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Thinking about the challenge, I built a little quick-and-dirty model with some cardboard an a bunch of 3/4" wooden cubes I had laying around the workshop. (I know, as a retired programmer I should just code up a simulation, but I get a better feel for things by having something physical to touch and manipulate.)

Anyway, The first, and most obvious thing I discovered is that the shuffling process is NOT reversible unless you also know where each pt/ct pair was located relative to the index marks (zenith/nadir). Second is that when two consecutive but different pt letters encrypt to the same ct letter then those two pt letters were immediately adjacent before the first one was encrypted, with the second one encrypted being to the right of (using my sliding model rather than a rotating one) See the first line at pt: WN/ ct: OO.

Anyway, here's my model:

Posted Image

I'm sure there's a rigorous mathematical way to recover the starting alphabets, but I'm just fool enough to think I might be able to recover them by fiddling around with my model for a while.

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The Chaocipher algorithm is finally revealed! · Chaocipher