|<|_|8|_4 |<|-|4|\|


In Xanadu, did Edward Scheidt

A wavy copper scroll decree

With methods borrowed from the Greeks

And Jim Sanborn’s artistic tweaks

At Central IQ Agency.

They fooled the whole ten-mile gang

A brazen stunt, mit sturm und drang,

Of trade, craft, and misdirection

With crypto lore and history

At NHB’s dedication

Camouflaged by a phony tree

They pranked that “other” agency


I couldn’t resist posting something, when I realized this morning would have a timestamp of 10:11 12/13/14. Anyway, 5 sequential digits in 5 different modular systems. E. I tried to get the poem to have the shape.

Hypothesis: The Kryptos Duress Code Dropboxes


In respect of the preceding post, I have come to the personal realization that the skills required to solve Kryptos are the ability to maintain an open mind, willingness to shift perspective away from “comfortable” areas, and an abiding dedication to explore paths based upon their “logical map”, not their “allusiveness”. Its greatest instructors are those whose skill is describing complexity simply. So I’m abandoning my previously pedagogical and self-indulgent style in favor of absolute directness.

I think I have figured something out about the duress codes.  For a refresher, IDBYROWS was the last 8 characters of K2 plaintext.  For reasons which will have to remain unexplained until I can find the time to catch up, I can supply a clue from the sculpture that definitively instructs the agent to insert a character 8 characters in from the end of K2, and informed by this, if we re-ran the vig, we reveal XLAYERTWO: the Duress Code. It’s what we were supposed to get, if we were in the know, but as yet, nobody has penetrated its meaning or context or implied instruction.

A simple observation that the Key length for the quagmire encryption was also 8 led me to realize something.  All of the passages have duress codes hidden at the end. the rule is that they are the amount of characters in from the end equal to the amount of letters in the key phrase. Deciphering the real duress phrase takes a little work and familiarity with the sort of wordplay that I describe two posts ago, about the Morse.

Let’s look at K1.  It is a 10 letter key phrase: PALIMPSEST. We obviously know the length because we wouldn’t be reading the plaintext otherwise.  K1 is 63 characters. 53-63 are OFIQLUSION. In order to spell properly as ILLUSION, the overlapping letter in the key phrase must be changed. In this case: palimpCest produces the correctly spelled plaintext. So S=C.

Next, from our Morse musings, we know that the game requires vowel and consonant substitution separately.  We know we have extra “E”‘s around, and the game is where to fit those in. In this case: we have two “O”, a double O (get it? 007. Just a wink to keep you on the path). We are going to count them as one and add an E as a place marker for the dropped character, to preserve 10. Two substitutions total.


I went to Wordsmith.com, the best anagram servant on the web, and plugged those in. Nothin. Go advanced. click “English with obscure words”. Y’know, like palimpsest. Turns out there is one and only one word in the English language that will anagram those letters:


Next, I went Merriam Webster, and discovered what a cinquefoil is.  Very suggestive. There’s a little bit of everything in there for the Harry Potter types.  I’m sticking to the facts. From Latin, which I’m good at: it is “quinque folia”, or “five leaves”. There are other definitions besides the Potentilla genus too.

Right now I have three things to think about: A five petal rose, A five-pointed star, and a book of five pages. That last one is a biggie, the others, I’m not so sure. The book of five pages, I think, is a real and as yet unrevealed duress code instruction from Jim and Ed: telling us what to do. I’m saying that’s the first plaintext out of Kryptos, other than Jim’s, in years. Here’s the instruction: We’re making a “codex” with 5 pages, using the old text. Just like medieval scribes making a palimpsest. Check.

Here’s the less scientific info, but also important I think. Ed can’t have all the fun. Cinquefoil has a long association with divination and magic. Agrippa included a cinquefoil recipe for “Mercury Incense”, and said that it drives away devils and promotes resistance to poisons. In old Grimoires and Herbals, the esoteric code for it was “fingers”. It is also associated with the veneration of Venus, The morning and evening star, Venus’ analemma appears cinquefoliar as seen from earth when superimposing east/west transit lemmae onto a common grid. After tracing this rose, from the perspective of Earth, Venus returns to the same portion of the zodiac in exactly eight Earth years, to a couple hours, which represent earth’s precession over the interval. Venus’ presence in the morning and evening skies gave rise to the association with Eos as the rosy fingered goddess of dawn, syncretizing the relationship of “fingers” to both the plant and “fiveness” and especially the rose. The Greeks gave it two separate names for each of its aspects: Phosphorus and Hesperus, as did the Romans who translated as Lucifer and Vesper. Both societies, from about the time of Pythagoras, were aware that it was a planet, and the same one.

Relating back to the sculpture, the symbolic elements of e=5, the stars on the memorial wall, and the compass rose all find representation artistically. What did you want for a confirmation? If it wasn’t touchy, feely and liberal artsy, the NSA would have cracked it in two minutes. Think about it: our confirmations are symbolic elements of the entire sculpture itself, precisely the information that can’t be data over at NSA. In trying to figure out what the sculpture says, we should be listening to people who: a) the NSA wouldn’t hire, b) couldn’t attract, or c) couldn’t pass the drug test, or d) All of the Above. Don’t be surprised if your confirmation code sounds Dan Brownish.

I’m still working on K2.  Obviously, it starts 8 characters in from the O in layertwo. I’ll give you that. Take a long look at that O too,

Scientia Potentia Est

Isaac Asimov


How do people get new ideas?

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the “creation” of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here.

One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the “generators” themselves.

But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”

But why didn’t he think of it? The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)

For best purposes, there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence—not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness. For this purpose I think a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

Yet your company is conducting this cerebration program on government money. To think of congressmen or the general public hearing about scientists fooling around, boondoggling, telling dirty jokes, perhaps, at government expense, is to break into a cold sweat. In fact, the average scientist has enough public conscience not to want to feel he is doing this even if no one finds out.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session. The cerebration session would then be officially unpaid-for and that, too, would allow considerable relaxation.

I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.

In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

As for “gadgets” designed to elicit creativity, I think these should arise out of the bull sessions themselves. If thoroughly relaxed, free of responsibility, discussing something of interest, and being by nature unconventional, the participants themselves will create devices to stimulate discussion.

Note from Arthur Obermayer, friend of the author:
In 1959, I worked as a scientist at Allied Research Associates in Boston. The company was an MIT spinoff that originally focused on the effects of nuclear weapons on aircraft structures. The company received a contract with the acronym GLIPAR (Guide Line Identification Program for Antimissile Research) from the Advanced Research Projects Agency to elicit the most creative approaches possible for a ballistic missile defense system. The government recognized that no matter how much was spent on improving and expanding current technology, it would remain inadequate. They wanted us and a few other contractors to think “out of the box.”
When I first became involved in the project, I suggested that Isaac Asimov, who was a good friend of mine, would be an appropriate person to participate. He expressed his willingness and came to a few meetings. He eventually decided not to continue, because he did not want to have access to any secret classified information; it would limit his freedom of expression. Before he left, however, he wrote this essay on creativity as his single formal input. This essay was never published or used beyond our small group. When I recently rediscovered it while cleaning out some old files, I recognized that its contents are as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity.

Data Recycling


How could so many super-smart people not be getting this? What kind of clue is so obvious that everybody misses it? It has to be something that everybody thinks is too obvious to take seriously.  I not only went back to the Morse, but back to the very first thing you would encounter at the sculpture: the SOS. I commented about how, ironically, “palimpsest” precedes “palindrome” in the OED, and alas, recognized a lesson in that Sanborn says that we should have looked it up in a good dictionary in the first place.

I detected a connection between the sculpture and the Arecibo message, and did research into the notion of self decrypting messages using visual or mathematical coding. With the assumption that if it was really complicated, it would have already been solved, I investigated super-simple encoding strategies.

In dialogue with a fellow researcher on a message board, he and I noted thematic similarities in the Morse and K3. Nothing big and some of it quite fanciful really, but we had been batting several different ideas around and just letting them seek places to fall together. For some reason, my mind fixated on this idea that to be symmetrical, TUT would “equal” SOS. How could I do that? Well, S and T are sequential, so that’s easy. And U is the next vowel after O. Hmm. Under this variant of the Caesar cipher, we are doing a one letter shift, but separately for consonants and vowels. It’s that easy. Even a caveman could do this. The next realization when exploring this theory is that. apparently referencing Caesar, we use a special alphabet: I=J, V=U and no W or Z. 22 letters, 5 vowels. When a W is needed, two V’s may replace it, but they are no longer vowels, (and thus decode to TVX, not OVA) Using this simple cipher we will uncover cleverly hidden clues, the answers to which will use to populate another word game.

Here’s how we play: farthest from the lodestone, SOS is the “first thing you see” when you advance towards the NHB entrance. Next, and seemingly paired with it is RQ. In addition to SOSRQ, we have LUCIDMEMORY, SHADOW FORCES and VIRTUALLY INVISIBLE on the same rock strata.




You can see that above and below all the letters, I placed the letter preceding above, and the following letter below. Consonants and vowels are done separately, and a quick look above will show the pattern. In fact, this pairing is designed to show us how the game works. I believe that both the upper and lower texts hold “questions”. For example, by altering the spacing on the letters, and adding a question mark at the end, we get Tut Sr.? on the bottom. If K3 were not about Carter, I might have let this slide as nonsense. However, if I saw it in the Sunday Times crossword as a clue, I would instantly recall the thrice great pharaoh Akhenaten (AmenhotepIV). who was Tutankhaten’s biological father. Tut later changed his name, but I digress…Quite a bit to pull out of SOSRQ, especially considering PQR IR? is another possible question above it. At this stage, the next message is LUCID MEMORY, so let’s see if we can get anything from there to make these observations seem less far out. Transcribing (we now have e padding to contend with) we get:




At least for the lower, it seems as if the actual message is missing e’s, and the “extraness” of the padding suggests we are to use it to complete a grammatically correct sentence. MADE OF II NINE USA seems to be indicated. The key is that the e’s are replaced into the text symmetrically: the e we needed to complete MADE, the 4th character, is reflected by the e for NINE, the 4th in from the end. There is an odd number of letters overall with 15, so the logical place to put the remaining e’s is the center. It is possible, since we are using a modified Roman alphabet, that they represent the number 2. This clue is trickier. Without the padding, it decrypts precisely to MADOFNINUSA. Lacking the implied spacing, the clue is MADE OF NI(CKLE) N USA? Immediately, with the US 5 cent coin in mind, we think: Jefferson. Alternatively, MADE OF 29 USA? Sketchy, but maybe leap year February? If I really squint I can hear a canuck say “made of 29 u’s eh?” Hoser. Thankfully, we are saved from further humorous speculation by the observation that NI IN seems to form a central palindrome. There being 15 letters, we need a single central character, not 2. The central I seems to suffice for both words, when it is placed in the central “mirror” 8th position. Thus MADEOFNINUSAIII, i.e.: “made of nickel, the USA’s 3rd president: Thomas Jefferson.

Next, Shadow Forces:





22 characters, and to my untrained eye it seems to say “TaKE FUX X GUS.D IT. Another one of these things that seems on the edge of rationality, unless there weren’t already clues around suggesting them. In this case, it is a word game where we are going to take two 11 letter words, and put them together in the middle “point” get it? The first term, is intended to signify JJ Fux, author of the greatest work (written in Latin) on COUNTERPOINT in musical theory. The second term reads Gus D. IT? I believe this refers to Gus D. Hunt, former CTO, to the CIO, at the CIA. INTELLIGENCE. So it’s an equation that says: “take COUNTER(removing point) x (don’t have it figured yet)INTELLIGENCE= what?

Somehow, I think it comes out to be “COUNTERINTELLIGENCE”.

I’m taking 5.



Cuneal Info


In the prior two essays, we have made progress by employing what I will term the Apollonian approach to problem solving.  The teams are now hard at work, so the voice of narration in this essay is that of M. M is the voice inside my head that directs conscious thought activity.  At M’s disposal are the previously mentioned research teams, each employing various schemes of deductive reasoning. It starts at the top with a very broad spectrum of information and works its way down to a specific conclusion. For instance, we started by saying the doubled letters may have meaning. From there, we narrowed that down into more specific hypotheses that could be tested. These hypotheses are then narrowed down even further when observations are collected to test the hypotheses. This ultimately leads the researcher to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data, leading to a confirmation (or not) of the original theory and arriving at a conclusion.

The deductive research teams within my walnut all report to M, who runs them like field agents.  They collect raw data, analyze it, and make specific factual contributions to the overall schema. M’s thought process operates differently, and his classification level is way beyond ULTRA. In order to assemble all this information meaningfully, he employs another form of reasoning. Inductive reasoning works the opposite way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. This is sometimes called a “bottom up” approach. The researcher begins with specific observations and measures, begins to then detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses to explore, and finally ends up developing some general conclusions or theories.  Thus, intelligence emerges from the interplay of these two approaches.  The human condition is that there is just not enough data for deductive, nor enough imagination for inductive, for either to be exclusively useful to model “reality”.

Since M has been trained in various forms of the method of loci, also known as the “memory palace”; by placing all the furniture that doesn’t fit in any of the exhibits into a common area, tendencies and hidden relationships can emerge from the shadows.  It also maximizes working memory by taking the results of the deductive reasoning’s conclusions, and modularizing them. It’s far easier to build a strong tower from dressed stones of common size than it is with randomly sized pebbles and fieldstones. This the Delphic way.  In contrast to Apollo’s A, Athena’s is shaded A, what lies beneath the surface, or in the dark. Athena is the tutelary goddess of secret service to humanity.  All of M’s agents in this cell speak only in code, and only from the shadows of the palace.

As is my practice, when I first investigated Kryptos, I began extensive background research into all aspects of the enigma.  Since I use the method of loci, I constructed my palace on site, so to speak, by investigating the site of the coordinates through time.  I learned all about the Hopewell and Woodland cultures, the Dogue tribe, Berkeley, Langley, Washington’s brother marrying Langley’s Widow, Banneker the Dogon, The “survey”, the Wissahickons, Leiter’s Crystal Palace, Allen Dulles’ Sister’s Pool.  What we now call Langley has been an interesting location for a very long time.

The CIA report to the House Appropriations Committee in 1958 explained plans drawn up by Harrison & Abramovitz, the New York architects: “The new building will consist of block-type wings, readily compartmented from one another, so that specially restricted areas can be established and special security controls maintained in each section.” What they didn’t say, was that the entire structure was a model of the human brain. which stored and retrieved the mountains of information that flowed into the building. In 1961, CIA’s library was split into four parts: a regular library of books and documents, special libraries known as “registers” which store biographic and industrial intelligence, a document center, and the electronic brain.  Notably, there were three specially designed incinerators included, so that no paper material would ever leave the building. Wait.  Electronic brain?

The electronic brain was called WALNUT and it was developed just for CIA by IBM.  In effect the building was built around it.  A desired document was flashed in front of the CIA viewer by means of a photo tape robot called Intellofax. WALNUT and Intellofax, unlike humans, were not yet understood as security risks, and relative to human indexation and memory, they were perceived as infallible. Aside from the vast amounts of classified data that came into the CIA, the agency collected over 200,000 newspapers, books and other “open” material each month. The information was stored on 40,000,000 punch cards per year, growing geometrically.

When a CIA woman (or man) wanted a particular item, be it a Castro speech or a top-secret report on Khrushchev’s health, she fed into WALNUT a list of key words — perhaps twenty-five — about the subject. Walnut found the right microfilmed document, by cross indexing the keywords, and photographing it with ultraviolet light. The tiny photo was then projected on the viewing machine. The whole thing took five seconds. In 1961.  Wait.  What!? OK, for those who need it spelled out for them: the CIA invented contextual search 35 years before Google, to say nothing of networked computing or even computers.

An oracular temple indeed, for as we all know, that iconography and architecture is expressed exactly the same way.  Think I go too far?  Why is there an Aleph sign right in the center of the building?  You didn’t know that’s what that shape was in the central courtyard?  Remember what Lambros Callimahos said about the alphabet?

Another thing about the coordinates: while messing around with Baconian numerical ciphers, I noticed that the coordinates spell something.  So far in my analysis, I have failed into take into account the possibility of them operating on a different numerical base.  The clues of the coordinates themselves, the sexagesimal compass, the binary morse, etc., suggested interpreting the numbers differently.  Modulo 26 counting, assigning the English alphabet ascending numerical values (i.e.: A=1, B=2, etc.) of 38 for example, gives “L” (i.e.: 38-26=12=L).  Therefore, 38, 57, 65, 77, 8, and 44 give LEMYHR.  Apply the AA key= mirror it. Rhyme L?  I’ve seen a lot of shapes in clouds in my past, but conjuring an English word like “Rhyme” (like the UU construction in K2, a unique letter sequence in the lexicon), seems beyond chance.  Rhyme L, with undergruund as a clue identifier preceding it, suggests “Well”?. Wishing? Perhaps.

Another thing, we have two numerical doubles in the abscissa of the coordinates, 7 and 4. Summed they are 11, and their product is 28, a perfect number. Perfect numbers are rare: only 3 between 0 and 1000. I thought to myself, I wonder if that’s true in other bases. Strangely, it made me think of further alternatives, to interpreting the coordinates, this time not numerical but rather symbolic.  Webster’s words: “a sense of place” somehow interacted with “area code” as an alternative to geospatial location in my mind, and “Natural Area Code” somehow emerged. The Universal Address system identifies an area anywhere on the Earth, or a volume of space anywhere around the Earth. The use of thirty alphanumeric characters instead of only ten digits makes a NAC shorter than its numerical latitude/longitude equivalent.

This orthographic projection of the Earth's surface creates a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional surface.

This orthographic projection of the Earth’s surface creates a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional surface.

Instead of numerical longitudes and latitudes, a grid with 30 rows and 30 columns – each cell denoted by the numbers 0-9 and the twenty consonants of the Latin alphabet – is laid over the flattened globe. A NAC cell (or block) can be subdivided repeatedly into smaller NAC grids to yield an arbitrarily small area, subject to the ±1 m limitations of the World Geodetic System (WGS) data of 1984. An eight-character NAC specifies an area no larger than 25 metres by 50 metres, while a ten-character NAC cell is no larger than 0.8 metres by 1.6 metres.

Using a base 30 positional numeral system, NAC uses an alternate method which excludes vowels and avoids potential confusion between “0” (zero) and “O” (capital “o”), and “1” (one) and “I” (capital “i”):

Decimal 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Base 30 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 B C D F G
Decimal 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Base 30 H J K L M N P Q R S T V W X Z

The decimal coordinates are 38.918472, 77.145556.  Use NAC locator=  NAC: 8K42K PGQR9

NAC Address

So just like the other way of looking at it, the coordinates are at the opposite end of the courtyard from the sign wave sculpture.  But what of 8K42K PGQR9.  8 and 42 sound vaguely familiar.  Note the entire photo area is defined by two K’s under the NAC locating matrix, i.e: 8K42K is enough to define the entire complex area.  With 8K42 PGQR, we have a standard address.  Note, that if taken backwards, it gives us the size of the grid, 24 x 8, and also their product is 192, the keys that we need to solve the following section.  “I left clues in earlier passages to help later decryptions.” Check!

The NAC data became public in 2003, approximately when the Kryptos enigma began to receive publicity.  At this point, it had been in use for about 18 years. The explosion that occurred in products using map data, like GPS, Google Earth, etc, was a direct result. At approximately this time, the Morse transcriptions were made available by Jeff Gillogly, and a Jim seemed to back away from his earlier assertion that the sculpture would require a solver to be onsite. There may be something to this NAC data. But it looks like the clue reinforces the 8 x 42 matrix rotation for K3. Let’s move on…

Pursuant to Kryptos, along with the “thrill of discovery” in K4, There are several as yet unmentioned clues about this passage. First, the issue of the question.  It is popularly believed in the Kryptos community that the querent in the XCanYouSeeAnythingQ? is intended to reference Lord Carnarvon. Superficially we may deduce, like the other sections, that Q = C may have a local context. A careful reading of the source text appreciating the careful editing, will reveal that this episode is a reflection, that Carter and Mace rewrote from the notes Carter made in his his journal at the initial discovery, on Sunday, November 5th and then carefully closed it back up again. See here.  Note particularly his use of “fervently”, and “feverishly”, in reflection of “desparately” in describing his actions surrounding the door.  As I shall demonstrate, there is now an ambiguity to which door he was really referring.  It is also clear that it was written entirely after the fact.

Cross referencing from Carter’s notes to the final text in the Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amun, you can see incorporated portions of his commentary from the initial discovery in the diary, to make it seem as if it were his reaction weeks later when Carnarvon, Evelyn, and Callendar had arrived, and when they performed the “opening ceremony”.  There’s something very wrong with the excavation timeline as presented.  Carter commenced his excavation on Wednesday, November 1. They moved three meters of overburden, discovered and cataloged huts, and determined the ancient layer of the original tomb construction in the space of 3 days? They then find the stairs to a tomb at that level that the builders of those ancient huts didn’t? He didn’t peek at the doorway to see the seals, but decided to send a cable to Carnarvon anyway saying:  “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb with seals intact recovered same for your arrival congratulations.”?  Curious, wouldn’t you say? The timeline falls apart.

In my opinion, the clue we are supposed to obtain by deducing the identity of the questioner is “Calendar”.  Not Carter’s assistant, but the civil calendar; realizing that the superscript letters implying Day and Yr seemingly take on a possible context. 11/26/1922 at KV62? or is it 11/5? or maybe the 4th when he discovered the step? Hmm. November 3rd is a very suggestive date, no? Especially for the opening of a lodge, or a New Headquarters Building. Sounds familiar.


Some readers may recall when I did an analysis of the coordinates attempting to induce what relevance “antipodes” might have. I concluded that the likely location: in China, northwest of the “forbidden city”, in present day Beijing. I could derive no logical reason.  While looking at overheads through time, trying to find Dulles’ sister’s place and “the famous pool”, the old foundations of the Crystal Palace (is the Felix Leiter character based on this?), and the sequence of development at the Langley site, i was struck with a thought: Antipodes…Beijing is there now…looking at maps through time. Boom.  What was at the antipode in history? Turns out there was something there.  A summer palace, a place outside of the Capitol where the head of state (of the Yuan dynasty), could get away, just as Allen Dulles used his sister’s place. It didn’t take me too long to find this.

X marks the spot.


I’m not talking about the Olivia Newton-John song.  I’m talking about Langley’s unofficial name: Xanadu.  A sense of place!  We may have something here.

I wonder if these are the first letters from the first 10 lines of the solution: IAWTDSWAWA (anagram “I was WW Data” = Xanadu?)

Alternatively the letters of the first 10 words: IXDKKASPDD? Remember the two K’s that defined the complex on the NAC coordinates?, (whatever…maybe it’s: In Xanadu did Alan Dulles, a stately pleasure dome decree..)

I’m pretty sure this is the plaintext:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Twice five miles=the ten mile square? Alph the sacred river? I’m not going to bother to run you guys through all the parallels.  Sanborn’s work could easily be interpreted as impressionist landscape architecture, based upon the poem. It could be “it” as far as he’s concerned. Instead of filling out the Mad Lib with words like David, Ed and the others, he just interpreted the poem visually. He said he wrote it initially with a prominent science fiction writer.  Arthur C. Clarke I bet.  Clarke, famously a resident of Ceylon, used the poem as a mad lib to describe the ordeal of shooting the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey. It went a little something like this:

For MGM did Kubrick, Stan

A stately astrodome decree

While Art, the s.f. writer, ran

Through plots incredible to man,

In search of solvency….

So twice five miles of Elstree ground

With sets and props were girdled round…

A savage place! as eerie and enchanted

As ere beneath a flickering arc was haunted

By child-star wailing for her demon mother…

I wonder if the final K5 decryption will be a hilarious send-up of the CIA, Based on the Coleridge poem, written by some witty and talented insiders? Maybe it’s a Mad Lib. At least in my mind, it’s the answer, so I guess, that’s it.

This essay is a cautionary tale in the perils of inductive reasoning. Kryptos is a dangerous thing. Not quite as bad as the Voynich or the Hypnerotomachia Poliphi, but way up there. We’ve induced a connection.  Despite the parallels, even if correct, the entire clue may be that the KK = AD digraph substitution key is now available. Anyway, M’s not going to tell the researchers about any of this for the time being.  M wants to make sure that we have a firm base.  The danger of inductive reasoning is trying to build on it.  For example, Project Xanadu was the first hypertext language, by Ted Nelson, in 1960. In theory, the web began there.  The best we have here is that an anagram says “I was WW data.” Not quite the wow signal. Not enough to wipe the smile off of Uncle Willy’s face.

Double Jeopardy

The time has come to talk of many things.

We have linchpinned the new concept, and moving forward, have divided up the problem into three units. The first unit is locating the “instructions” within the puzzle.  For example, SOS? could be interpreted as a cryptic clue answered by “duress code.” The focus is on finding as many as we can, making careful note of any “flags” like the ?’s, X’s, misspellings. etc.  Ultimately, their identifiers may be themselves a steganographic code, and at the very least, present multiple opportunities for null ciphers.

Unit one has determined that each of the types of “place markers” (i.e.: X, Q, ?, Misspellings, Doubles, Palindromes)  may serve different functions in the decryption process. For example, each section has one and only one misspelling that we are aware of.  Perhaps this indicates that the information gleaned from each of the sections’ misspellings may lead to instructions specific to that section’s decryption, as well as participating within an overall scheme that will give a solver access to K5. For example: In the Morse, the misspelling of DIGITAL avoided creating a G under the palindrome rule, a letter unneeded to anagram PALIMPSEST.  In K1, the misspelled IQLUSION avoids producing a double L.  By the same logic, in K2, the spelling of GRUUND produces a double U- impossible to do unless “vacuum” fits into the story. Finally, in K3, the spelling of DESPARATLY produces a palindrome “R” at that location under the rule.  Why would an artist obsessed with precision and symmetry misspell words on his own sculpture unless he had to, in order to make them stick out so we would be able to find clues?  We suspect that the misspellings were necessitated by concealed information contained within double letters and palindromes.  If so, it is worth investigating.  Let’s start with doubles.


Here are all the occurrences of a double letter within words in K1-K3 plaintext.  Collectively, there are 98 characters in the words where these doubles reside.  There are 15 words in total, 14 unique.  Looking at the double letters themselves, using only unique occurrences we can anagram “use plot”, and using all the paired letters, we can spell “Use Plot To See EE’s” (note: palindromic ‘see ees’). Considering the secret message relies on the letter U (use plot), we can conclude the misspelling of “ground” was intended by the artist to make this happen. VACUUM was the only other word possibility, and even to misspell one’s way into it, the OU ligature is by far the most common possibility. IQLUSION is less well explained: we already have another L pair in TOTALLY. Perhaps is it so the word count remains at 15? Under the hypothesis this is a strong indication of information about K4 by symmetry: that there are 15 words in the plaintext.

In the K4 code text, we have a 98 character string, which contains all 26 letters and a prosign for “question” at the beginning as presented on the tableau. There are 7 occurrences of doubles, which we note matches the amount identified by the unique double letter occurrence clue which said “use plot”.  We have 15 words suggested by this source, which seems about right for an ordinary English phrase of about 98 characters, with an average word length of 7 characters.  Longish by word, but manageable if the ands and buts are few.  K1 is 11 unique words for 63, by contrast, for about a 6 average word length.

Finally, the application of the “double rule” applied to instances of double letters not contained within words seems to derive more interesting information:


Alternatively: SITE W; WEST I; or using all the letters: TWIST.

Summarizing the doubles study:  The identification of doubled characters, both within and between words produces data that can be interpreted as messages.  The conclusion drawn is that the information produced by this means seems to be instructional: they appear to be clues as to techniques by which we can solve the puzzle. Recall the only keys that have produced any information so far: doubles, palindromes, anagrams, and loops (scytales).  Sanborn claimed to have left instructions in prior elements, that would be needed for later decryptions.  The doubles study included all the plaintext from K1 through K3.  It seems apparent therefore that this particular set of instructions must apply to K4 specifically.  In support of the working hypothesis, the notion that we should “use plot” jibes quite nicely with the notion of reconstituting K4 into an answer key.

Furthermore, if indeed the intended instruction SEW IT may suggest combination K4 and another string using a rail fence. Alternatively, as I personally view it: it may suggest that K4 does not go Left-to-Right, Top-to Bottom, but rather bottom up, and zigzagging directions. In the Morse, we have 96 characters plus two prosigns for 98. We have a structural similarity in K4 in which the Morse had the question at the end (RQ-furthest spatially from the unseen force: the lodestone), but K4 seemingly begins with ? This suggests to me that the K4 text direction is backwards. Say, for example, using a 10 x 10 plot, starting at cell #100 with the ? (then O, B, K, R), we go 10 letters right-to-left, up to row 9, then the next 10 left to right, alternating text directions as we move up rows.

I conceived of it while studying Tiltman’s Cysquare, Dockyard and RS44 cipher designs, which I mention parenthetically to benefit any seekers who want to investigate ciphers of this period. In these schemes, security relies entirely on the preprinted, and irregularly spaced interruptions on the cipher clerk’s pad, and the precise manipulation of the stencil transposition matrix, according to a formula which is transmitted along with the message.  Like hiding the keys on the sculpture.  It made me think about Ed Scheidt’s comments.  My thinking evolved about what K4 really represented as far as a code.

Then I found out about Slidex.


Slidex was a simple manual cipher system based on a matrix of fixed words and frequently used phrases. It was introduced by the British Army during WWII and was simultanously used by the Russians. Since then, it has been used in many different variations. It is not very secure and is suitable only for short-term tactical messages. Like “what is your position?”. The text card consists of a matrix of 12 by 17 cells. Each cell consists of a letter or number in red and a word or phrase in black. Switching between the red and the black text is done by using the ‘SWITCH ON’ and ‘SWITCH OFF’ cells. Multiple ON and OFF cells are available in order to hide the frequency of their use.  The Russians and East Germans used a variant, a 10 x 10 grid. 

In Kryptos, we have a symmetry anomaly that seems to support this idea’s relevance to the sculpture.  In the Slidex, each cell had a two possible solutions per cell based upon the color.  In K2 and K3 we have symmetry in that each section contains exactly 75 words.  In other words, we can switch between two numbered word lists: exactly as if we had filled in red and black words into 75 cells.  Provocatively, K2 contains words for all numerals, except one, nine and two. If you interpret I as one; II as two (IINSERTED); and IX(SIX) as nine, we have a complete numeral set. Factoring in the switch cells and numbers, this would actually be about the right number of words to reconstruct a facsimile of the Russian and East German system of 100 cells. It is especially elegant considering the absent words for 1,9, and 2, the numbers abscised from K2’s coordinates, are the key to the next section. If considered as 192 in a decimal system, infinitely looping (SCYTALE) from position 0 of K3’s matrix forms the basis of the decryption. How coincidental that we should find the key to K3 right at the end of the preceding section.

In addition to serving as the word list for a slidex-style code, just as we did in using the doubled letter approach to explain the misspellings, we can investigate whether the X’s, ?’s and Q’s in K2 and K3 can produce null cipher information as well.  Let’s look at them side-by-side, to investigate


  Without ?       With ?
1 it   slowly 75   1 it slowly
2 was   desparately 74   2 was desparately
3 totally   slowly 73   3 totally slowly
4 invisible   the 72   4 invisible the
5 hows   remains 71   5 hows remains
6 that   of 70   6 that of
7 possible ? passage 69   7 possible passage
8 they   debris 68   8 ? debris
9 used   that 67   9 they that
10 the   encumbered 66   10 used encumbered
11 earths   the 65   11 the the
12 magnetic   lower 64   12 earths lower
13 field   part 63   13 magnetic part
14 x   of 62   14 field of
15 the   the 61   15 x the
16 information   doorway 60   16 the doorway
17 was   was 59   17 information was
18 gathered   removed 58   18 was removed
19 and   with 57   19 gathered with
20 transmitted   trembling 56   20 and trembling
21 undergruund   hands 55   21 transmitted hands
22 to   I 54   22 undergruund I
23 an   made 53   23 to made
24 unknown   a 52   24 an a
25 location   tiny 51   25 unknown tiny
26 x   breach 50   26 location breach
27 does   in 49   27 x in
28 Langley   the 48   28 does the
29 know   upper 47   29 Langley upper
30 about   left 46   30 know left
31 this ? hand 45   31 about hand
32 they   corner 44   32 this corner
33 should   and 43   33 ? and
34 its   then 42   34 they then
35 buried   widening 41   35 should widening
36 out   the 40   36 its the
37 there   hole 39   37 buried hole
38 somewhere   a 38   38 out a
39 x   little 37   39 there little
40 who   I 36   40 somewhere I
41 knows   inserted 35   41 x inserted
42 the   the 34   42 who the
43 exact   candle 33   43 knows candle
44 location ? and 32   44 the and
45 only   peered 31   45 exact peered
46 WW   in 30   46 location in
47 this   the 29   47 ? the
48 was   hot 28   48 only hot
49 his   air 27   49 WW air
50 last   escaping 26   50 this escaping
51 message   from 25   51 was from
52 x   the 24   52 his the
53 thirty   chamber 23   53 last chamber
54 eight   caused 22   54 message caused
55 degrees   the 21   55 x the
56 fifty   flame 20   56 thirty flame
57 seven   to 19   57 eight to
58 minutes   flicker 18   58 degrees flicker
59 six   but 17   59 fifty but
60 point   presently 16   60 seven presently
61 five   details 15   61 minutes details
62 seconds   of 14   62 six of
63 north   the 13   63 point the
64 seventy   room 12   64 five room
65 seven   within 11   65 seconds within
66 degrees   emerged 10   66 north emerged
67 eight   from 9   67 seventy from
68 minutes   the 8   68 seven the
69 forty   mist 7   69 degrees mist
70 four   x 6   70 eight x
71 seconds   can 5   71 minutes can
72 west   you 4   72 forty you
73 x   see 3   73 four see
74 layer   anything 2   74 seconds anything
75 two Q 1   75 west Q
L   ?     X ?
See The Little Breach Of …     Passage Corner in West

It seems clear now that we have produced a rational and pragmatic explanation for the locations of the X’s, Q’s and ?’s in K2 and K3. As with the doubles and palindromes, the information seems to be of the “instructions” type: clues to solving the puzzle, not the sections.

True to the spirit of Heuer, we should stop at this point, and let our three investigative units explore the straw man across the three dimensions previously mentioned: finding the questions, deducing the letter correspondence matrix, and constructing the answer key.  For me, the discovery of the relationship of K2 and K3, the purpose of the control characters and misspellings, combined with the research of Slidex, has led to a new understanding.

If we transform our thinking about Kryptos away from representing combinations of characters as information, to combinations of words, we can see new perspectives for decoding.  For example, In K2 and K3, we have a 150 word vocabulary, which can be organized as two lists of 75.  On a grid, each word from both lists is color coded Black, and Grey (obviously- go back and re-read K1), and located via Cartesian coordinates of the desired cell.  Each cell has two words, one of each color. If I wanted to send you a message, it might read A26G3I14…etc.  It’s just a continuous stream of coordinates, and can be anything: letters, numbers.  It’s all based upon whatever I fill in for the row and column headers. You would look up those boxes indicated by the coordinates, write down the words, and keep going. Sometimes you may be directed to a box that says switch.  From now on, you switch to reading the word or letter in the other color within the boxes.

I like this, and I can see why Ed might too. Taken another step, if you were in the field as an agent, and you get caught with one-time-pads or M-209’s, you’re dead.  Such an approach as I described, using commonly available text from editions sent to all world libraries (exactly like Carter & Mace’s, which was an international bestseller, and only in a first edition printing, due to extreme expense of the printing the extensive photographic plates- thus all copies in libraries worldwide were identical), would only require the agent to know the column and row labeling scheme of the 10 x 10 grid to be able to transmit and receive very long messages, using very few characters.  One could use a printing error like a misspelled word to be the indicator to start the word count within the source text. The transmission of such a message in Morse would take further advantage of the fact that both letters and numbers are included in the codetext, and not knowing the protocol would further hamper cryptanalysis creating ambiguity in translation of the codetext letters /numbers back from Morse. More importantly, the plaintext is absolutely secure from any cryptanalysis of the code string, unless the source texts are compromised, which could allow differential cryptanalysis of the type Tiltman pioneered in his Vernam work. Here, you would have a message in depth, and with enough messages, could recreate the vocabulary grid.

For example, we have BERLIN in the answer set, and it’s been messing with our minds.  What if it is (B,E), (R,L), (I,N): A coordinate system?  It would help to know where those letters fall in the clue key.  We could get lucky and have one of the letters belong to a short word, and be able to solve that word and work back the other way with the new letters.  I’m not at all sure that BERLIN will be the crib we need, however.  One thing to realize is that Jim Sanborn has never said BERLIN is a crib to the final solution- only that it is a crib to as yet unsolved last 97 or 98 of K4. I have serious doubts about it’s face value or utility as a clue qua the Federal Republic of Germany, capital of which was Bonn anyway, or the wall. Unit three is assuming that BERLIN will be satisfied for an intermediate decryption of K4, but not necessarily K5.

Unit 2 is standing by with “First we take Manhattan” references, just in case, but primarily trying to figure answers to questions like: Dig, et al? What is your Position? Interpret a Title? and Rhyme L?; et al. The team has a major element of the sculpture unaccounted for in the hypothesis: The presence of the 5 cracks on the log, and the possible significance. Unit 2 has suggested it may be part of their project whereby they are trying find the actual puzzle clues, not the “instructions”. Unit 3 is somewhat territorial about the cracks, claiming it for their matrix investigation. 5 rows of 30? Also, they suggest that clues may not be necessary, if we conceive of K4 as already in digraph form.

As usual, M plays devil’s advocate. He points to a problem in using doubles in K4 as a word splitter: one falls in the middle of our crib BERLIN.  He also points out a hypothetical reason for the extra L on the Tabula Recta: too much emphasis has been placed on why an L, whereas M has challenged the Units to answer why Sanborn would want to avoid having the J appear in that location.  It must have something to do with using the tabula and specifically for that row.

The Acrostic puzzle straw man thesis has served us well, but as we move forward, the utility of it is fading.  The important thing to realize is that, exactly as Heuer predicted, the ACH approach to problem solving exposed relationships and linkages that were previously incompatible.  In examining their implications, new paths emerged, that none of the individual hypotheses could have accounted for within their limited contexts.

One Across

It is refreshing to return to a problem after long time away from it.  All the clues have equal weight, there’s no self-created content interfering with your rational faculties.  In earlier writings I suggested both the strong and weak forms of the “thinkability” paradox of the solution to Kryptos i.e.: computers can’t solve it because it lacks a definitive context or schema (Godel, Lucas), and accordingly we can’t solve it because we have too many contexts and schema from which to choose and no feedback loop to iterate and assign meaning (du Bois-Reymond, Hofstadter).

In my personal journey, the sculpture has generated thematic consistencies in my analysis: the concept of duality [in the form of the doubled letters], mirroring [in the form of palindromes], and anagramming [to render palimpsest] provided direct access to the K1 passphrase.  In fact, the words palindrome and palimpsest are adjacent in the dictionary. They are also echoed in the structure and design of the sculpture itself, and thus, despite a universe of possible leads, I have never forgotten that so far, the only door that didn’t open by force was opened by that key.

At the time of my initial writings, I was asked by an attentive reader why I hadn’t included the “O” from “SOS” in my route to gaining the passphrase.  I responded that SOS is a special code in Morse: it’s not really an acronym with those letters, like “save our ship” but rather a six bit character unto itself.  It’s precisely to distinguish it as not a sequence of letters, that it was conceived and employed internationally: to make it absolutely unambiguous regardless of language.  What then of the RQ? Within the overall grammar and vocabulary of Morse code is another special type of code: Q codes or prosigns. Unlike SOS, the letters are meaningful as such, but together and indicated by the presence of the rarely used letter Q, they take the place of the meaning of a non alphanumeric character, or an oft-repeated phrase. RQ means that whatever precedes it, is to be taken as a question. It should read “SOS?” A question.  The beginning of many.

So, coming back to the puzzle after a long layoff is a great advantage, especially so after having studied Heuer.  Dick Heuer’s writings make three fundamental points about the cognitive challenges intelligence analysts face:

  • The mind is poorly “wired” to deal effectively with both inherent uncertainty (the natural fog surrounding complex, indeterminate intelligence issues) and induced uncertainty (the man-made fog fabricated by denial and deception operations).
  • Even increased awareness of cognitive and other “unmotivated” biases, such as the tendency to see information confirming an already-held judgment more vividly than one sees “disconfirming” information, does little by itself to help analysts deal effectively with uncertainty.
  • Tools and techniques that gear the analyst’s mind to apply higher levels of critical thinking can substantially improve analysis on complex issues on which information is incomplete, ambiguous, and often deliberately distorted. Key examples of such intellectual devices include techniques for structuring information, challenging assumptions, and exploring alternative interpretations. (from here)

So now, with my embers of my vanities long since cooled, I am ready to apply Heuer’s demystification program.  Metaphorically speaking, I got out of my car, straightened up my tie, and made my way along the garage from the North parking lot to the NHB, along the main axis sidewalk. Nothing that has come before matters, except that now, I believe nothing, trust no one. I’ve been trained by the best and I’m going to rely on that training.

Analysts often reject the possibility of deception because they see no evidence of it. If deception is well planned and properly executed, one should not expect to see evidence of it. Anyway, now, after almost a year, I can read the Morse myself.  If there is a guide, it must be here. Since I already know what everything says, I concentrate on doing my best Foyle, and letting the evidence do all the talking.

“everything looks like a cryptic crossword clue”

“abscissa forms as an acrostic”

“doubles, palindromes, double meanings”

“dictionaries, distress codes, deception.”

Suddenly, I had a flash of insight. The thought occurred to me that the entire “illusion” of Kryptos might be of a different quality than we have been led to believe.  Consider the possibility of the entire “clue” campaign as a D+D op designed to get us from realizing this. Kryptos is about finding questions, not answers. What if Kryptos is a novel type of puzzle whereby we decrypt the first parts, i.e.: Morse, K1, 2, and 3, the significance of which is merely to provide the questions for another puzzle? The answers to these questions may form the basis of another solution. An acrostic perhaps?

My vision is taking shape: a double acrostic puzzle, of the type enjoyed by the likes of Tiltwell, Callimahos, Sheidt, Filby, Lutwiniak, et al.  Kryptos is a cryptic version. Similar perhaps to the ones published in Cryptolog beginning in 1975 called “NSA-crostics.” The first, written by Arthur J. Salemme, remains redacted even on the FOIA release of Cryptolog from 1974 on.  The first I can find in print is this, towards the end. Here’s a much later one: doublecross1 doublecross In the past I was all too willing to accept great cryptographic challenges and sweep aside the simple questions.  Are all the Morse messages questions? The RQ at the end (i.e.: farthest from the lodestone) suggests it. Together with the words indicated by misspellings, x’s, and question marks, do these comprise the question set as depicted above A through L?

Furthering this hypothesis, we will need to answer all of these questions, and then replace the letters of those answers as indicated by the matrix with the solution grid locations for them.  The impenetrability of K4 thus could be explained by the idea that it is merely there to be groups of sequentially numbered boxes. The only textual significance may be that the doubles represent dark boxes, and the letters in the other boxes represent cross-indexing of letters by clue.

As my interest in this new line of inquiry grows, I feel supported by Heuer. Alternative hypotheses need to be carefully considered–especially those that cannot be disproved on the basis of available information.  Before I do a lot of heavy lifting, I’m going to run the idea past a series of tests, and see if the idea remains plausible, while maintaining internal consistency with the story and clues as we see them (as objectively as we can). By understanding the mirroring problem, we can overcome it. I’m trying to model in my own process those techniques suggested by Heuer in his ACH and counter-D&D work.  In the absence of a team, I’ll just have to act crazy, and self-dialogue what a real CIA research team would be doing.

One of the central obstacles to K4 thus far has been the idea that the frequency distribution of normal English has been masked or distorted.

WN: What do you mean the first three were designed so that a person could have access to the English? Scheidt: All four (sections) are done in the English language. The techniques of the first three parts, which some people have broken, (used) frequency counting and other techniques that are similar to that. You can get insight into the sculpture through that technique because the English language is still visible through the code. (But with) this other technique (in the fourth part), I disguise that. So … you need to solve the technique first and then go for the puzzle.

With new ears we can hear a new context and direction to Scheidt’s last sentence. Under the new hypothesis in K4, frequency distribution is irrelevant to the solution, but theoretically provides information about in which clue the letter in a particular box originated from.  It may provide word length by clue, for example. The spacing may allow for a rudimentary form of differential cryptanalysis, in which incomplete information in either the question set or the answer grid can be deduced from decryption of the other.

Another question that nagged me for a long time was: “how would the agent have known about the distress code content in advance, the layertwo/idbyrows clue for example?” Under this new hypothesis, the answer to “SOS?” i.e.: “Distress Code” alerted the friendly agent. The answers to the clues may have overall thematic consistency, i.e.: as in a themed acrostic puzzle, they serve to both guide the decryption process and themselves become the code text for the ultimate decryption.

The mutually understood context, required of all authentication codes, for the time-travelling agent appearing at Langley from the mid-eighties might just be Cryptolog itself. I encourage readers to check it out for themselves (google: cryptome + cryptolog). Irreverent and unstuffy, totally unlike that other journal circulated at Langley, It blended the lessons of the past with an unwavering eye to the future, with articles written by the great teachers, the founding mothers and fathers of crypto and sigint at CIA and NSA.  One article might be Tiltman discussing the Voynich Manuscript, the next might be a “Elements of Style” for SIGINT reporting by Vera Filby, followed by instruction on how to use the new computer system, followed by a plea to come and get interns, etc. It was written to interest and amuse, as well as to inform and educate. It is clear to see the growing emphasis of the puzzle develop over the years as the publication values and distribution grew, especially under Lutwiniak. I noticed that both Salemme and Filby have since been elected to the Hall of Honor, continuing a trend of honoring teachers: both were longtime editors and contributors.

Another possibility would be to use familiar words to any IC cryppie, like UK/USA SIGINT category designator cryptonyms.  Cryptolog was published early on in both SECRET:SPOKE and TOP SECRET:UMBRA distribution classifications. The word is always a five letter word, and distinct from cryptonyms, do not use prefixes.  ACORN, BOOTY, CANOE, DAUNT, EIDER, MORAY, PIVOT, SPOKE, TRINE, UMBRA to name a few.  Anyway, if they are present, and they are answers to clues; I suspect they would be selected for their wide distribution, and not the ultra-secret stuff. As any cryptic crossword fan knows, it’s the clues that are the hard part; and so it seems with Kryptos.

As I continue my vetting procedure, many of Sanborn’s famously elliptical statements seem to take on a new perspective under the cryptic crossword hypothesis. “He said that the misspellings were deliberate, but it was less important what they were, but, “it’s more the orientation of those letters that’s useful there.”  Later on in the evening, he repeated the point, saying that it was the “positioning” that was important.”  Now we can speculate that the misspellings identify words that are clues. The letters misspelled may be a key to ordering them properly on the question set.

“I will say that I have left instructions in the earlier text that refer to later text.” “Once the plate is deciphered I’m not convinced the true meaning will be clear even then. There’s another deeper mystery.”  Is this a little wordplay?  Once we discover all the clues (decipher the plate), and answer as many as we can, are we then eligible to go for the deeper mystery (filling in the acrostic and discovering the quote and author)?

“It could corrupt somehow. It might cause…that people at the agency to perhaps think of things a little bit more, less seriously.”  What, like it’s an abstract representation of a bathroom stall with a copy of Cryptolog in it?  Agitated water? Coriolus Effect?

“I wanted to put something on there which would — Let’s just say, that once the plate is deciphered, I’m not convinced the true meaning will be clear even then. I’ve made a statement which is straightforward, but that leads to something else. There’s another deeper mystery.”

“There may be more to the puzzle than what you see,” Scheidt says. “Just because you broke it doesn’t mean you have the answer.”

“Sculptor Jim Sanborn offers a final clue that part four isn’t the end.  He nods when asked whether all four Kryptos passages will turn out to be linked.  And says, whoever cracks part four will then be at the beginning of the puzzle.”

“can we solve K4 without solving k1-k3 first?  Jim: Yes,  but K5 cannot be solved without K4.”

It was asked if N decodes to B, Y decodes to E, etc, etc. and Jim confirmed it does. Emphatically, Jim Sanborn rattled through the entire crib: N = B, Y = E, P = R, V = L, T = I, T = N.  Under the cryptic crossword hypothesis, it should be easy to see why Sanborn should be so confident that the BERLIN crib will not lead to a brute-forced solution.  It should be noted that these comments were recorded when Sanborn attended the American Cryptogram Association Convention last year. Wink.

You may notice that on acrostic puzzles, that the “one” box is indented one from the top left corner.  The reason is that so all the cardinal digits line up in columns i.e.: all the tens digits are in column one, all threes are in column four, etc. (see above).  Remember the clue submission site? The one which supposedly had a glitch whereby before your solution was entered, you had to backspace one?  Does that sound funny now?

Finally, the notion of the “original matrix” takes on enhanced significance: this must be the numbering of the clue panel letters.  This suggests K3 to me, in which conveniently the original numbering of letters is “scrambled” modulo 192.

Is it becoming clearer that the new hypothesis is effective. Superficially, we have a new way of looking at the puzzle which seems to tie together elements which were previously incompatible with observed data.  The hypothesis does not require extensive “leaps of faith” in assumptions, contexts, or motives: it is pragmatic.  At another level, we have a test model for exploring different approaches. Perhaps there are elements of the new hypothesis that are incorrect, the proof of which will expose another avenue for exploitation.

It is a new idea.  I’ve researched (obviously, quite a bit) and in Kryptos’ 25 years I can find no evidence of anybody saying anything like this, or really even anything close to it.  So if I’m really way out there, and my contribution meaningless, it should be fairly easy for the better trained and informed members of the Kryptos community to show me the error of my ways.  I have distilled my hypothesis a bit, and pending further investigation and feedback, I will state my “red-team” position as:

Kryptos is a puzzle within a puzzle, and the decryptions of the Morse, K1, K2, and K3, and possibly to a limited extent K4, serve to create the question set, letter correspondence matrix, and answer key for a meta-puzzle.  This meta-puzzle resembles a double acrostic, and I suspect that K5 will result in a quote, whereby author and work are identified.  The main objectives for those on red team are: find the questions, figure out what indicates answer lengths, and what indicates correspondence between clue answers, and where they go in the final answer matrix.

Any comments?