# Solution to Losing My Nerve

### by David Speyer and Oliver Kosut

The puzzle consists of a cryptogram whose cypher changes occasionally, as indicated by the numbers surrounded by a circled arrows. The way in which the cypher changes is based on the movement of a Rubik's cube. The numbers surrounded by the circled arrows represent 90 degree clockwise or counter-clockwise turns of the 6 faces of the Rubik's cube. Each number corresponds to a different face of the cube. The 26 letters of the alphabet correspond to the 26 cubelets in the cube (8 corners, 12 edges, and 6 centers). The cryptogram works such that plaintext letters are associated with cubelets themselves, and cyphertext letters are associated with the cube positions where those cueblets originated. That is, given the state of the cube, a plaintext letter maps to a cyphertext letter if the cubelet associated with the plaintext letter occupies the cubelet position associated with the cyphertext letter. The cube starts out solved, just as the cryptogram starts out as the trivial cryptogram.

The first step in solving the puzzle is to determine the relative locations of all the cyphertext letters in the cube, and also the mapping from numbers to cube faces. This allows one to solve the cryptogram and read the plain text, and discover the state of the cube at any point in the cryptogram. The table below gives all the cube states and cyphers in the puzzles.

The plain text in full reads:

When I first attempted to assemble a Katamari by myself, I was overwhelmed and terrified. It was constantly spinning, and extremely hard to hold in my slippery palms. Moreover, it kept changing shape, just as the encryption in this cipher keeps changing. In fact, there is a most excellent analogy between the changing ciphers and a three dimensional object which spins about and rearranges itself. I became more nervous and sweaty when I realized just how weak my visualization abilities were. Expert Katamari builders can visualize the entire sphere at all times, even the center. I found it almost impossible to imagine the interior structure of my Katamari; it was even difficult for me to keep track of what was happening on the opposite side. Yet this antipodal point is precisely where one must look in order to extract the answer to this puzzle. At least I did find a solution to my dripping palms, as follows: WASHED MY HANDS.

As indicated by the plain text, one must look at the antipodal points of the cubelets associated with the plaintext letters WASHEDMYHANDS. Taking the antipodal plaintext letter for each of these letters in the cube position at that point in the sequence gives the answer SYMPATHECTOMY.

The table below gives all the cube states in the puzzle. Note that there is no way to determine which face of the cube is up, which is front, etcetera, but it does not affect the puzzle and we have chosen the one we display arbitrarily. The arrow symbols are translated into standard Rubik's Cube move notation (U for a clockwise turn of the up face, R' for a counter-clockwise tern of the right face, etc.). The center cubelets are not shown, because they never move (the associated letters are RUBIKQ).

 Turn Plain Text Cube Cypher Text Cube Plain Text Cypher Text ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` When I first attempted to assemble a Katamari by myself, When I first attempted to assemble a Katamari by myself, = U ```L-----P-----V |\ /| | M X | | \ / | | F-W-O | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` I was overwhelmed and terrified. It was constantly spinning, and extremely hard I xas vlerxhefwed and terrioied. It xas cvnstantfy sminning, and eptrewefy hard = F ```N-----Y-----L |\ /| | M X | | \ / | | F-W-O | | | | | E C H P | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| G-----S-----V``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` to hold in my slippery palms. Moreover, it kept changing shape, just as the encryption in this cipher keeps changing. tv hvld if wm elissyrm salwe. Wvryvgyr, it kyst chafnifn ehasy, juet ae thy yfcrmstivf if thie cishyr kyyse chafnifn. = R' ```N-----Y-----O |\ /| | M H | | \ / | | F-W-Z | | | | | E C D X | | | | | J-T-V | | / \ | | A P | |/ \| G-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` In fact, there is a most excellent analogy between the changing ciphers and If oact, tpyry ie a wlet yscyggyft afaglnm bytxyyf tpy cpafnifn cidpyre afh = U ```O-----H-----Z |\ /| | Y W | | \ / | | N-M-F | | | | | E C D X | | | | | J-T-V | | / \ | | A P | |/ \| G-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` a three dimensional object which spins about and rearranges itself. a tmryy hixyoeifoag fbjyct pmicm edioe abfut aoh ryarraonye iteygv. = L ```N-----H-----Z |\ /| | C W | | \ / | | J-M-F | | | | | Y A D X | | | | | G-T-V | | / \ | | E P | |/ \| O-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` I became more nervous and sweaty when I realized just how weak my visualization abilities were. I bawcxa xnra farznue cfh epacty pmaf I racgilah ouet mnp pack xy zieucgilctinf cbigitiae para. = R ```N-----H-----L |\ /| | C X | | \ / | | J-M-Z | | | | | Y A W P | | | | | G-T-F | | / \ | | E D | |/ \| O-----S-----V``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` Expert Katamari builders can visualize the entire sphere at all times, Apsart Kctcxcri buildare wcf gieucliva tma aftira esmara ct cll tixae, = B ```N-----H-----L |\ /| | C X | | \ / | | Z-W-F | | | | | Y M T P | | | | | J-A-G | | / \ | | E D | |/ \| O-----S-----V``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` even the center. I found it almost impossible to agaf hma wafhar. I vnufd ih tlcneh icsneeibla hn = D ```N-----H-----L |\ /| | C X | | \ / | | Z-W-F | | | | | Y M T P | | | | | G-D-V | | / \ | | A S | |/ \| J-----E-----O``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` imagine the interior structure of my Katamari; icajife hme ifherigr dhruwhure gv cy Kahacari; = L' ```J-----H-----L |\ /| | Y X | | \ / | | N-W-F | | | | | A C T P | | | | | Z-D-V | | / \ | | M S | |/ \| G-----E-----O``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` it was even difficult for me to keep track ih xyd ezeo tivviculh vgr ae hg kees hryck = U' ```N-----Y-----J |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | F-X-L | | | | | A C T P | | | | | Z-D-V | | / \ | | M S | |/ \| G-----E-----O``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` of what was happening on go wpyh wyd pyssefifn gf = F' ```J-----P-----O |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | F-X-L | | | | | Y C T E | | | | | Z-D-V | | / \ | | M S | |/ \| N-----A-----G``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` the opposite hps lmmldihs = B' ```J-----P-----O |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | Z-C-F | | | | | Y D X E | | | | | V-T-L | | / \ | | M S | |/ \| N-----A-----G``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` side. Yet this dics. Yst tpid = D' ```J-----P-----O |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | Z-C-F | | | | | Y D X E | | | | | N-M-V | | / \ | | A T | |/ \| G-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` antipodal ajdimlcag = U' ```Z-----W-----J |\ /| | C P | | \ / | | F-H-O | | | | | Y D X E | | | | | N-M-V | | / \ | | A T | |/ \| G-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` point is pvijd ie = L ```F-----W-----J |\ /| | D P | | \ / | | N-H-O | | | | | C A X E | | | | | G-M-V | | / \ | | Y T | |/ \| Z-----S-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` precisely where prsyiesga mxsrs = F' ```J-----E-----L |\ /| | D P | | \ / | | N-H-O | | | | | W A X S | | | | | G-M-V | | / \ | | Y T | |/ \| F-----C-----Z``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` one must look vom tusd lvvk = B' ```J-----E-----L |\ /| | D P | | \ / | | G-A-N | | | | | W M H S | | | | | V-X-O | | / \ | | Y T | |/ \| F-----C-----Z``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` in order to extract the iv zrwmr dz mtdrxed dhm = D ```J-----E-----L |\ /| | D P | | \ / | | G-A-N | | | | | W M H S | | | | | O-T-Z | | / \ | | X C | |/ \| V-----Y-----F``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` answer to this puzzle. xvsymr tj this puzzlm. = R' ```J-----E-----N |\ /| | D H | | \ / | | G-A-Z | | | | | W M C P | | | | | O-T-F | | / \ | | X S | |/ \| V-----Y-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` At least I did Xt gmxdt I wiw = L' ```V-----E-----N |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | J-A-Z | | | | | X D C P | | | | | G-T-F | | / \ | | M S | |/ \| O-----Y-----L``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` find a solution zilc x dngutinl = D ```V-----E-----N |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | J-A-Z | | | | | X D C P | | | | | F-S-L | | / \ | | T Y | |/ \| G-----M-----O``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` to my dripping palms, ag ed crissiln sxzet, = F ```G-----X-----V |\ /| | W H | | \ / | | J-A-Z | | | | | M D C E | | | | | F-S-L | | / \ | | T Y | |/ \| O-----P-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` as follows: xt jnzznwt: = U' ```J-----W-----G |\ /| | A X | | \ / | | Z-H-V | | | | | M D C E | | | | | F-S-L | | / \ | | T Y | |/ \| O-----P-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` W ⇒ S M = F ```O-----M-----J |\ /| | A X | | \ / | | Z-H-V | | | | | P D C W | | | | | F-S-L | | / \ | | T Y | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` A ⇒ Y W = R' ```O-----M-----V |\ /| | A C | | \ / | | Z-H-L | | | | | P D Y X | | | | | F-S-G | | / \ | | T W | |/ \| N-----E-----J``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` S ⇒ M T = B' ```O-----M-----V |\ /| | A C | | \ / | | F-D-Z | | | | | P S H X | | | | | G-Y-L | | / \ | | T W | |/ \| N-----E-----J``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` H ⇒ P H = D ```O-----M-----V |\ /| | A C | | \ / | | F-D-Z | | | | | P S H X | | | | | L-W-J | | / \ | | Y E | |/ \| G-----T-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` E ⇒ A D = L' ```G-----M-----V |\ /| | P C | | \ / | | O-D-Z | | | | | Y A H X | | | | | F-W-J | | / \ | | S E | |/ \| L-----T-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` D ⇒ T X = B' ```G-----M-----V |\ /| | P C | | \ / | | F-A-O | | | | | Y W D X | | | | | J-H-Z | | / \ | | S E | |/ \| L-----T-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` M ⇒ H M = L' ```L-----M-----V |\ /| | Y C | | \ / | | G-A-O | | | | | S P D X | | | | | F-H-Z | | / \ | | W E | |/ \| J-----T-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` Y ⇒ E W = U ```V-----C-----O |\ /| | M A | | \ / | | L-Y-G | | | | | S P D X | | | | | F-H-Z | | / \ | | W E | |/ \| J-----T-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` H ⇒ C T = D' ```V-----C-----O |\ /| | M A | | \ / | | L-Y-G | | | | | S P D X | | | | | J-W-F | | / \ | | T H | |/ \| N-----E-----Z``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` A ⇒ T P = R ```V-----C-----Z |\ /| | M X | | \ / | | L-Y-O | | | | | S P A H | | | | | J-W-G | | / \ | | T D | |/ \| N-----E-----F``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` N ⇒ O N = F' ```Z-----H-----F |\ /| | M X | | \ / | | L-Y-O | | | | | C P A E | | | | | J-W-G | | / \ | | T D | |/ \| V-----S-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` D ⇒ M D = L' ```V-----H-----F |\ /| | C X | | \ / | | Z-Y-O | | | | | T M A E | | | | | L-W-G | | / \ | | P D | |/ \| J-----S-----N``` ```F-----M-----L |\ /| | W P | | \ / | | O-X-V | | | | | Y C H S | | | | | J-T-Z | | / \ | | A D | |/ \| N-----E-----G``` S ⇒ Y E