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A Variety Encryption puzzle is a puzzle in which solvers are presented with several strings of text, each encoded using a different method. These methods can range from common (such as Morse Code) to more obscure (such as the Alienese language from Futurama)
Puzzle Application[edit | edit source]
Variety Encryption puzzles are often very similar to mini-metas, but with a heavier focus on decryption, and without the necessity of a final puzzle to bring everything together. Instead, what these puzzles require is a way to extract a series of strings using multiple different encryption-based extractions.
The exact nature of the extracted strings can vary; sometimes they will in fact be used in a mini-metapuzzle, but other times they may be able to stand alone as part of a larger message, or help extract part of a message through being a clue or through recursion.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
The best way to approach a puzzle using Variety Encryption is by having a code sheet or list of common (and uncommon) encryption methods handy while solving. Since this is a good idea for approaching puzzles blind in general (since it's difficult to predict what codes a puzzle may employ at any given time), chances are most solvers will already have one, or be able to find one fairly easily. While the pool of possible encryptions used is far too large for any one code sheet to contain all of them, most of these puzzles will contain at least one more common encryption, allowing for solvers to recognize what they're dealing with and make more targeted searches for what they need to decode.
Notable Examples[edit | edit source]
Played Straight[edit | edit source]
- Reminder's World (MITMH 2004) (web) - This puzzle leans more heavily into the steganography side of things than others do, but still functions as a variety encryption puzzle, using Binary, Trinary, Baudot Code, and ASCII (among others) to hide strings within normal-looking text and images.
- Open Secrets (MITMH 2013) (web) - The closest one could get to a 'classic' variety encryption puzzle. While it does use some rare codes (like the primarily language from Bionicles), it does also use more common ones like Pigpen and Dancing Men.
Notable Twists[edit | edit source]
- For Your Eyes Only (MITMH 2021) (web) - While technically a general variety puzzle, it does involve several encryption-based puzzles. The catch is that solvers had to view the puzzles alone, without any way to recall or record information once they were viewing them.
- Drive-Thru Dilemma (MITMH 2022) (web) - A unique type of variety encryption in which all strings are presented in audio format.
- Morose Codes (Huntinality 2022) (web) - While it might not initially look like it, this puzzle is in fact a variety encryption puzzle. The trick is that everything needs to be translated into Morse Code before being decrypted.