Philomath sits down at his computer at twelve o'clock and starts his English assignment. He types the first four sentences and then discovers to his amazement that a strange virus seems to have affected his computer. For even though he types in English and according to the correct letters as denoted by his keyboard, a baffling array of letters appear. Below is a transcript of what he typed:
Sicop n ivuykce ujhi yu h adwxes'u ged?
Zowd kct nqui qucmug lne orvj zluyocaug:
Uszmo erxos ep vlfql bqo oasnlrl hblb yq Mcb,
Esj zcvwpr't nhexk oicr llm vr wmuyb j nltf.
He has forgotten what he has written so he tries to decipher the code to avoid having to start again. After one hour, he still hasn't figured it out. He then looks at the clock on the wall and decodes his assignment.
What is the virus doing and what does the above say?
AnswerThe clue lies in the fact that he looks at the clock. He starts at 12 o'clock. When you look at an analogue clock the hour hand and the minute hand point to the same number. One hour later there is a difference of 1, namely the minute hand is pointing to the 12 and the hour hand to the 1.
So the code starts at 12 o'clock, thus the first letter is the same as the real text. The second letter is 1 letter after the real text, the third 2, etc., until the 12th, and then you're back to 12 o'clock and it starts again.
So what did Philomath type?
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all to short a date.
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