Back to index Last updated: 18 July 2023 (complete changelog since 26 July 2020)
On 26 July 2020 it came to my attention that two of my 2020 IOCCC
entries have won! I'm very very happy and incredibly proud. This brings
my total to three now. This is the tweet that announced the entry winning:
I am very very happy and very very proud and that's an
understatement! I find it fitting that the award is 'Most enigmatic'
because when I wrote this one (only after the crazy pandemic of 2020 had
the judges reopen the contest - I didn't have time or energy or any
inspiration for this before the contest closed the first time) I
imagined that if it indeed won that it would be given that award
exactly. The question wasn't the title but rather if it would win and
I'm happy to say it did indeed win!
I found it fitting that I finished this entry on 30 April 2020,
exactly 75 years after he who started the Second World War ended his
life. At the end of the day he was another human being - yes he was just
like all of us whatever we have done or not done - but he caused the
world a great deal of sorrow and it seemed like an appropriate day to
complete this, whatever he was and whatever he did, as if it wasn't for
him we wouldn't have such a fascination with the Enigma machine.
I dedicated it to the millions of lives lost in the Second World War
which was, like all other wars, a terrible waste of life and entirely
pointless. Some of the people lost were never identified and many were
never acknowledged for what they did or were not acknowledged enough. I
also dedicated it to my wonderful mum and my dear friend Vicky.
One of the things that I am proud of but which I have absolutely no idea how I
did it is that important strings in the code were encrypted with the
default settings of the Enigma machine itself. This was done this way because anyone
familiar with the Enigma machines would immediately recognise it
otherwise. But like I said I have absolutely no clue how I pulled this
Another thing that might be worth noting is the massive arrays of
different data including strings that are interspersed in others. I also
no longer know how I did it.
As for the chocolate cake recipe one will notice that the file is encrypted.
This was done this way as a fun way to explore the entry. I gave a set
of keys to try in the documentation for the supplementary program
recode.c and left it that way. But of course my other entries I
submitted did not have it encrypted. Although fun to explore the entry I
would recommend that anyone interested in a delicious double-layered
chocolate fudge cake look at the file in the Snake entry.
Yusuke Endoh - who's won more entries in the entire contest than
anyone else - made me feel even better about my Enigma machine; he
took my happiness and pride to another level and in ways that he could
not possibly have known when doing so. I want to share it here because
it really is something I am incredibly happy and proud about, and I want
to extend my appreciation and thanks here too (even though he probably
will never see it!). Too many years in my life would I hide in the
shadows and not accept my abilities etc. and in recent years that's
changed and so basically I'm sharing because I'm proud. Here's what he
had to say with the comments I said in reply to that original email.
The context is that he asked the judges and me (since I mentioned the
entry he inquired about in my remarks) about the 1992 Nathan entry that
isn't the correct version due to a US government encryption restriction
(see the entry in question for more details at
(both open in a new tab/window). Anyway it has to do with encryption
where he wrote that he thought it uses an Enigma style encryption (I clarified that
the Enigma system is more complicated) and is a hello world program. To
that this is what Yusuke said with my replies in between his:
To say I'm proud is a huge understatement, really, and the same can
be said for the happiness he added to my then current pride and
happiness, about the entry.
As I explain in the text file a single differing letter will change
the outcome of the remainder of the text so I had to come up with a
testing procedure to make sure that it works out okay. You can read all
about that and see the script I wrote to test it