The Zendian problem.

Yesterday i came across the Zendian problem – a exercise given as part of advanced cryptanalytics course at NSA. Wikipedia gives the basic background of the exercise (link) as well as link to material to decrypt, along the warning to avoid looking at Karl Heinz-Everts webpage if you want to attempt to solve it yourself.

The question I have is – do an 35 year old guy without background in cryptanalytics or mathematics can solve at least part of exercise that graduates of CA-400 course struggled with 50 years ago?

I will try to post updates on my progress along with solutions that I might hopefully figure out, so be warned about spoilers if you want to attempt it yourself.  Comments will be disabled to avoid spoiling the fun for me.