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to Crypto Square in the Clojure Track

Published at Jul 13 2018 · 2 comments
Test suite

Implement the classic method for composing secret messages called a square code.

Given an English text, output the encoded version of that text.

First, the input is normalized: the spaces and punctuation are removed from the English text and the message is downcased.

Then, the normalized characters are broken into rows. These rows can be regarded as forming a rectangle when printed with intervening newlines.

For example, the sentence

"If man was meant to stay on the ground, god would have given us roots."

is normalized to:


The plaintext should be organized in to a rectangle. The size of the rectangle (r x c) should be decided by the length of the message, such that c >= r and c - r <= 1, where c is the number of columns and r is the number of rows.

Our normalized text is 54 characters long, dictating a rectangle with c = 8 and r = 7:

"sroots  "

The coded message is obtained by reading down the columns going left to right.

The message above is coded as:


Output the encoded text in chunks that fill perfect rectangles (r X c), with c chunks of r length, separated by spaces. For phrases that are n characters short of the perfect rectangle, pad each of the last n chunks with a single trailing space.

"imtgdvs fearwer mayoogo anouuio ntnnlvt wttddes aohghn  sseoau "

Notice that were we to stack these, we could visually decode the cyphertext back in to the original message:

"aohghn "
"sseoau "


J Dalbey's Programming Practice problems http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~jdalbey/103/Projects/ProgrammingPractice.html

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(ns crypto-square-test
  (:require [clojure.test :refer [deftest is]]

(deftest normalize-splunk
  (is (= "splunk" (crypto-square/normalize-plaintext "s#!@$%plunk"))))
(deftest normalize-with-punctuation
  (is (= "123go" (crypto-square/normalize-plaintext "1, 2, 3 GO!"))))

(deftest square-2
  (is (= 2 (crypto-square/square-size "1234"))))
(deftest square-3
  (is (= 3 (crypto-square/square-size "123456789"))))
(deftest square-4
  (is (= 4 (crypto-square/square-size "123456789abc"))))

(deftest segments
  (is (= ["neverv", "exthin", "eheart", "withid", "lewoes"]
         (crypto-square/plaintext-segments "Never vex thine heart with idle woes."))))
(deftest segments-2
  (is (= ["zomg", "zomb", "ies"]
         (crypto-square/plaintext-segments "ZOMG! ZOMBIES!!!"))))

(deftest cipher-1
  (is (= "tasneyinicdsmiohooelntuillibsuuml"
         (crypto-square/ciphertext "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."))))
(deftest cipher-2
  (is (= "wneiaweoreneawssciliprerlneoidktcms"
         (crypto-square/ciphertext "We all know interspecies romance is weird."))))
(deftest cipher-3
  (is (= "msemo aanin dnin ndla etlt shui"
         (crypto-square/normalize-ciphertext "Madness, and then illumination."))))
(deftest cipher-4
  (is (= "vrel aepe mset paoo irpo"
         (crypto-square/normalize-ciphertext "Vampires are people too!"))))
(deftest cipher-5
  (is (= (str "ageihdsednsh lsagtoonaepe lannswnccair hrditeaetnrh "
              "ueethdnatoio mbqyewdnotto aouayicdwhod nranatosaef "
              "bnldrhnhrrb efirersodir irnieecusno nedgnailoat")
         (let [plaintext (str "All human beings are born free "
                              "and equal in dignity and rights. "
                              "They are endowed with reason and conscience "
                              "and should act towards one another "
                              "in a spirit of brotherhood.")]
           (crypto-square/normalize-ciphertext plaintext)))))
(require '[clojure.string :as str])

(defn- char-range
  "Define a range of characters (inclusive)."
  [start stop]
  (map char (range (int start) (inc (int stop)))))

(def digits (char-range \0 \9))
(def alphabet (char-range \a \z))

(def valid-chararacters
  (-> #{} (into digits) (into alphabet)))

;;; Utility functions

(defn- stringify
  "Convert a sequence into a string."
  (apply str sequence))

(defn- groups-of
  "Group the sequence into chunks of size (last group may be short)."
  [size s]
  (if (empty? s) []
      (loop [result []  s s]
        (let [head (take size s)
              tail (drop size s)
              new-result (conj result head)]
          (if (empty? tail) new-result
              (recur new-result tail))))))

(defn- spaced-groups-of
  "Introduce spaces at size intervals."
  [size string]
  (->> string
       (groups-of size)
       (map stringify)
       (str/join " ")))

(defn- remove-spaces
  "Remove spaces from a string."
  (filter #(not= \space %) string))

(defn make-size
  "Return a function that appends spaces to a group so that it is at size."
  (fn [s]
    (if (= size (count s)) s
        (into (vec s) (take (- size (count s)) (cycle " "))))))

(defn- ensure-sized-groups
  "Ensure all groups are at least size in length."
  [size groups]
  (map (make-size size) groups))

(defn- normalize-group-lengths
  "Pad any short groups to the max length."
  (if (empty? groups) []
      (let [size (apply max (map count groups))]
        (ensure-sized-groups size groups))))

(defn- stringify-groups
  "Join all groups into a single character string."
  (->> groups
       (map stringify)

(defn- remove-spaces-from-groups
  "Remove any spaces from the grouped sequences."
  (map remove-spaces groups))

(defn- transpose-equal-sized-groups
  "Same as tranaspose, but only works with equal sized groups."
  (apply map (cons str groups)))

(defn- transpose
  "Transpose a group of sequences, resulting in another group of sequences."
  (->> groups

(defn size-bigger-than-square
  "Return a predicate function that is true when size is bigger than
the square of its input."
  (fn [n] (> size (* n n))))

;;; Public functions

(defn square-size
  "Determine the size of the square needed to encode a normalized string."
  (let [size (count normalized-string)]
    (first (drop-while (size-bigger-than-square size)
                       (iterate inc 1)))))

(defn normalize-plaintext
  "Normalize the plaintext by removing non-alphanumeric characters."
  (->> string
       (filter valid-chararacters)

(defn plaintext-segments
  "Break a normalized string into appropriate sized segments."
  (let [normal (normalize-plaintext string)
        size (square-size normal)]
    (->> normal
         (groups-of size)
         (map stringify))))

(defn ciphertext
  "Generate a non-grouped string of encoded text."
  (->> string

(defn normalize-ciphertext
  (->> string
       (spaced-groups-of 5)))

Community comments

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Avatar of jimweirich
Solution Author
commented over 7 years ago

Renamed parameter to spaced-groups-of to make it clear it gets a string (or at least a sequence of characters).

Avatar of 7enderhead

Unless you wanted to implement some Clojure functions yourself, you might want to have a look at the following:

line 21: partition, partition-all line 32: partition, interpose line 40: clojure.string/trim line 97: Math/ceil, Math/sqrt line 109: clojure.string/replace #"\W" ""

Also, I'm not sure whether your usage of higher-order-functions (lines 48, 93) makes things more understandable.

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