Any code breakers here?
THE NEW YORK TIMES
April 22, 2006
A Break for Code Breakers on a C.I.A. Mystery
By KENNETH CHANG
For nearly 16 years, puzzle enthusiasts have labored to decipher an 865-character coded message
stenciled into a sculpture on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency's headquarters in Langley,
Va. This week, the sculptor gave them an unsettling but hopeful surprise: part of the message they thought
they had deciphered years ago actually says something else.
The sculpture, titled "Kryptos," the Greek word for "hidden," includes an undulating sheet of copper with
a message devised by the sculptor, Jim Sanborn, and Edward M. Scheidt, a retired chairman of the C.I.A.'s
The message is broken into four sections, and in 1999, a computer programmer named Jim Gillogly announced
he had figured out the first three, which include poetic ramblings by the sculptor and an account of the
opening of King Tut's tomb. The C.I.A. then announced that one of its physicists, David Stein, had also
deciphered the first three sections a year earlier.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Sanborn left a phone message for Elonka Dunin, a computer game developer who
also runs an e-mail list for enthusiasts trying to solve the "Kryptos" puzzle. For the first time, Mr.
Sanborn had done a line-by-line analysis of his text with what Mr. Gillogly and Mr. Stein had offered as the
solution and discovered that part of the solved text was incorrect.
Within minutes, Ms. Dunin called back, and Mr. Sanborn told her that in the second section, one of the X's he
had used as a separator between sentences had been omitted, altering the solution. "He was concerned that
it had been widely published incorrectly," Ms. Dunin said.