Monday, March 23, 2015

Plover-Inspired Geocache Puzzle!



Check out the amazing epistolary tale of Doris Plover, Court Stenographer circa 1935!

I was contacted by someone trying to solve it (it's since been solved, but you can try it yourself for practice; translating the steno is only the first step toward finding the correct location of the cache.) The pedant in me has to admit that the stenography is not 100% accurate for the time period (You never need to write P/KPA* for a period; just FPLT will do, both for Plover and for non-realtime stenographers. Proper names don't need to be manually capitalized either. Also, they probably wouldn't have used long vowels, an asterisk-based fingerspelling alphabet, or S-P to work around a word boundary error; all of that stuff only came in when realtime was introduced in the 1980s.)

But even so, how mindbendingly awesome is this?!? I was absolutely tickled pink to find that it existed. Many years ago I made up a brief steno puzzle of my own for a friend who didn't know steno himself but who was interested in cryptography and wanted to see if he could figure it out without any prior knowledge. It makes me so happy to see that someone I don't even know had the same idea.

Even cooler is that after I helped the guy who was working on solving the puzzle, he made a $100 donation to The Open Steno Project! What a mensch! Money aside, learning that this thing existed seriously made my whole week. Thanks, Mysterious Puzzlemaker, whoever you are!

1 comment:

Pete Chytla said...

I am the geocacher who created that puzzle. I would have given upfront credit and thanks to you and Plover for the stenography simulator, but identifying that was part of the puzzle challenge. I really enjoyed learning to type steno on my qwerty keyboard. Let me know how I did on the stenotype, and if you've solved the puzzle.

ScootieCache (perner@gmail.com)