A Shifty Story Recap [SPOILERS]

And the correct answer to the “A Shifty Story” puzzle was…

MOONSHINE GRILL! Featuring classic southern grub, Moonshine is where you might head for typically Texas food and typically Texas-sized portions. From friendly staff to excellent food, drop by Moonshine Grill for a dose of Southern hospitality.

This puzzle requires us to use several codes or ciphers to obtain answers as we work through the children’s book.  Some of these are easier to identify than others.  For example, most are likely familiar with Morse code and Semaphore was used in the “Compass Time” puzzle earlier this season.  Each page has a clue as to which code is used, and this can usually be identified after some quick googling.  The solutions to each page in order are below:

  1.  Morse Code – The black sections on each dress represent dots and dashes depending on their size.  Once solved, the answer is DECODE
  2. Bacon Cipher – The food items are listed in a specific order in the text (Eggs, Bread, Milk, Apples, Bacon).  This can be used to give each child in the picture a 5 digit binary number with 1 indicating the child has that particular kind of food.  The binary is:  00100 01100 00011 which decodes to END
  3. Pigpen Cipher – The rabbit and fish make pigpen shapes.  Note the fish’s eye is a dot.  This translates to BY
  4. Affine Cipher – For the Affine cipher we need two numerical values typically called A and B.  By counting the grades on the report cards we find, A = 3, B = 21.  Now one can convert the word “ilatin”  to the answer NOTING
  5. Four-Square Cipher – We can first note that the text tells us there is no queue (Q) in the grid.  Then we need to place keywords in the top right and bottom left sections of the grid.  These key words are “jumprope” in the top right section and “hopscotch” in the lower left.  Then, using the numbers in the hopscotch grid and converting to letters with A = 1, B = 2, etc, we have the cipher-text “BTNMNY”.  Using a tool one finds the solution “firstx”.  The x is a placeholder leaving the answer as FIRST
  6. Caesar Shift Cipher – This cipher simply moves letters forward or backwards by a set amount in the alphabet.  The letters in “happan” have been shifted 22 spaces.  So to return them to their starting positions we can shift an additional 4.  This gives LETTER
  7. Semaphore – This flag language decodes to POST
  8. Dancing Men Cipher – Another simple substitution cipher once you find the key.  The solution is SPACES

Now we are ready to decode the string of letters on the cover of the book.  But what code should we use here?  To find out, we should follow the instructions spelled out from our previous answers:  DECODE END BY NOTING FIRST LETTER POST SPACES.  These answers have the same number of letters as the string of letters.  Inserting spaces into the string of letters at the same locations as our set of answers above gives:
vpcbjx iep gm ewetvi nbual emeeiu rcjg epsjwd
The first letter of each section spells VIGENERE.  Refering to the Vigenere cipher.  Entering the string of letters as our cipher-text and the string of answers as our plaintext into a decoder gives the key phrase:
SLANG TERM FOR ILLICIT DISTILLED CORN MASH
Which leads to our final answer:  MOONSHINE or MOONSHINE GRILL


This week’s first-place Fastest Solver was Cardinality, followed by teams Circles All the Way Down in second and Maya in third! Nice work, everyone!

Congrats everyone! And with that, the next puzzle, “Illusory Intensity” has been posted! Good luck and happy solving!

Note: Moonshine Grill is not affiliated with Mission Street Puzzles in any way.

2 thoughts on “A Shifty Story Recap [SPOILERS]

    1. Hello Jeremyschwartzandfriends! This puzzle uses the original version of the Bacon Cipher which combines I and J into a single representation “01000”. This leaves N at 01100.
      Though you are correct that alternate versions of the cipher use separate representations for I and J and then 01100 is M.

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