Unsolved Codes


Oh, the heady days of elementary school, when finding frogs in ditches was all the rage and I was at the peak of my clerical skills! Each day brought a new filing technique more unstoppable than the last, and for a time it all had a point, of sorts. I started producing what I hoped would be an exhaustive lists of interesting ciphers. (To the ignorant people who might think I mean “codes”: I look down upon you! Feast on my smugness and contempt! …then get educated.) Each cipher, though an utter triviality, was technically different on some extremely superficial level, thereby justifying a new delightfully colored notecard. Among the ponderings that might have stalled my Cherrio® consumption were “Hmm… should I translate all the ‘a’s to ‘f’s today, or maybe to ‘g’s?” and “Does this diagonal squiggle best misrepresent the word ‘the’ or is the article more poorly indicated with a solid hexagon?” All this was maticulously filed away in a box of color coded notecards, which were carefully notched and labeled by hand like notebook section dividers. This was of course fueled by grandious fantasies of self-importance and impending intrigue. Only the security that comes with the two-character transposition cipher pastelorange-5 is good enough for arranging meetings down by the creek and choosing which Transformers™ to bring along.

Anyway, what I’m getting at, very indirectly, is that there is a whole lot of sweet unsolved ciphers/codes out in the world, and I’m pretty certain I would have come up with them given enough monkeys, typewriters, and colored notecards. But of course it would be shame about all the colored trees that would have to be felled, so I have left some for others. One aestheticly pleasing example Kryptos, hidden deep in the heart of spy-land.

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