This is the To and Fro problem at SPOJ:
Mo and Larry have devised a way of encrypting messages. They first decide secretly on the number of columns and write the message (letters only) down the columns, padding with extra random letters so as to make a rectangular array of letters. For example, if the message is “There’s no place like home on a snowy night” and there are five columns, Mo would write down
t o i o y h p k n n e l e a i r a h s g e c o n h s e m o t n l e w x
Mo then sends the message to Larry by writing the letters in each row, alternating left-to-right and right-to-left. So, the above would be encrypted as
Your job is to recover for Larry the original message (along with any extra padding letters) from the encrypted one.
There will be multiple input sets. Input for each set will consist of two lines. The first line will contain an integer in the range 2...20 indicating the number of columns used. The next line is a string of up to 200 lower case letters. The last input set is followed by a line containing a single 0, indicating end of input.
My code runs fine, but I believe that it is too big. Please help me find a better solution.
import sys col=int(raw_input()) while(col!=0): string=raw_input() row=(len(string))/col b="" for i in range(0,row): if i%2==0: b+=string[i*5:(i+1)*5] else: b+=(string[i*5:(i+1)*5])[::-1] c="" for k in range(0,col): for p in range(0,row): c+=b[k+p*col] print c col=int(raw_input()) sys.exit(0)