* The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, by Talbot, David Another book triggered by the release of the FBI papers concerning Paul Rubin: I wanted to know more about Allen Dulles (whose surname seems to appear in Paul Rubin’s cipher, or is at least in his covertext).
* Sleepwalkers, by Arthur Koestler A readable (but now rather dated) account of the development of astronomy.
For a change this year, I thought I’d list them here in all their eclectic glory.
Cryptanalytically, though, the Z13 couldn’t be further removed from the homophonic world of the (cracked) Z408 (and presumably the Z340), in that it has shape repeats and internal structure aplenty.
In fact, if you colour all the Z13’s repeated cipher shapes (once again, using Dave Oranchak’s neat-o-rama Cipher Explorer), this is what you see: Much as I love “Sarah The Horse” and “Clara Cataract” as elegant literary plaintexts for this, it’s important to note that these are homophonic solutions for something whose many repeats point to its actually being a monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
But while I don’t hold out a lot of hope for cryptological accuracy here, I’m sure the production will look beautiful.
🙂 There are some nice behind-the-scenes images on the Kapali Studios website which I thought it would be nice to share here: There were some other images here: The total of my cipher mystery books purchases for 2017 was £260, which was actually a little lower than recent years (it’s been fairly quiet).
However, if you put all these pieces together, it seems highly likely to me that it was instead the Z340 cipher that had been constructed as a response to President Marsh’s taunt (it appeared a mere seventeen days later).
Hence it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that the Z340 indeed contains a specific name for us to decrypt – though, as always, it seems highly unlikely that this will contain the Zodiac Killer’s name.
If (like me) you’re a pirate museum trivia fan, you’ll be interested to hear that the film-makers did their talking heads interviews in the Musée de la Marine and the Musée Cognacq-Jay (both in Paris), as well as on “L’Étoile du Roy“, a 46m replica of an 18th century British sixth-rate frigate that is a well-known tourist attraction in Saint-Malo (it was previously used as HMS Indefatigable in the TV series “Hornblower”).
Of course, as a cipher historian who cannot for the life of me see any actual connection between La Buse and “his” cryptogram, there could be no place set for me at that particular table – for realistically, where would the mystery be without the cryptogram?
Nice little book on Australia’s surprising war-time cryptology effort, something that tends to get trampled by gung-ho American cryptology historians. Interpretation: Sizing Up the Money Pit: Volume 3, by G. Bath * Anson’s Gold: and the Secret to Captain Kidd’s Charts, by George Edmunds I reviewed Bath’s books and Edmunds’ book in my blog.
And no, it’s not all about Eric Nave (he actually plays a surprisingly small part in this account). The Mystery: Oak Island Speculation: Volume 2, by G. * The Sirius Mystery: New Scientific Evidence for Alien Contact, by Robert K. Temple Cipher Mysteries commenter Astronomical challenged me to read this, to make up my own mind about Temple’s Sirius theories (though on 1st April, so it’s hard to be sure). now that it has arrived, I just haven’t been able to get excited enough to actually pick it up, so it’s still waiting patiently on my bookshelf.
In particular, I want to suggest an approach we might follow to try to solve the Z340 that (hopefully) won’t need a brain the size of a planet to run it.