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How To Outsmart A Cryptographer

"Good, I'm already in your head, baby."

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Welcome to Outsmarted, a show where we show you how to outsmart a professional in a real high-stakes situation. On this episode, we demonstrate how you can outsmart a cryptographer. Check it out:

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On this episode our host, Mike Carrier, will challenge a professional cryptographer, Justin Troutman, to uncover Mike's darkest secret through a series of clues and puzzles.

The job of a cryptographer is to uncover secret messages by breaking complicated codes.
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The job of a cryptographer is to uncover secret messages by breaking complicated codes.

Troutman has thirty minutes to find Mike's secret message in a room fully decked out with clues. Follow along and see how you can outsmart a cryptographer too.

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Mike, an escape game fanatic, prepares an elaborate strategy to keep his secret safe forever. Lesson one, develop a series of brutally difficult puzzles to test your enemy.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
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Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.

Before our challenge began, Mike warns Troutman that there will be creamy mayonnaise pies thrown at his face every two minutes. Lesson two: create an infuriating distraction.

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The more time he spends pissed off, the less time he has to expose Mike's strange past.

Finally, Mike hires a professional mime to stand in the corner of the room in this challenge. To make matters more interesting, Mike told the mime his secret. Justin will be allowed to skip the marathon of odd puzzles if he can make the mime spill the secret. Lesson three, taunt the enemy.

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If the mime spoke and broke their code of silence they may never work again.

Now that the cryptographer has been properly informed with the rules, it is time to begin the challenge.

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The cryptographer is handed his first clue from the mime. It reads:

What does that mean?
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What does that mean?

In the strange final sentence, Mike shifted the letters three places over in the alphabet using a Caesar cipher said to be an ancient method of hiding messages. Moving those letters three places down the alphabet will spell black light on window.

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Once the cryptographer picks up the black light on the window he must find invisible chalk somewhere in the room. Written on the far corner of the ceiling, an invisible chalk message reads, my favorite book is six six six and my favorite word is dictionary.

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Ten minutes pass and the cryptographer has two out of the seven puzzles solved. He is also covered in multiple creamy, mayonnaise pies.

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One of the many books on the floor is a dictionary, on page six six six was a note that reads, please write a haiku about, pizza, call my favorite pizzeria and sing them your haiku. If you can convince them to sing your haiku back to you, only then will you get your next clue.

Now the cryptographer had to serenade a total stranger with his feelings about pizza.
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Now the cryptographer had to serenade a total stranger with his feelings about pizza.

With ten minutes left, the cashier provides this instruction: on the floor is a bluish green vase which contains a ping pong ball. On the ball is written: pop the red balloon.

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Inside that red balloon is a small paper with this text:

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The cryptographer should've realize the font is none other than wingdings. In the room is a laptop that he may use to convert the symbols into English. The sentence translated to:

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With two minutes left and one mayo pie left, the cryptographer has to find what is on the mime's tongue. However, what the cryptographer should have known was that a tongue can also be found on a shoe.

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Time is up and the cryptographer was unable to find the secret message. It was another successful outsmarting with Mike.

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Let's review our three lessons in outsmarting a cryptographer. Number one: develop a series of brutally difficult puzzles to test your enemy. Number two: create a distraction that angers them. Number three: taunt the enemy. There you have it folks, but before you go we want to know who you want us to outsmart next?

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I'm new here.

Contact Mike Carrier at mike.carrier@buzzfeed.com.

Contact Kyle Sheng at kyle.sheng@buzzfeed.com.

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