The Tin Door Puzzle

The Tin Door Puzzle

Create April 15, 2012 / By Barry R. Clarke
The Tin Door Puzzle

What do you need to assume, To decode the mystery room?

Suetonius, in On the Life of the Caesars, written in 121AD, describes how Julius Caesar sent encoded messages to his battlefield generals.

There are also letters of his to Cicero, as well as to his intimates on private affairs, and in the latter, if he had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word could be made out. If anyone wishes to decipher these, and get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others.

In other words, the letters in the coded message are shifted +3 in the alphabet to obtain the real message. Later known as a Caesar Cipher, decoding a coded message involves moving each letter either forwards or backwards in the alphabet by the same amount.

The movie Anonymous has been in the news recently, advocating the prospect that the 17th Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare work, even though he died six years before The Tempest was conceived. For those who enjoy such intrigue, there is an interesting dedication (shown below), anonymously signed "I.M.", at the front of Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (1623) which, with the aid of the Caesar Cipher, might suggest that a quite different candidate, the philosopher and essayist Sir Francis Bacon, was somehow connected with William Shakespeare. Apart from added circles and lines, the dedication is reproduced below as it appeared in 1623.


To increase the mystery,  we note that in "Negotiation in Civil Philosophy" (1605) Bacon once wrote:

As we see in Augustus Caesar, (who was rather diverse from his uncle, than inferior in virtue) how when he died, he desired his friends about him to give him a PLAUDITE, as if he were conscient to himself that he had played his part well upon the stage.

Apart from the last, the lines decrease in length and if it was intended as a puzzle then this almost suggests a geometrical solution. In fact, close inspection reveals that the capitals FWSG in the second line of the verse, S in the fourth line, E in the seventh line, and R in the bottom line can be connected by a triangle with the oblique line almost angled in sympathy with the right-hand side of the dedication. This creates the set WSFEGSR (the A in “An” in line 5, is not quite in line, and appears as a different font). The first two letters could be William Shakespeare while FEGSR might be connected with the word ‘forth’ in line 4. Following the idea of the Caesar Cipher, it could be a shift indicator, and if each letter is moved -4 in the alphabet we find the name BACON. If one “wen’st but forth” (backwards) in applying the cipher shift then it is BACON who will “enter with applause” and receive the “Plaudite”! It is left to the reader to evaluate the plausibility of the interpretation.

Continuing the theme, this week's puzzle is also an intriguing decode mystery!

While exploring a cave, two adventurers unexpectedly found a locked tin door set into a wall. On the adjacent wall was a set of curious fractions. Obviously, they held the secret as to what was in the room behind the door. Can you decipher the message on the wall and discover what is in the secret room?


Previous Solution

To solve The No Quarter Puzzle, add a dot or spot to the unspotted "i" in the word "difference" situated between the two quarters.

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