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Look those instructions over again, very closely. Make sure, in particular, you follow the instructions around the "password".
Set the Username & Password to your secret passphrase:
Set both the "Username" and "Password" fields of your news reader to your secret passphrase. This can be anything you wish, but you MUST enter the same secret passphrase into BOTH the username and password fields.
Well it's very simple technology, there's not a lot that can get in the way beyond the username/password thing, which was why I assumed that was your likely issue. I've heard that the length of the username/password pair matters as well, as in it is truncated so should be too long. There is also that final step in the instructions, to refresh and reread the news groups. As a way to do that for you, try a different reader and configure it from scratch (just follow the 4 steps without referring to any other configuration.) Try the one I use, it's probably the simplest of the bunch. https://github.com/graemeg/xananews
Just for the record I started on Usenet in 1995, although it's been over a decade since I've been a regular user. In my active years I tried basically every reader out there, eventually settling on Forte Agent, which was in version 5 (?) at the time I bought it.
Maybe I'll find a copy and fire it up. I'm pretty sure my license is stored in a KeePass file. If only I could remember the password...