This challenge closed on 02/12/2020. See below for the correct answers.
Mission Briefing 5A: Lincoln Cathedral
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Top Secret: For your eyes onlyWhile we did not have time to place any trained agents with the London Scout groups, the Akela operation did manage to recruit and brief several members of the Lincoln scouting association and one of them has made a major breakthrough, spotting something that our regular agents had not noticed. The London party consisted of twenty-three cyclists, but the group arriving in Lincoln had only twenty members. At first I assumed he had mis-counted, but the photograph in the local paper accompanying their report on the visit confirmed the number. I will make enquiries with our London agents to see if they have anything on the other three and will brief you on that next time. The group was tracked as they returned south, split up and visited a chain of Essex and Kent villages along the Thames, but despite their continuing interest in landmarks, nothing obvious in their behaviour suggested any particular plan. The northern group are now staying with scouts in Canewdon and Akela has recruited one of them to spy on the party. Our Air Ministry contacts are increasingly alarmed about the spyclists but are still not prepared to tell us what it is that is worrying them. They are particularly agitated about the presence at Caistor and now at Canewdon, and this concern about activity in East Anglia and Essex makes me wonder if it is connected with air defence for the capital, but they are refusing to tell, and it will be hard for us to help them if they won’t tell us what we are supposed to be protecting. The attached telegram was copied by an Akela agent in Spalding. His sister works at the telegraphy office and gave him access. The message was delivered by one of the spyclists, and once more it was addressed to Wilhelm in Tirpitzufer. The spyclists have reverted to a substitution cipher for this message but blocked it to disguise the message structure. That made it a lot harder to crack, but I am glad I did, it has a secret message hidden in the deciphered text which suggests that the spyclist mission is closing on its aims. I am not sure what the initials RDF stand for, but I will go back to the Air Ministry to ask if they have any suggestions. It is also clear from the contents of this message that the Germans are getting a little suspicious, so we will need to step up our own security. I will send my next briefing using a Vigenere cipher with key length three. More to follow. Pearl.
Mission Intercept 5B
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Top Secret: For your eyes onlyDear Uncle Wilhelm, As you promised, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to your cousin in Lincoln and found it most informative STOP The beautiful cathedral almost justified our visit on its own, and our hosts shared with us some interesting drawings of the towers you mentioned STOP They graciously allowed me to copy the sketches and explained much about how the towers are built and why STOP As usual I will send you my notes and sketches via our dear friend Jessica, who has promised to ensure their safe delivery STOP Really I must congratulate our hosts in the local scout groups for the marvellous way in which they have organised our travel, though some of the scouts have been rather more solicitous than we had expected, asking rather a lot of questions about our plans STOP Generally I hope they were satisfied with the answers that we gave, but we feel that we are at risk of overstaying our welcome, so we will return to London on Tuesday STOP Even though we have enjoyed our time together, there has been some debate among the group about where we should visit next STOP There are so many interesting sites to visit along the majestic Thames estuary, so we have decided to split into two groups STOP Ralf will lead one party on a tour of the Kent coast, while I am very much looking forward to exploring the Essex marshes STOP Do let me know if you have a better idea, but I have been told that Canewdon’s fifteenth century church affords an elevation with a wide view of the surrounding lands in this otherwise rather flat landscape, and is the site of another fascinating tower, which I will be certain to sketch for you STOP Finally, if you have any further requests for specific information then perhaps you could leave a message for me at the post office there STOP Karl MESSAGE ENDS
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