[see also my other EnigMarch puzzles]
This is a puzzle on the theme of escape rooms, but it’s not the type of puzzle you’d find in an escape room. I’d say it’s a relatively light puzzlehunt-style puzzle, it probably takes 15-30 minutes to solve. Hints available below.
Full text (copy-able) is available in the first comment of the Facebook post.
Below is a very detailed “hint-through”. Click on a paragraph title to reveal the text. You can either reveal the hints progressively until you get unstuck, or reveal everything and read the full solving process as a walkthrough.
Part 1: Decode the 20 words
Zina might give you a job is an important clue on how to decode the 20 words.
How can you transform ZINA into AJOB? Try doing something similar with the words.
ZINA +1 = AJOB. This is a Caesar cipher (shift in the alphabet, by a specific number of letters). The list of decoded words is in alphabetical order.
Useful tool if you don’t want to do it by hand: https://www.dcode.fr/caesar-cipher
List of 20 decoded words:
Part 2: What to do with the decoded words
This is an escape room-themed puzzle.
The 20 words can form 10 two-word phrases that are well-known escape room terms. You can also make other terms, but there’s hopefully only one reasonable solution using all the words exactly once to make the 10 terms.
Here are the 10 terms: escape room, game master, red herring, combination lock, leaderboard, hidden door, black light, morse code, brute-force, Caesar cipher.
Part 3: Extract the final answer
Select one letter per line and column in the final grid, using the 10 terms you got.
Note that the Caesar shift (the number of letters you shifted the alphabet to decode each word) are all different numbers from 0 to 19.
Also note that in your terms, one even shift always goes with one odd shift.
The numbers on top and left of the grid represent the shifts. For each of the 10 terms, select the letter that is located at the correct row and column, corresponding to the shifts of the 2 parts of the term.
Hint 5 (example)
For example: game had a shift of (+2), master had a shift of (+15). So the term game master gives you the letter that is in the row named (2) and the column named (15), which is an O.
The answer is LONG SHIFTS. Detailed extraction: