Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



A Fistful of Eight Letter Words

One of my favorite things in life is playing cryptograms at cryptogramcorner.org

I found the cryptogram puzzle for May 2nd, 2013 especiaLLy challenging. It is shorter than most of the puzzles presented by cryptogramcorner.org and I worked on it for more than six hours without seeming to get close to the correct answer. I normaLLy solve these puzzles in five to fifteen minutes, but my usual techniques didn't seem to work.

I noticed an interesting pattern with the author's name on the bottom line. Each name is six letters long, and there are close ties between the names and two of the words from the quotation (first line). The single letter word U appears most likely to be the word "a" because it is also the last letter of the first name. I believe there are far more names that end with A rather than I.

The name connections: 6th letter of the last name equals the 1st and 4th letter of the first name, and the 3rd and 4th letters of the last equal the 2nd and 3rd of the first and the 2nd letter of the last name, most likely A, equals the 6th letter of the first name. THEN ... letters 5-2-3-4 of the last name equal letters 1-2-3-4 out of the 5 letters of the 4th word of the quotation.

I originally thought, "this one might be easy." - Wrong

So I asked Google for a list of the common last names and searched for names that had a 2nd letter A where none of the letters are repeated. I tried several names but nothing seemed to match.

I neXt tried going through my local telephone book looking for last names with the same criteria. Nothing seemed to work.

Then I noticed a pattern in the 7th word of the quotation: VXTJVNTQ

There is translational symmetry in the odd numbered letters. The V is the same for the 1st and 5th letters, and the T is the same for the 3rd and 7th letters, and then aLL the even numbered letters X-J-N-Q are unique. 


It was time to apply more brute computer force.

I asked Google for aLL the 8 letter words of the English language. 

It gave me 29,766 words.

I puLLed them into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I wrote an IF statement in the adjacent column that looked for a match of 1st and 5th AND 3rd and 7th, and display TRUE or FALSE. Then I built another IF statement in the next column to display the number 1 in the middle of the column when the TRUE was found, otherwise leave a blank. This technique allows you to visually inspect thousands of things very fast by paging up & down. I found 112 eight letter words that matched my criteria. I was successful at that level of search and didn't bother adding the more complicated logic of checking the even numbered letters for uniqueness. I figured I could just eyeball for now.

So I paged through all 29,766 words in several minutes trying to find what I thought might be good, better and best candidates for the word in the quotation. I made an ordered list of the good better best in Notepad. I also felt that with the word order meant it might be an adjective, being the second to the last word of the quotation, plus it followed the word "a".

Out of the 112 words, I had floated the word "epidemic" as my top favorite, and "clenched" as my second. But then I remembered that the last word of the puzzle was a four letter word, and I suddenly thought of the very common word that goes with clenched: FIST

So, I tried clenched in the puzzle and the suddenly I could read almost the entire puzzle without the other letters even being in place! I could see how the I of FIST was going to give the name INDIRA GANDHI - the only word I didn't get immediately was the very first word of the quote, it took a few minutes to get "you". 

.... and finaLLy ....


Marianne said...

Be honest. You totally crack codes for the FBI, don't you.

Rob Z Tobor said...

Awesome Mr ESB . .. . what can I say. I think you need to become a spy, maybe a pineapple spy.

I think we have the making of a great movie in that name

The Pineapple Spy

All we need now is a plot, a script and a friendly Steven Spielberg and several million dollars (or pounds).

esbboston said...

Marianne: I tried getting a job with a spook agency after losing my computer-chemist career at the petrochemical place, but no [luck]. I have just been studying a wide variety of things ever since hoping to stumble upon something that pays. I just recently got connected with a major local retail company and started learning their systems informally because I have close 40 year connection to their IT guy. So it kinda feels like I have a part-time job now, with lots of mileage already accumulated and several hours of training, now I am hoping for a paycheck soon, really anything would be nice. But at least there are TOYS!!! ... and aLL the accompanying technical support they need.

esbboston said...

Rob: Yes! A movie! We could caLL it "Life of Pi Nap Pull" My main concern with getting this new part time job of electronic technician is that it wiLL take time away from Cooper. But if he is asleep most of the time I am away from the house, maybe he is dreaming about playing games with his Ernie. So we should use a dog instead of a tigger in the movie. Certainly not a cow, then it would have to be a moovie, hahahahahaha.

esbboston said...

Rob & Marianne: I just happen to be half way through a fascinating book about catching a real life computer hacker spy, one of the first accounts from back in the '80s, the book is "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Clifford Stoll

fmcgmccllc said...

Hey Esby, hows it goin? Had a terrific phone interview this morning for a job.

esbboston said...

fmcgmccllc: That is reaLLy good news! But remember, you aren't s'pposed to be terrifying during job interviews. I guess that might be okay if you are applying for a job as a cop, Guantanomo Bay interregator, or play Godzilla in a play. Oh wait, you said 'terrific'. Is it a job close to home or do they want you to move? I don't have many options for moving.

Rob Z Tobor said...

If you do need to be away from Cooper you could build an electro mechanical Mr ESB with that DIY computer of yours. Then if you were to put a picture of your face on it add recently worn clothing and slippers plus some mathematical curiosity, say a pencil, paper and a few complex equations, he will be convinced you are still about.

Well up to the point you come home then he will be confused and assume you are an imposter and eat you.

esbboston said...

Rob: Ah, that is a veRy good idea! So, I would caLL it an "Ern-duino" - hahahahaha. I would just make sure that the Ern-duino would go into his Mr Roboto holding pen before I come in the house, and I think Cooper would be satisfied enough not to attack. Then again, he might like having the two of us. He does like it when Tamie and I are in the same room, he gets on the floor between us and contentedly works on his chew toy. He is usuaLLy closer to me, so if there were three of us, Tamie, Ernest amd Ern-duino he might feel reaLLy important, more people to get his food, treats, and water.

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