Alice's Enigmatic Revelation

Q: Once upon time Alice from Wonderland and Alan Turing worked together at Bletchley Park during WWII. For a long time Alan was unable to decrypt a particular batch of messages since they were coded by an unknown algorithm. Thus it happened that Alan and Alice had lunch together and chatted about their previous lives. Alan enjoyed Alice’s stories  full of wits and unexpected turns. Suddenly Alice said something that enlightened Alan and he found the solution to the problem he worked on. Could you guess what Alice said?


In their chat, Alice brought up her famous trip to Wonderland. She talked about the bizarre nature of the place, and the whimsical, often nonsensical rules that governed its inhabitants' lives. She discussed the unusual logic of the Cheshire Cat, the Queen's capricious laws, and the Mad Hatter's riddles.

As she spoke, she remembered one particular phrase the Mad Hatter told her during the infamous tea party: "You must run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place."

Alice laughed as she repeated this to Alan, "Imagine that, Alan, running as fast as you can just to stay in the same place."

Alan laughed too, but then, he fell silent. He stared into the distance, deep in thought. Suddenly, he looked up, his eyes bright with realization. "Of course," he exclaimed, "it's not just about decrypting the messages, it's about understanding the system of encoding!"

Alan realized that the encoding system must not be static but dynamic, shifting with each use, much like running in place. Each message was not encrypted with a fixed algorithm, but with a modification of the previous one. Hence, understanding the rule of modification was the key to unlock the code. Alice's statement had enlightened him. With this insight, Alan could eventually crack the unknown algorithm.


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