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between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion

2005 DC Visit

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Notes from the attendees

Questions for Jim Sanborn:

  • Is the choice of font for the sculpture significant?
  • What is the length of the plaintext for part 4? Is it less than 97 characters?
  • You and Ed have said time and time again that the solution to K4 is in English. So we won't be seeing any Roman Numerals in it, will we?
  • Is the triangle block or its location important to the solution?
  • Is the triangle block significant to solving K4 or K5?
  • Where exactly is the triangle block (show current guesstimate graphics)
  • Are the K2 lat/long coordinates meant to be used with the compass vector to point to the triangle block?
  • Are the initials JS (or QS) on the white rock deliberate? Are there any other initials on any other rocks?
  • Are the initials related to the "subtle shading / nuance of iqlusion" or to K4?
  • Is the anagram from "ABSCISSA / PALIMPSEST" to "PS, it's as simple as ABC!" deliberate?
  • Which sort of individual does Sanborn feel is more likely to solve Kryptos? An artist, a scientist, a Greek historian, or a mathematician (or a pure cryptographer/cryptanalysis)?
  • Which of his works does Sanborn think is his finest?
  • Are the strata supposed to be aligned on the same compass bearing, and tilted at the same altitude?
  • Do we have enough information to solve K4? If not, is there someplace special that we can find it?
  • Do the rocks at the base of the sculpture have any bearing towards the puzzle?
  • What was the intended method for solving parts 1-3?
  • What do you consider to be the front of the Kryptos sculpture?
  • Are you aware of the graffiti written on the back of one of the courtyard outcroppings (those straddling the pond)?
  • Are the linear aberations found on the face of various granite strata an accident, or did you purposely put them there? Are those on the face of the outcropping with the compass rose, relevant to the coordinates found in the plaintext of K2? Are they significant in other ways?

  • Now that you've had time to think about it, does Ed Scheidt genuinely understand the significance of the raised letters in K3's HYDRA, uh, DYAHR? Does he think he understands their use?

  • Did Ed discuss with you the operative he had in mind, who could come around years later, find the keys placed at the sculpture and solve the puzzle? Are YOU fully aware of the keys to which Ed refers?
  • There are some significant differences between the Maquette video and the (eventual) actual Kryptos environment. For instance, the limestone block and the petrified bench (near the sculpture) are represented by a single petrified block in the video. The compass strata (near the front entrance) turned out significantly different, and the arrowhead strata (near the compass) is missing. What other adjustments did you make to the Kryptos environment when taking it from the drawing board and actually implementing it at the CIA construction site?
  • Are there objects on the roof of the CIA building that play a part in the Kryptos mystery?
  • Are you aware of any physical objects that make up the Kryptos environment that haven't been mentioned before? Is something hiding in the reeds, for instance?
  • Are the horizontal marking/breaches on the petrified upright significant? We notice you have some carved into the plastic upright in the Maquette video.
  • Is there more Morse to be found?
  • Do you peruse the Kryptos discussion group? If not, how are you keeping abreast of developments?

  • Can you give any hints on any of the Covert Operations Fragments?
  • --What is the cipher alphabet for the Cyrillic COF?
  • --Are there mistakes in the Cyrillic COF like there are on the English COF?
  • --Does the Cyrillic COF use the same style of of Vigenere as the English COF?
  • --Does it use Modulus Transposition like the Zola COF?
  • --What is the relation of the FRB fragment to the large Cyrillic COF?
  • --note that the lettering is not exactly matching up...

  • --15 years have gone by. Has environmental degradation (weathering, erosion, settlement, frost heaves) made it impossible for a newcomer to start now and find everything needed for a solution?
  • --Sanborn has stated that he has not gone back to check his own solution. After 15 years of trying and failing doesn't that warrant a verification that the solution is valid?
  • --If the solution is supposedly "pencil and paper" type, why doesn't the failure of exhaustive methods trouble him that something is wrong with the encryption?
  • --Is the plaintext of K4 masked in a such a way that an individual might not realize that a successful decryption has taken place or is the plaintext readily "human readable"?
  • --Is Sanborn familiar with the works of William Steig (other than Shrek) such as CDB (See The Bee)?
  • --Does Sanborn consider himself "mean-spirited"?
  • --It's been 15 years, can you please throw us a bone?

    Questions for Ed Scheidt:

  • Do you peruse the Kryptos discussion group? If not, how are you keeping abreast of developments?
  • Can you, today, discern from the actual Kryptos environment (and not just from the blueprints or Jim's descriptions, say), the clues left for your op? That is, did you perform a walkabout after the Kryptos environment was christened, noting that all the clues needed are there?
  • Did Sanborn change the rendering of those clues while constructing the environment on the CIA campus?
  • Can you describe the op you have in mind, and the skill set they bring to the table? Is s/he more of a mathematician, scientist, historian or visual artist? Or just someone with better than average skills at observation?
  • Talk to us about the language masking technique you've mentioned. Is it your own design? Does it have a history or pedigree? Does it incorporate bitwise manipulation? Is Sanborn's choice of font significant?
  • You've said that the keys are hidden at the sculpture. Do you distinguish here the Kryptos sculpture (the petrified upright and copper S-curve alone) from the whole of the Kryptos environment (which includes the strata outcroppings, in the front entrance and in the courtyard, the duck pond, the circular pool under the sculpture, and the limestone rock and petrified bench)?
  • Do you understand the significance of the raised letters in K3's DYAHR?

    NSA Cryptologic History Symposium, October 27-28, 2005

    Elonka will be giving a brief talk about Kryptos from 1-1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 28, at the Kossiakoff Center at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Registration is $35. More information is here:

    Sanborn Lunch on October 29, 2005

    People who attended the 9/29 Saturday lunch with Sanborn:

  • Doug Gwyn
  • Jae (Sanborn's s.o.)
  • Jim Sanborn
  • Elonka Dunin
  • Whitfield Diffie
  • Jim A. / FitnezzJim
  • John Wilson - SciRealm
  • Ed Scheidt
  • Mike Scheidt
  • Timball
  • Chris Hanson / Xenon
  • Carol (Sanborn's business associate)
  • Mark Siegal / Sarque
  • Charles Varga, USC

    Probable location: / Cafe Asia (1720 I St NW):

    Nearby Metro stops: Farragut West (Orange and Blue lines) and Farragut North (Red line)

    Scheidt Visit on October 30, 2005

    Museum website:

    People who visited the museum:

  • Ed Scheidt
  • Mike Scheidt
  • Elonka Dunin
  • John Wilson - SciRealm
  • Frank Corr
  • Jim A. / FitnezzJim

    People who attended the dinner at Zola Restaurant (6 p.m.):

    Restaurant website:

  • Ed Scheidt
  • John Wilson - SciRealm
  • Elonka Dunin
  • Mike Scheidt
  • Jim A. / FitnezzJim
  • Chris Speidel / d1stancerunner
  • Charles Varga, USC
  • Frank Corr

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