Enigmatic Puzzle

To unscramble a message or image: using the mouse right click to select and move up/down to move a column or left/right to move a row.

Number of Rows: Number of Columns: Number of Shuffles: 

Make puzzle from text and select “text message” from drop down menu

Link to your puzzle that you can copy and email to a friend

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About the Enigmatic Puzzle

Enigma variations

This puzzle is inspired by thinking about the Enigma machine. In the Enigma machine cogs or rotors were used to scramble messages (along with other complexities). In this puzzle the rows and columns of the puzzle are like the cogs of the Enigma machine and can be rotated to scramble the message. In the code sent to an another operator the labelling of the columns and rows can be mixed up according to a rule book known only to the two communicating parties. This process is loosely analogous to the switch board plugs of the enigma machine swapping the order of the cogs around.

Sliding puzzle games

The Enigmatic puzzle has a single surface on which rows or columns can be slid left or right and up or down. The rows and columns are interconnected or coupled and when a symbol on a row is moved it also moves the other symbols on the row which change the ordering of symbols on the other columns. This makes it challenging to move rows and columns in a way that the order of the image can be restored. In this puzzle there is no back surface and the pieces when slid from one side appear immediately on the other side of the board. The two surfaced KubicRube puzzle (also on Ejectamenta) is similar in principle, however it has a hidden back surface where asymmetric pieces can also undergo rotations. The Rubik’s Cube puzzle is a six surfaced, 3D variant of the sliding puzzle.

Code Scrambling in the puzzle

The code is scrambled in the puzzle by sliding the rows and columns of the game. This occurs at randomly at the beginning of the game. To unscramble the puzzle the rows and columns must be moved in the correct order and by the correct amount to unlock the code (by reconstructing the image or text passage). The solving of the image is easiest in the case of the Marilyn picture as, like a jigsaw, the places where the pieces need to go is easy to establish. In the case of the befuddled puzzle pattern the correct ordering of the pieces is also unknown and therefore solving this puzzle is hard. This is also the case for scrambling of the textual information.

Sending scrambled messages

At the beginning of the game the rows and columns are randomly moved and the board state is scrambled. While performing the scrambling each move is saved to form the code shown in the second text edit box. The scrambled image represents an encoded message that can be send to a another person whilst being difficult to unscramble by a intermediate eavesdropper. The third party is sent the unscramble code in an email message and can use the code to reverse the scrambling and decode the message. In order to simulate this process the code can be copied from the second message box and sent to a second person. On clicking the link in the mail message the recipient is taken to the puzzle page and the code is used to scramble the message or image the unlock code is stored by the problem and used (if the solve button is clicked) to solve the puzzle. Alternatively the unlock code can be followed (in reverse) and the rows/columns slid in the correct order so that the puzzle is unscrambled. The format of the code consists sets of five letters, c+1+2 means column 1 (first column, r for row) move two places down (- for upwards).