl ltl
2012-01-06 15:09:58: wcbuxxk mul tulaceg hs tig Cywfa; ttv fv lzrxjh lvhfe xjo mcal mu ltl
2012-01-06 15:13:08: R czs hx la apv pklgwbvr-cicmlgf, hgj ltvav wav qsax go ucko wd aakad swugbuu.
2012-01-06 15:13:28: Sp hox iwzazv oy avw qanmcgr Ukbn Txltbz jam bdgb t febv op iflxt
2012-01-06 15:13:45: bwgoxy, ghlz nhbjv ool fpsgan c qvokjuuo ff ysoes-vblpwrof ghmof, mul
2012-01-06 15:14:31: k e izaogz vn iew zolwg jat wnngf oby wxiwn.
2012-01-06 15:14:40: Djsu Txltbz jphrs, "At B ghpwgrv mvn cggsl eom kwkdteahg mo," uopw
2012-01-06 15:19:49: rg, "W dhadp ztvei dvazx V wbkt pqf tr xwbhak; agk mgi vnn fptothhbt
2012-01-06 15:20:00: yps hgu ltlz nimo fwztgioi tknsz, ttv ohv fbmhwf o yyahqn yh altj szk
2012-01-06 15:22:00: cqa l fksf mzfm Dhw." Sbw ghf Mixi klgz la ztvei. Hbv Yraoo vho ucu
2012-01-06 15:25:09: yh Q srjfa habew Roa the tict gjwja Gjfoci htk djcfvsff trga. "P,
2012-01-06 15:25:23: dqc, dbrd thd v tal ugcw gamg wrkqo ak hdvuzsxk hg ax," fajf Kkk.
2012-01-06 15:25:52: "Xcm," hgyoqymu Krucf, "ttvrft wsnz pm hw rvz khxl hg tnyfjnl
2012-01-06 15:26:57: Kthonx'k nlpvsm, pb lvx sisut znojx, gfp apvn pl kaze gemn trgs aak
2012-01-06 15:26:58: lgga mgdq a prt pl yfcp." Fo Lci ggba mu ltl sztvosf ogq tp vho oshw-
2012-01-06 15:27:11: mgzstx, szk zvtnybwr urasknq c tstm gz vn detk ofr t tomfex iciekl,
2012-01-06 15:28:05: k pr h agfpmcc oy zywkxes, vrox yvpvn oqym srhpzwr vblmqpc qt txgl.
2012-01-06 15:28:53: Dj su mnwk hbv tal qgzebpt cnn dsntt la kzznd avw axnd. "Oqw," ccwk
2012-01-06 15:28:59: Ucw, "pm ok fpuv fhy mgi mb gjxe wg af lzgdf." "Spnhu," gsww Bwbkn,
2012-01-06 15:29:18: "nq hoha hmf bf Ktp hzs mnlf vhkv wz aok pbm." "Krnsm," kobq Kz pox,
2012-01-06 15:30:07: "djc b txw aslvr, tur sfm n bfvtot hlerwd vn kaelg, sbw uatv sogb thxw
2012-01-06 15:31:33: wcfcxrdaba khbuuk hann J; fo djcb mnwdlnfrx woq Ytv hju tkns."
2012-01-06 15:33:10: " Lgupg zzkzmcf," jbclv Hjajp, "wsvv aak tqzb khta hzcn xnpyecv." "W
2012-01-06 15:33:13: gkzs wu ka," hvjw xysv Yraoo.
2012-01-06 15:34:08: "S yoz mnw autp shu cx ar zouje b cbk ygltlz, rnw P ksg xkcfgdspusr
2012-01-06 15:34:32: kudpkofs, hvu mr kojwgt wbu votm nkksf. P byonnvl harrf yac pc
2012-01-06 15:34:36: op hlkvjuzm zn mos ockyd uqo wkuome xay uv, agk oxhxe I icd kevpxbwp
2012-01-06 15:36:05: knz aak spcmetnysk hant xgro kb tr uoz jwlnmym, A sjhiqren omzxrx,
2012-01-06 15:37:27: kpr zxz x ayby th qcmfgry ujrywuo wkkqybj agk ragmnnu teqkcul. Gfp hb
2012-01-06 15:38:13: vgbnmn af jprnvlr lvtg I dcmo vc aak xmpzvsm codzxl io vho ycyej,
2012-01-06 15:39:35: gjsyxof ilzv tklsk cy rqvcl qtcdmn; szk i iiolf jog ghsquqj hox
2012-01-06 15:41:03: fczsxe, s zk i gamo ksg ul tig ssfs vy zzq yqmek. Hbv W yblmqwof hox
2012-01-06 15:41:08: zcho ntlus uzd-whm, sbw poovixw sk fe babzeer hzgbz ghf tewcwuwkj am
2012-01-06 15:42:51: djs ctrdqf cetbs hzs xieoknq; cbk tz ltl motklaahr bf b rlkkb P vgeq
2012-01-06 15:43:02: dq o stxyq hvu lnzhjcnf Cbutvg, oa mnw rvwk oy dvaqa jat c tytflgz.
2012-01-06 15:44:16: Kpr P tvhd vithxk hzs Vnsune, kpr aakjq P jvhxsr lkh lovvhc ywaa
2012-01-06 15:49:11: igzshc u gytznz ooaf, xnci yidj o mkuffsmk oy ncdr ncoo jic jshw, gfp
2012-01-06 15:49:26: mnok bt s sh zdega cx mxylpy skvwu, ttv fomp htk ugzw plbupc wdvg
2012-01-06 15:49:44: djspk ofeamgs. Bu hzs anne qf ocqo hl ltlu nal hb ajhey cqw, cvfbgm
2012-01-06 15:51:42: gk ho mnw epvvwl vt lvx ftbi; axf hoxoj myzfwl oov ganfuu op vvl uufq
2012-01-06 15:52:59: yh h ox czmsm, rnw dsjs pvnhgd gkho iksovkb's ylolvxes; uje cjommy
2012-01-06 15:56:13: kngv agv svtueg ossrl. Nne vhoa vhw jssnm is pphz pendfu op icsw, gfp
2012-01-06 15:57:01: gkho aodfz ww ta l pgbx bf uje gjosx. Gfp apvy plfw gabouknq vvlbx vmnovrl.
2012-01-06 15:57:03: "Kpr h eolfs m nar mfga muen K sky o ttt az apv pkpaw cy yigg, wsvv
2012-01-06 15:57:18: rkg ixgjp umnlr zvgfg, plbf ix c fvuk szk i dagazw cy lemnog uoabt;
2012-01-06 15:58:00: k pr yhafp apv thw cx vbf mbptvg khl g tmul ff zvzv ztpe. Pp hsu tlxz
2012-01-06 15:59:02: ggfl lngqz ww vty wwutgee nekvvlk, lseameew im lkh ootuec qt nhrv.
2012-01-06 15:59:13: Gjs u B ysi oqd, I plbl hhjasfs rka hgj kmsckew owe, ogq sveh gcg oby
2012-01-06 16:00:19: mqiym kkk aprt al bg ghbnft roespokv yf oiexawfu muao je bghbktwp pb.
2012-01-06 16:00:45: Kpr ox cwza ezta ts lcpnreu trg Qhlzdq. Uwn talfw kxee oq dggzsxxk
2012-01-06 16:01:22: sp hox Iseatv eqjshh mu otg wrq klkk az vvv htsz. Sbw ghfte S uod
2012-01-06 16:02:31: pqiy-ttv-fdmetr koegxys, fobbqwkxxazn artbu ol o pvneqw. Kpr a aok U
2012-01-06 16:02:38: dgzs mnwq, Riz, tahh lvx yebut pcwy hl ltlu nal moafxe ticn djs
2012-01-06 16:03:05: pcwyxyl yhqu tavi zolg ewgr lgvlej a z apv Ilsofr hs Bsktkkb, hgj ltl
2012-01-06 16:03:07: vgozm rghltp oy avwa pns nqro nccxrq foie Gplbzkrias, vho y wmx ux
2012-01-06 16:05:50: Kthonx, otl v jhx ook oicebten nccxraqzb rt mos Gtyrrjpg, yp hox jsk
2012-01-06 16:09:25: yh ho x Tsfpdztr, vf sh mue ggacv cm Xgkflz. Khxf fggx hp bv mi
2012-01-06 16:10:39: mqapgm, szk azx hm hzsf gopm mi jcylk, szk lzvxzhwr fr og oy ktavnx;
2012-01-06 16:11:54: kpr zbd gfomis mvcc ar nrnu, axf khlnwp apvm bu o nslfem wndkz aakq
2012-01-07 15:03:16: ggfl ikjrlkklr if auag. Aof trg hobxv epf jpklov qebtiu uzqb aak
2012-01-07 19:27:45: Problems?
2012-01-07 21:00:04: dcpsxy szk xieihfwr frau. Cnn vvl yumdap ji q acgy hsf na sykzlw
2012-01-08 03:08:40: qcftxtle, hvu pehqwr hghfts ercu fk; fmtmcy, tu ifrxe-vfut kpr h
2012-01-08 09:17:40: n qiiekl am nznx swfsg, nne c ryds, hgj s ebztota, ofr t zaovlo qt
2012-01-08 15:02:12: igzshc kmaqe wba v s pkbae iovf phgj mbvv khx tofher. Aof trgm weguqk
2012-01-08 21:06:20: mwgobufe iwkh ulbwomu aof abqiuw sw, ipby chcsjwgts ph rof zpgkf; mul
2012-01-09 03:09:08: S uoa wuoz. Uwn ta l gal fniegnc yvv agv fhsvn ff vgflr, uojabpszlkv
2012-01-09 09:06:01: r ka, hl cwxs ij iy avwm and cgex vvl ukkf zyliklg ab mue Julkpr vy
2012-01-09 15:18:41: Ltwatof. Fome, bxocdr, muez dryw uom hgisa ff lpznsk jhftesp khl
2012-01-09 21:02:29: gchlk zg iha y, agk hgkxys ph lspsu, lueq nzveg hbv ghze xjidg; ouw O
2012-01-10 03:13:25: gcgoxj. Szk qe a ep hlzx jhjne djs ttt kma lfwg ac lvx gacne. Kpr P
2012-01-10 09:00:54: cch uxdl fv pzm, tur tsebw ng skv ose zzq tizdxug, wlvrpu vhyus dau
2012-01-10 15:08:26: gcwaxj gz ba. Rnw avw htolf yac qt zbrnqy, ied mos uzhght wpyp hox
2012-01-10 21:17:52: dcpsx cwdl ww lbusf; ogq np xecuss pgk elzmew bdgb mue ucbvg hotz omz
2012-01-11 03:19:43: xqh lbzzqy ww ghsr gf hs sjnvot, cy hl tgmnrlh-ocjb. Tad pwr wgoa
2012-01-11 09:09:32: gcg ikumsob ko nz. Ofr orrjny, Ucw, P lgo fomie xcsjm lbru qf wgoa
2012-01-11 15:00:51: kpr lokjk zwit hm zaenbr ujad K vhok whlz jexu sdgxjhfte; lwh aak
2012-01-11 21:15:17: wgoa ttv fom cijbcj kxee cgtdgf zxxnqk byekl hzog V hbxe oxsy lkwz
2012-01-12 03:06:46: djst bt szf wkhxy ddovr.
2012-01-12 09:10:02: "Ephpe zzq ymgala ksg anlg qvot, blbzzqy bye fhb fck nnz qno qt aak
2012-01-12 15:12:32: ncazxrk ewwbe t zwfuer wptd dq al; ual iome tal asb irrdgifgr aagl ua
2012-01-12 21:09:23: gqisw hw yvzv azyswouye uq mo vc jhtnqyav tahb lc xnt bpy wqfl, ak
2012-01-13 03:14:37: lguhg zg uuylikl cx ax jhp K wku. W ztov U dij gehr lc yvne vhkv
2012-01-13 09:05:36: djsyx cse zwde hus ovh jovnd nkgjhajel ezta ts, sbw ghbv id yoz gul
2012-01-13 15:10:03: mqbzbjwdll jo zyssh t prjoe kv hotz Uabzk fhy dwciye uq hynr jhtnqyav
2012-01-13 21:01:06: dqulmnwd. 'Jpzeyaoab,' lnie vho oou, 'pk oabtu htcs loexee vo djsl
2012-01-14 03:11:58: cqcuxx, tga ev fxhfwr mb djutetp aakw pbzznz avq fxcatv; nyy,
2012-01-14 09:13:23: rqklokj, il ezle kwkqhhrtg.' Trgb P mudp apv mtu kzc B jat, cnn yvhm
2012-01-14 15:07:21: gcg aak umbav oy tm bcnenfa; axf ghbj lthb Z wtz gwsdvnh yhovvlk gfk
2012-01-14 21:10:42: yps dty kgwmiihy hg ax, br xjedjsy B iggsl xabu hzs fnsugri qjlk gdx.
2012-01-15 03:04:50: Djs ttt davsvd nwcf ax, nne je cowsxj szk ariw, 'Pt A rbq npv focf ah
2012-01-15 09:12:47: nkgakkke apve mvc eivu, I xquvf gohc ltlm khta kzwvu tiqu cgsrxyl.'
2012-01-15 15:06:57: Ercu mnae P jvctts sbqvovu axf gvkxgimcc, agk kzsg ghf oax rsyvkahll
2012-01-15 21:00:09: sv, vl lgap, 'Pn khhb kgieqetv rkvvlk zzma Q jhhbzv gabw ujeo vvf
2012-01-16 03:07:14: nkghwbszaixe moof havnf cdfcbatmw, U dqcl wv gg. Gereq jebg hv-
2012-01-16 09:10:16: xkuom, gfp pv khx tcjbbag bticg shkrq, mul kadl hzs kbae wpgcfkl
2012-01-16 15:03:50: djfvnmz fom maessq iggim vhyw fltizqzb khx dcgr murpwgr yvpvn ltvc
2012-01-16 21:19:40: mcallz zuapvr. T swlher wba wsvvpg zzq dwfd mocm kbyt nged ywaa g
2012-01-17 03:15:34: bqok uxszjpznz vtx hh ghf tiqjh, ir czujp khhb amgm crpeeof, iumod
2012-01-17 09:12:23: djcb vueqzb ko t sojux fhfntotsk zrspl ezta h agigq io vho esumxw.
2012-01-17 15:11:34: Kpr aaum iptk sxl o tztpk ncn yh uyxgl eaikukl cf har tpr op vvl
2012-01-17 21:15:45: wqiuw. Nw uz vft ltodzxe io uijg hott liv ww tal awb hs tiks gqfsw.
2012-01-18 03:11:40: Rg vhl hmf vvv fhvh; sbw bnf gyo kb aak euklce hm vag ybrfjekf. Ouw
2012-01-18 09:15:30: rg vhl g uxbj ff bycf, ogq iu ks mgfatof foik talfw okr np vwy osu bt
2012-01-18 15:14:58: djs dhxdp dpf whbzv bhg fjpd djspk hmdkme ig avsh vyuc. Cnn js pl
2012-01-18 21:04:26: xqh h vueqsg dag, iil cg ghf eoxvfhke zq pa vxvlsvwgtlz klv-hochajqk;
2012-01-19 15:14:32: kpr ox ok fom nohkksfw bf ujad ycvw. Gfp apfu ppzl gxr a ujoeuouw
2012-01-19 21:16:06: gkzk ttayhtj gkhnabz nrpwnn jwt. Btigpzv oy owe har wba oev cm mnw
2012-01-20 03:04:41: qnokx, gfp om nies fwdel tp vhog pybkxxf, ied ppzd dhvnu qud vvl kusp
2012-01-20 09:16:40: la kobiz fowl sahzl tbad ujad yvpvn ltvc rrm pb iixft ph.'
2012-01-20 15:09:16: "Kpr shty elmdew avsh gvgiv ty os. Hgj ltl vvxm tcjbbag J cryus hgj
2012-01-20 21:16:48: osipivwp tgjeem, ofr fbuoven om ohxkq, hvu pkvqwswrd tvrkkuom zzdvcxh
2012-01-21 03:07:34: djs ctrdqf bf tal kgcw; nne K fynzvpkv fom trhzg-jctq wikcr vvl fgf
2012-01-21 09:10:27: rcr whoffll fum ac es, mvlm ct vgbnmn A myzzvxk ol har gmcdo. Cbk
2012-01-21 15:02:36: djsyx cse P byrxl haaxf mpte kuhvgoktll rt mos fifoes qf gkzk ttayhtj
2012-01-21 21:16:46: djoa B hwtltu, tahb lvx zao jan uopw O ktvccd ul. Ofr mue cnamm ahg
2012-01-22 03:00:22: gcg aakjq, zqktbuu mdha tig tyr cm mnw yvced. Abuw cy ftbvubg oz mnw
2012-01-22 09:00:28: wcb otj lasl de mool vx jat, K fywbk aoe fv mocxlr tm ynr uje
2012-01-22 15:03:33: nggjkohfpwe hx oov ubieo oe yh vpf. Gk rvz khx pfgb vyuc yhsev aak
2012-01-22 21:11:57: wcb otj lasl de phg s pnedfp fyt hdh swz, P id cxyhswg, Xaj, vhkv wa
2012-01-23 03:05:59: gqisw hw m omrvr dsauag fpt fywf dtxjuvzj th swxh; tad ujic yoz bt
2012-01-23 09:19:56: djs ieguw tie's ahbv. Ogq hf qnva gwhqw fv uv ig hbkkxe tp oy
2012-01-23 15:19:45: awszmogzz. Byeg P okyxq hjo wrch whcwd om yeek cnsk ghpue kpwttrk.
2012-01-23 21:10:10: 'S ywse yzad byex, swlher mbp,' skkr ox. Gfp om kohr vag vyuc kn rkg
2012-01-24 03:05:53: rcbk, ttv ipby im os khkhcl c sdcu h zxwma jcop zc lvtg hf drkask
2012-01-24 09:00:51: fgvlfkffsg, rnw hh zwl orbaixi hox gfutics vhaw hhteujeb, cg unswdvcj
2012-01-24 15:09:25: ku hox ylmya zn mos kyr, fo ujad kh dty vumnzcnsh xck ze uq fspr yhue
2012-01-24 21:18:57: sp hox mdmkm ko laofr tzooi trga. Aakjq dmie llfhsggs, bpd ntonhtk,
2012-01-25 03:15:05: kpr kbbwdz afrmz cx ogvmbns. Kpr ox rgarmu am avwa, tad ccdo vvlf mg
2012-01-25 09:06:23: kpr mxkv; mul khxf pgkxq tigib jshwy, szk lzd apa zcfngf cs fcgztrk fv byeby zgfw.
2012-01-25 15:08:05: "Djsu mnw nsitk fhb kobq tp oe, 'Cgszm zzab vfw, ephlzx zao, yhkv
2012-01-25 21:17:02: zqklk O zasl fvxy hzslr aokmkng?' Aakf U pvhubysv cy uin vho yof,
2012-01-26 03:09:19: kpr ox hwohuv vxym jcnth jp hsu ahgtwd aw de; avkwjxe, hf csugr tx
2012-01-26 09:10:29: gjwaakj U dwllw nc? Sbw jhfp I dqzk aoe iow Z wtz ofr puau K sywuom,
2012-01-26 15:18:31: rg rpkkufll de. 'Mhyw,' gtvd ig, 'trch wtzz foik lxhrk hhjasfs djs
2012-01-26 21:08:11: rgok hl ltl ocawl, ofr tfcfpd djs dhuvqk akexw ifhby tiqu mqallz la
2012-01-27 03:11:42: svg znseua; ied mosjs muov yivv tpgj sz vxvn lwous evkf vo k noyzk
2012-01-27 09:09:13: fczsxe, szk qe tal aarlg og kt k vose zjql, eyoll pjogphfu abg
2012-01-27 15:19:09: qtslgkj foie tal ujsxaetv psps-akkwe. Bvuek avag meef ks k hcbgzsuu,
2012-01-27 21:09:16: kpr ir zzq zque hm hzs ybuovasp o ttxtxl acau, hbv cg ghf oabdzl lrsn
2012-01-28 03:05:41: k uwsokj nvec, amaouvxq bz c crcwu hl kusdvr, lv hzom vt ncy xqh ix
2012-01-28 09:16:22: mcfybkv mdip. Ttrs lvx ooxn axf hokuo m iwnlybz gt pntft uzqb aak
2012-01-28 15:16:31: cnoi, ttv fowl wbsh zste a nkgrvm wxgd am byugksj, gh ghbv trqi dbrl
2012-01-28 21:11:48: djwud zzma pvaolb sbw rasvh kts akkensqeg pphz wmf fvty. Gkho mnw
2012-01-29 03:02:45: djiuwkj fomie ppzd qhze b uhyysy lu kqcmie mool wm jimn bo uqhkiw
2012-01-29 09:04:03: zqgzbhdq mwi tals lc xadvte sv ouw rahl. Ied mos kvhjes yivn pl hl
2012-01-29 15:03:45: rcwslzgzla; rnw htlsk ghf uhyysy, mnw ilikhxy kaze oedqmo hopk, hmf
2012-01-29 21:13:08: oxsyr rwmm byam dok iibn uje dtsl podx oime ulsf qterjgd kyof ue ltl
2012-01-30 03:14:43: cjcdxx. Ltlv r fepuzh hs bjtdc ywse igyl ied tswyvm hppp trg hyxk;
2012-01-30 09:15:52: kpr pg zzuum fwg jcmbmey ujoe fwklz fqcmi hxhf s gmeajp sy uklxz se
2012-01-30 15:02:09: djoa pnaoo byer dwdz lvnh. Cnn ch aak eatmet mocm okg mput ngzpznlqk
2012-01-30 21:02:00: gkho mnw evvx oy avw pbedt, vhyw kpez zqhz r mnyamfbag bpd
2012-01-31 03:04:10: mqawegazpvx chtwfu mbwbtdc vvlx gdauo khx codzxl. Aof trqi dbrl elm
2012-01-31 09:04:38: k mbpznl gwwe a vvod-pencl jobus, jeultll zn usouy orlwgt, kpr dbzz m
2012-01-31 15:18:04: zgbuht gr itrcd swfsg hppp hsu zhgiw; mul ye ppzd fbqe vpty vvlx zg
2012-01-31 21:08:55: opqvntlqy byex dwlv mue vvmyuh zikwp. Pn khhb tdsxft gtow jwt ak
2012-02-01 03:10:39: gkzs hbwdaibe mosw, ogq ig vhyw oibjwea byekl, ok gnee bu trqi hkz s
2012-02-01 09:02:33: wqiumkv wuqxhm, os owey lfcvo vvlx uf rvwk. Agk wx habu eqsd pca
2012-02-01 15:13:43: pkbk mxggitv ig avsh tqvfptets, aaum zlmuela bgh lrel kt nwfpgm ltl
2012-02-01 21:06:49: bgga hl ltf tzfx.'
2012-02-02 03:01:17: "Cq W qhajzlgvd hu, ifhby I sgamjsk mnw ebudim vt lvx ftfgp, kpr
2012-02-02 09:00:23: djsyx O xabvu eolfqhavnh cs djs ieguw tie htk rwgveicgd sv hv fk.
2012-02-02 15:07:57: Kpr P pkff bx ko mos lfxr, aof bopshmn af P arw mos xcnatbkn, kpr ir
2012-02-02 21:18:02: svg zbjw fom dakizw genb, bpd djs zbrnqy jfwe mokhxaee dy djs jagaz.
2012-02-03 03:10:30: Djsu B zgar bye uvkd, ogq cbut k dcdelmx vn namlf mdha tig svcp; hgj
2012-02-03 09:12:02: djsyxahau, jvhhsr, lvx ghvpdot qhfk, egjp dokl jacernu vhkp hox hdmjs
2012-02-03 15:19:23: wcb otj dqk uv th llhsvg; aof apvsy mnw focedxy qsax ghf uhyysy; ttv
2012-02-03 21:07:12: yh o akalt P bvle avws, Dni, ujad vvlkk ae umztalf eog aos dekuh aagl
2012-02-04 03:10:04: mcb lgjmdl byam zvgkxe aof lsxs. Mhx faa wee hm hzclr hbklcvcuxy
2012-02-04 09:03:22: gqisw hw eawgpxk, saharr ca trg tsxyz ay jp tal gcwg, hnukl sv vhw
2012-02-04 15:06:20: bgojakv fom sogl. W likaee oy rqfzx'y xxhvb thdojrl ghf uhyysy, ttv
2012-02-04 21:03:09: znojxj ltl jvad vt em luifnd yxsy aok tliu agk bwqd, jhjne S jssw zzq
2012-02-05 03:15:17: erdlk vsda ww im vjwf fl oxp hocr. Hgj ltba Z wbavkhhbd uje cjcdxx.
2012-02-05 09:12:50: Gjsu B rgarmu og avw hkre ujebg khl tgf h aznzss dsts uqqn sv, ouw
2012-02-05 21:08:29: djsu mnw erg sevhaw qeras, cnn ywaa zzma, jvhhsr lvx oisfs vkuomkv
2012-02-06 03:06:27: ercu mnw fymv, agk gsbz. Nne vrenm, Rto, A zldvr alojr tay nglyfm
2012-02-06 09:05:31: osihe zg foik, ebavwf urfpte yt gpgiw. Mul nhxu W ool zotv crcftxj
2012-02-06 15:15:15: gkho eokflvznz ac lvx oisfs, vq, o tnxegyqeg ovwus pns igabf hokumso
2012-02-06 21:13:46: djs ctrdqf, igpkvouvbag ng axf ghrofs, 'Vp, Bnbnvl, kant ics ltcbznl
2012-02-07 03:02:15: djsl aoltlz? Nhta snwe uawg I nqbl mu ltlm, khta hzcn fhpwlnuh hvz
2012-02-07 08:27:05: Valēte!
2012-01-05 03:19:23: King Arthur was at Caerlleon upon Usk; and one day he sat in his
2012-01-05 11:46:17: ch amber; and with him were Owain the son of Urien, and Kynon the son
2012-01-05 13:01:31: Welcome
2012-01-06 05:37:08: of C lydno, and Kai the son of Kyner; and Gwenhwyvar and her
2012-01-06 05:46:28: handmaidens at need lework by the window. And if it should be said
2012-01-06 13:28:03: that there was a porter at Arthur's palace, there was none. Glewlwyd
2012-01-06 15:09:30: Gavaelvawr was there, acting as porter, to welcome g uests and
2012-01-06 15:09:33: strangers, and to receive them with honour, and to inform them of the
2012-01-06 15:09:58: manners and customs of the Court; and to direct those who came to the
2012-01-06 15:13:08: H all or to the presence-chamber, and those who came to take up their lodging.
2012-01-06 15:13:28: In the centre of the chamber King Arthur sat upon a seat of green
2012-01-06 15:13:45: rushes, over which was spread a covering of flame-coloured satin, and
2012-01-06 15:14:31: a c ushion of red satin was under his elbow.
2012-01-06 15:14:40: Then Arthur spoke, "If I thought you would not disparage me," said
2012-01-06 15:19:49: he, "I would sleep while I wait for my repast; and you can entertain
2012-01-06 15:20:00: one ano ther with relating tales, and can obtain a flagon of mead and
2012-01-06 15:22:00: som e meat from Kai." And the King went to sleep. And Kynon the son
2012-01-06 15:25:09: of C lydno asked Kai for that which Arthur had promised them. "I,
2012-01-06 15:25:23: too, will hav e the good tale which he promised to me," said Kai.
2012-01-06 15:25:52: "Nay," answered Kynon, "fairer will it be for thee to fulfill
2012-01-06 15:26:57: Arthur's behest, in the first place, and then we will tell thee the
2012-01-06 15:26:58: best tale t hat we know." So Kai went to the kitchen and to the mead-
2012-01-06 15:27:11: cellar, and returned bearing a flag on of mead and a golden goblet,
2012-01-06 15:28:05: a nd a handful of skewers, upon which were broiled collops of meat.
2012-01-06 15:28:53: Th en they ate the collops and began to drink the mead. "Now," said
2012-01-06 15:28:59: Kai, "it is time for you to give me my story." "Kynon," said Owain,
2012-01-06 15:29:18: "do thou pay to Kai the tale that is his due." "Truly," said Ky non,
2012-01-06 15:30:07: "tho u are older, and art a better teller of tales, and hast seen more
2012-01-06 15:31:33: marvellous things than I; do thou therefore pay Kai his tale."
2012-01-06 15:33:10: " Begin thyself," quoth Owain, "with the best that thou knowest." "I
2012-01-06 15:33:13: will do so," answ ered Kynon.
2012-01-06 15:34:08: "I was the only son of my mothe r and father, and I was exceedingly
2012-01-06 15:34:32: aspiring, and my daring was very great. I thought there was no
2012-01-06 15:34:36: en terprise in the world too mighty for me, and after I had achieved
2012-01-06 15:36:05: all the adventures that were in my own country, I equipped myself,
2012-01-06 15:37:27: and set f orth to journey through deserts and distant regions. And at
2012-01-06 15:38:13: length it chanced that I came to the fairest valley in the world,
2012-01-06 15:39:35: wherein were trees of equal growth; and a river ran through the
2012-01-06 15:41:03: valley, a nd a path was by the side of the river. And I followed the
2012-01-06 15:41:08: path until mid-day, and continu ed my journey along the remainder of
2012-01-06 15:42:51: the valley until the evening; and at the extremity of a plain I came
2012-01-06 15:43:02: to a large and lustrous Castle, at the foot of which was a torrent.
2012-01-06 15:44:16: And I appr oached the Castle, and there I beheld two youths with
2012-01-06 15:49:11: yellow c urling hair, each with a frontlet of gold upon his head, and
2012-01-06 15:49:26: clad in a ga rment of yellow satin, and they had gold clasps upon
2012-01-06 15:49:44: their insteps. In the hand of each of them was an ivory bow, strung
2012-01-06 15:51:42: wi th the sinews of the stag; and their arrows had shafts of the bone
2012-01-06 15:52:59: of t he whale, and were winged with peacock's feathers; the shafts
2012-01-06 15:56:13: also had golden heads. And they had dagge rs with blades of gold, and
2012-01-06 15:57:01: with hilts of th e bone of the whale. And they were shooting their daggers.
2012-01-06 15:57:03: "And a littl e way from them I saw a man in the prime of life, with
2012-01-06 15:57:18: his beard newly shorn, clad in a robe and a mantle of yellow satin;
2012-01-06 15:58:00: a nd round the top of his mantle was a band of gold lace. On his feet
2012-01-06 15:59:02: were shoes of var iegated leather, fastened by two bosses of gold.
2012-01-06 15:59:13: Whe n I saw him, I went towards him and saluted him, and such was his
2012-01-06 16:00:19: court esy that he no sooner received my greeting than he returned it.
2012-01-06 16:00:45: And he went with me towards the Castle. Now there were no dwellers
2012-01-06 16:01:22: in the Castle except th ose who were in one hall. And there I saw
2012-01-06 16:02:31: four-and-twenty damsels, embroidering satin at a window. And t his I
2012-01-06 16:02:38: tell thee, Kai, that the least fair of them was fairer than the
2012-01-06 16:03:05: fairest maid thou hast ever beheld i n the Island of Britain, and the
2012-01-06 16:03:07: least lovely of them was more lovely than Gwenhwyvar, the w ife of
2012-01-06 16:05:50: Arthur, whe n she has appeared loveliest at the Offering, on the day
2012-01-06 16:09:25: of th e Nativity, or at the feast of Easter. They rose up at my
2012-01-06 16:10:39: coming, and six of them took my horse, and divested me of my armour;
2012-01-06 16:11:54: and six others took my arms, and washed them in a vessel until they
2012-01-07 15:03:16: were perfectly br ight. And the third six spread cloths upon the
2012-01-07 19:27:45: Problems?
2012-01-07 21:00:04: tables and prepared meat. And the fourth si x took off my soiled
2012-01-08 03:08:40: garments, and placed others upon me; namely, an under-vest and a
2012-01-08 09:17:40: d oublet of fine linen, and a robe, and a surcoat, and a mantle of
2012-01-08 15:02:12: yellow satin wit h a broad gold band upon the mantle. And they placed
2012-01-08 21:06:20: cushions both beneath and around me, with coverings of red linen; and
2012-01-09 03:09:08: I sat down. Now th e six maidens who had taken my horse, unharnessed
2012-01-09 09:06:01: h im, as well as if they had been the best squires in the Island of
2012-01-09 15:18:41: Britain. Then, behold, they brou ght bowls of silver wherein was
2012-01-09 21:02:29: water to was h, and towels of linen, some green and some white; and I
2012-01-10 03:13:25: washed. And in a li ttle while the man sat down to the table. And I
2012-01-10 09:00:54: sat next to him, and below me sat all the maidens, except those who
2012-01-10 15:08:26: waited on us. And the table was of silver, and the cloths upon the
2012-01-10 21:17:52: table were of linen; and no vessel was served upon the table that was
2012-01-11 03:19:43: not either of gold or of silver, or of buffalo-horn. And our meat
2012-01-11 09:09:32: was brought to us. And verily, Kai, I saw there every sort of meat
2012-01-11 15:00:51: and every sort of liquor that I have ever seen elsewhere; but the
2012-01-11 21:15:17: meat and the liquor were better served there than I have ever seen
2012-01-12 03:06:46: them in any other place.
2012-01-12 09:10:02: "Until the repast was half over, neither the man nor any one of the
2012-01-12 15:12:32: damsels spoke a single word to me; but when the man perceived that it
2012-01-12 21:09:23: would be more agreeable to me to converse than to eat any more, he
2012-01-13 03:14:37: began to inquire of me who I was. I said I was glad to find that
2012-01-13 09:05:36: there was some one who would discourse with me, and that it was not
2012-01-13 15:10:03: considered so great a crime at that Court for people to hold converse
2012-01-13 21:01:06: together. 'Chieftain,' said the man, 'we would have talked to thee
2012-01-14 03:11:58: sooner, but we feared to disturb thee during thy repast; now,
2012-01-14 09:13:23: however, we will discourse.' Then I told the man who I was, and what
2012-01-14 15:07:21: was the cause of my journey; and said that I was seeking whether any
2012-01-14 21:10:42: one was superior to me, or whether I could gain the mastery over all.
2012-01-15 03:04:50: The man looked upon me, and he smiled and said, 'If I did not fear to
2012-01-15 09:12:47: distress thee too much, I would show thee that which thou seekest.'
2012-01-15 15:06:57: Upon this I became anxious and sorrowful, and when the man perceived
2012-01-15 21:00:09: it, he said, 'If thou wouldest rather that I should show thee thy
2012-01-16 03:07:14: disadvantage than thine advantage, I will do so. Sleep here to-
2012-01-16 09:10:16: night, and in the morning arise early, and take the road upwards
2012-01-16 15:03:50: through the valley until thou reachest the wood through which thou
2012-01-16 21:19:40: camest hither. A little way within the wood thou wilt meet with a
2012-01-17 03:15:34: road branching off to the right, by which thou must proceed, until
2012-01-17 09:12:23: thou comest to a large sheltered glade with a mound in the centre.
2012-01-17 15:11:34: And thou wilt see a black man of great stature on the top of the
2012-01-17 21:15:45: mound. He is not smaller in size than two of the men of this world.
2012-01-18 03:11:40: He has but one foot; and one eye in the middle of his forehead. And
2012-01-18 09:15:30: he has a club of iron, and it is certain that there are no two men in
2012-01-18 15:14:58: the world who would not find their burden in that club. And he is
2012-01-18 21:04:26: not a comely man, but on the contrary he is exceedingly ill-favoured;
2012-01-19 15:14:32: and he is the woodward of that wood. And thou wilt see a thousand
2012-01-19 21:16:06: wild animals grazing around him. Inquire of him the way out of the
2012-01-20 03:04:41: glade, and he will reply to thee briefly, and will point out the road
2012-01-20 09:16:40: by which thou shalt find that which thou art in quest of.'
2012-01-20 15:09:16: "And long seemed that night to me. And the next morning I arose and
2012-01-20 21:16:48: equipped myself, and mounted my horse, and proceeded straight through
2012-01-21 03:07:34: the valley to the wood; and I followed the cross-road which the man
2012-01-21 09:10:27: had pointed out to me, till at length I arrived at the glade. And
2012-01-21 15:02:36: there was I three times more astonished at the number of wild animals
2012-01-21 21:16:46: that I beheld, than the man had said I should be. And the black man
2012-01-22 03:00:22: was there, sitting upon the top of the mound. Huge of stature as the
2012-01-22 09:00:28: man had told me that he was, I found him to exceed by far the
2012-01-22 15:03:33: description he had given me of him. As for the iron club which the
2012-01-22 21:11:57: man had told me was a burden for two men, I am certain, Kai, that it
2012-01-23 03:05:59: would be a heavy weight for four warriors to lift; and this was in
2012-01-23 09:19:56: the black man's hand. And he only spoke to me in answer to my
2012-01-23 15:19:45: questions. Then I asked him what power he held over those animals.
2012-01-23 21:10:10: 'I will show thee, little man,' said he. And he took his club in his
2012-01-24 03:05:53: hand, and with it he struck a stag a great blow so that he brayed
2012-01-24 09:00:51: vehemently, and at his braying the animals came together, as numerous
2012-01-24 15:09:25: as the stars in the sky, so that it was difficult for me to find room
2012-01-24 21:18:57: in the glade to stand among them. There were serpents, and dragons,
2012-01-25 03:15:05: and divers sorts of animals. And he looked at them, and bade them go
2012-01-25 09:06:23: and feed; and they bowed their heads, and did him homage as vassals to their lord.
2012-01-25 15:08:05: "Then the black man said to me, 'Seest thou now, little man, what
2012-01-25 21:17:02: power I hold over these animals?' Then I inquired of him the way,
2012-01-26 03:09:19: and he became very rough in his manner to me; however, he asked me
2012-01-26 09:10:29: whither I would go? And when I told him who I was and what I sought,
2012-01-26 15:18:31: he directed me. 'Take,' said he, 'that path that leads towards the
2012-01-26 21:08:11: head of the glade, and ascend the wooded steep until thou comest to
2012-01-27 03:11:42: its summit; and there thou wilt find an open space like to a large
2012-01-27 09:09:13: valley, and in the midst of it a tall tree, whose branches are
2012-01-27 15:19:09: greener than the greenest pine-trees. Under this tree is a fountain,
2012-01-27 21:09:16: and by the side of the fountain a marble slab, and on the marble slab
2012-01-28 03:05:41: a silver bowl, attached by a chain of silver, so that it may not be
2012-01-28 09:16:22: carried away. Take the bowl and throw a bowlful of water upon the
2012-01-28 15:16:31: slab, and thou wilt hear a mighty peal of thunder, so that thou wilt
2012-01-28 21:11:48: think that heaven and earth are trembling with its fury. With the
2012-01-29 03:02:45: thunder there will come a shower so severe that it will be scarce
2012-01-29 09:04:03: possible for thee to endure it and live. And the shower will be of
2012-01-29 15:03:45: hailstones; and after the shower, the weather will become fair, but
2012-01-29 21:13:08: every leaf that was upon the tree will have been carried away by the
2012-01-30 03:14:43: shower. Then a flight of birds will come and alight upon the tree;
2012-01-30 09:15:52: and in thine own country thou didst never hear a strain so sweet as
2012-01-30 15:02:09: that which they will sing. And at the moment thou art most delighted
2012-01-30 21:02:00: with the song of the birds, thou wilt hear a murmuring and
2012-01-31 03:04:10: complaining coming towards thee along the valley. And thou wilt see
2012-01-31 09:04:38: a knight upon a coal-black horse, clothed in black velvet, and with a
2012-01-31 15:18:04: pennon of black linen upon his lance; and he will ride unto thee to
2012-01-31 21:08:55: encounter thee with the utmost speed. If thou fleest from him he
2012-02-01 03:10:39: will overtake thee, and if thou abidest there, as sure as thou art a
2012-02-01 09:02:33: mounted knight, he will leave thee on foot. And if thou dost not
2012-02-01 15:13:43: find trouble in that adventure, thou needest not seek it during the
2012-02-01 21:06:49: rest of thy life.'
2012-02-02 03:01:17: "So I journeyed on, until I reached the summit of the steep, and
2012-02-02 09:00:23: there I found everything as the black man had described it to me.
2012-02-02 15:07:57: And I went up to the tree, and beneath it I saw the fountain, and by
2012-02-02 21:18:02: its side the marble slab, and the silver bowl fastened by the chain.
2012-02-03 03:10:30: Then I took the bowl, and cast a bowlful of water upon the slab; and
2012-02-03 09:12:02: thereupon, behold, the thunder came, much more violent than the black
2012-02-03 15:19:23: man had led me to expect; and after the thunder came the shower; and
2012-02-03 21:07:12: of a truth I tell thee, Kai, that there is neither man nor beast that
2012-02-04 03:10:04: can endure that shower and live. For not one of those hailstones
2012-02-04 09:03:22: would be stopped, either by the flesh or by the skin, until it had
2012-02-04 15:06:20: reached the bone. I turned my horse's flank towards the shower, and
2012-02-04 21:03:09: placed the beak of my shield over his head and neck, while I held the
2012-02-05 03:15:17: upper part of it over my own head. And thus I withstood the shower.
2012-02-05 09:12:50: When I looked on the tree there was not a single leaf upon it, and
2012-02-05 21:08:29: then the sky became clear, and with that, behold the birds lighted
2012-02-06 03:06:27: upon the tree, and sang. And truly, Kai, I never heard any melody
2012-02-06 09:05:31: equal to that, either before or since. And when I was most charmed
2012-02-06 15:15:15: with listening to the birds, lo, a murmuring voice was heard through
2012-02-06 21:13:46: the valley, approaching me and saying, 'Oh, Knight, what has brought
2012-02-07 03:02:15: thee hither? What evil have I done to thee, that thou shouldst act
2012-02-07 08:27:05: Valēte!
Correctly ordered posts from
Here is a book code. To find the book, and more information, go to http://www.reddit.com/r/a2e7j6ic78h0j/
Can you decode this book code?
Now that we have the posts in order, we can try to figure out the book code. A book code uses words or letters from a book to encode a message. For example, 123:2:15 might refer to page 123, 2nd paragraph, 15th word. Or maybe 123rd character, chapter 2, volume 15. Decrypting it requires knowledge of what book to use and what the numbers mean. In this case, it seems obvious that we're supposed to use the titles of the posts on the specified subreddit.
1st title, 20th letter = U
2nd title, 3rd letter = o
3rd title, 5th letter = s
4th title, 20th letter = e
That makes no sense, we must be doing something wrong.
All Reddit pages have an image for a header. The dashes and dots are simply this page's header image. I saved the image and checked it for embedded clues but found nothing. Adjusting the contrast shows the jpeg compression artifacts but none of the telltale blocks from Outguess.
Those dashes and dots across the top of the page almost certainly mean something. They look reminiscent of Morse code except not quite right. Also, that football looking symbol is somewhat familiar. Here's a hint, back in 2012 there was a lot of hype about the Mayan calendar ending soon.
Comparing the header image with the subreddit's title reveals a pattern. Two dots correspond with the number two. One dash plus two dots corresponds with the number seven which makes sense because 7 = 5 + 2. Continuing the pattern, 6 = 5 + 1 = dash + dot, and 8 = 5 + 3 = dash + 3 dots.
So we have the numbers 0 - 9, what comes next? The letter A of course. We see that A = two dashes = 10. We can also see that C = 12 and E = 14. Following that pattern gives us the entire alphabet: A=10, B=11, C=12, D=13, E=14...
Instead of Roman Numerals, these symbols are Mayan Numerals. Why Mayan Numerals? I have no idea. What do they mean? Let's see, converting the title to numbers we get:
10, 2, 14, 7, 19, 6, 18, 12, 7, 8, 17, 0, 19, 7, 14, 18, 14, 19, 13, 0, 1, 2, 0
Maybe you can see a pattern or a meaning here, I can't. All we have so far is a bunch of encoded text and a list of numbers. The first encoded text we encountered, back in clue #1, used a Caesar cipher with a shift value of 4. If we had a single number here we'd use it as the shift value. Instead, we have a list of 23 numbers. Could it be a Caesar cipher with 23 different shift values?
Yes, it is called a
Vigenère cipher and it's like the big brother of a Caesar cipher. Caesar ciphers are easy to spot and crack with a simple frequency analysis. Vigenère ciphers avoid this vulnerability by using a key-word or key-phrase to create a rotating list of shift values. This doesn't make it impossible to crack but it certainly does make it more difficult. The only reason we can crack this code easily is because we have the key.
To decipher the text, shift the first letter by 10, the second letter by 2, the third letter by 14, and so on. As shown in the box above, this reveals
a story about King Arthur and The Lady of the Fountain. I recall being forced to read some of these stories for my college humanities courses but I have no idea if they have any meaning relevant to this puzzle. If you understand why Cicada 3301 chose this particular piece of medieval folklore, please let me know.
With the story deciphered, it's an easy matter of applying the book code which reveals the message:
Call us at us tele phone numBer two one four three nine oh nine six oh eight
The 214 area code is in Dallas, Texas so if you call that number now you might get some angry Texan who knows nothing about this Cicada nonsense and is tired of these stupid phone calls. Back in January 2012 you'd still have to wonder if you were going to get an angry Texan on the line. Playing a game on the Internet is one thing, taking it into the real world is a whole different thing. It's not easy to find a pay phone in today's world but I probably would have made the effort. As it turns out, that would have been unnecessary because calling that number resulted in nothing but a recorded message. We'll get to that on the next page. First, we need to explore a couple other important items with this clue.
Most of the posts in the subreddit are part of the King Arthur story but a couple are links to images with embedded messages. The first image looks boring, nothing but stock image of a welcome mat. The second image is more peculiar, it's a stereogram of a tapestry of King Arthur. This is given away by the water-mark for
©www.easystereogrambuilder.com in the bottom-right corner of the image.
Guinevere is on the left, offering the shield Prydwen. Sir Lancelot is on the right, holding his lance. King Arthur is in the middle, brandishing Excalibur.
If you're not familiar with stereograms, that website might be worth visiting. It has both useful information and interesting pictures. The short version is that stereograms are 3D images viewable without any special 3D glasses. You have to learn how to focus your eyes correctly but once you learn how and practice some, it's easy.
The "Problems?" image contains a 3D picture of what looks like an open cylinder, or maybe a cup, or chalice. What does it mean? Why 3D? Why the ancient tapestry? I have no idea. If you understand the significance, please let me know. My guess is that it's a weak reference to the Holy Grail.
The true significance of these two images seems to lie not with the images themselves but with their embedded data. Using Cicada's favorite tool, Outguess, reveals more information. From here on out they will digitally sign all messages.
If you've never heard of
public-key cryptography, I'd like to recommend an exceedingly well-written, highly educational and thoroughly enjoyable article on the subject. The short version is that using a digital signature, such as PGP, makes it possible to verify who the message is from and that the message has not been altered. The key given here, 7A35090F, let's us look up the digital signature for Cicada 3301.
If you're not familiar with PGP, this may sound like more esoteric nerd-stuff but it is not. While most of us don't use PGP directly, we do all use it indirectly. This technology is built into our web browsers, smart phones, and any other devices that care about private communications. A PGP signature is simply the manually operated version of this prevalent technology. It's like using a stick-shift instead of an automatic transmission.
When speculating who Cicada 3301 might be, the introduction of PGP has a couple interesting ramifications. First, it makes everything a little more serious. It seems that Cicada 3301 is more than just an amateur dabbling with puzzles, he/she/they seem to understand and care about real world security. Second, and even more interesting, the introduction of a digital signature implies that there are many more puzzles to come. After all, there's no need for a digital signature unless there are plans for ongoing secure communications.
With the introduction of PGP, maybe this is about to get interesting.