How to solve the KRYPTOS sculpture encryption.

- Bill Houck, Ph.D. (well, soon we hope)

(Dedicated to Rachel S.)

"That was a static filled, triple scrambled, microwave transmission between two soldiers talking in Mandarin Chinese!"

"Well, the Chinese were only using a simple polyphonetically grouped twenty-square-digit key transposed in booster-verdonic form with multiple nulls."

Ok, so you want to know how to solve the Sanborn Kryptos scupture?  Read on.

Info on the sculpture and its history can be found here.  (The text of the sculpture can be found towards the bottom of the history page.)

See http://elonka.com/kryptos for loads more info. Elonka has done an amazing job constructing her web site. She has solutions to the remainder of the sculpture (the solved portions) that I don't, so definitely go there!!!

I've taken the liberty of using the keys already provided from Jim Gillogly obtained from his computer crunching of the message.  If you want to know the details of how to do that, I'd suggest starting with a Google of "Vigenere ciphers" or "cryptography software."  There are multiple programs out there for playing with these forms of cryptography, though I have yet to use one.


Kryptos - Section 1:

Section 1 Cipher Table

palimpsest (n): something altered yet bearing traces of its original form

  K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z

1

P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y
2 A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S
3 L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J
4 I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H
5 M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L
6 P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y
7 S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O
8 E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B C D
9 S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O
10 T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To use the table, first examine the key (palimpsest).  It has ten letters.  This represents the period of the encoding, that is, the encoding repeats every ten letters.  So, we write down ten letter blocks of the message and begin.  Look for the first letter in line number one of the table.  It's corresponding message letter can be found in row zero.  The second letter can be found by looking in row 2, and so on.  

 

EMUFPHZLRFAXYUSDJKZLDKRNSHGNFIVJ

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2
E M U F P H Z L R F A X Y U S D J K Z L D K R N S H G N F I V J
B E T W E E N S U B T L E S H A D I N G A N D T H E A B S E N C

 

 

 

YQTQUXQBQVYUVLLTREVJYQTMKYRDMFD

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3
Y Q T Q U X Q B Q V Y U V L L T R E V J Y Q T M K Y R D M F D
E O F L I G H T L I E S T H E N U A N C E O F I Q L U S I O N

 

Putting this all together gives:

Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion.

Continuance of this key provides us with gibberish for the next block of text, so we move on to another key.


 

Kryptos - Section 2:

Section 2 Cipher Table

abscissa (n): the first element of an ordered pair

  K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z
1 A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S
2 B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A
3 S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O
4 C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B
5 I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H
6 S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O
7 S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O
8 A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z K R Y P T O S

 

VFPJUDEEHZWETZYVGWHKKQETGFQJNCE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
V F P J U D E E H Z W E T Z Y V G W H K K Q E T G F Q J N C E
I T W A S T O T A L L Y I N V I S I B L E H O W S T H A T P O

 

 

 

GGWHKK?DQMCPFQZDQMMIAGPFXHQRLG

8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4
G G W H K K D Q M C P F Q Z D Q M M I A G P F X H Q R L G
S S I B L E T H E Y U S E D T H E E A R T H S M A G N E T

 

 

 

TIMVMZJANQLVKQEDAGDVFRPJUNGEUNA

5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3
T I M V M Z J A N Q L V K Q E D A G D V F R P J U N G E U N A
I C F I E L D X T H E I N F O R M A T I O N W A S G A T H E R

 

 

 

QZGZLECGYUXUEENJTBJLBQCRTBJDFHRR

4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3
Q Z G Z L E C G Y U X U E E N J T B J L B Q C R T B J D F H R R
E D A N D T R A N S M I T T E D U N D E R G R U U N D T O A N U

 

 

 

YIZETKZEMVDUFKSJHKFWHKUWQLSZFTI

4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2
Y I Z E T K Z E M V D U F K S J H K F W H K U W Q L S Z F T I
N K N O W N L O C A T I O N X D O E S L A N G L E Y K N O W A

 

 

 

HHDDDUVH?DWKBFUFPWNTDFIYCUQZERE

3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
H H D D D U V H D W K B F U F P W N T D F I Y C U Q Z E R E
B O U T T H I S T H E Y S H O U L D I T S B U R I E D O U T

 

 

 

EVLDKFEZMOQQJLTTUGSYQPFEUNLAVIDX

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
E V L D K F E Z M O Q Q J L T T U G S Y Q P F E U N L A V I D X
T H E R E S O M E W H E R E X W H O K N O W S T H E E X A C T L

 

 

 

FLGGTEZ?FKZBSFDQVGOGIPUFXHHDRKF

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6
F L G G T E Z F K Z B S F D Q V G O G I P U F X H H D R K F
O C A T I O N O N L Y W W T H I S W A S H I S L A S T M E S

 

 

 

FHQNTGPUAECNUVPDJMQCLQUMUNEDFQ

7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4
F H Q N T G P U A E C N U V P D J M Q C L Q U M U N E D F Q
S A G E X T H I R T Y E I G H T D E G R E E S F I F T Y S E

 

 

 

ELZZVRRGKFFVOEEXBDMVPNFQXEZLGRE

5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3
E L Z Z V R R G K F F V O E E X B D M V P N F Q X E Z L G R E
V E N M I N U T E S S I X P O I N T F I V E S E C O N D S N O

 

 

 

DNQFMPNZGLFLPMRJQYALMGNUVPDXVKP

4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2
D N Q F M P N Z G L F L P M R J Q Y A L M G N U V P D X V K P
R T H S E V E N T Y S E V E N D E G R E E S E I G H T M I N U

 

 

 

DQUMEBEDMHDAFMJGZNUPLGEWJLLAETG

3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1
D Q U M E B E D M H D A F M J G Z N U P L G E W J L L A E T G
T E S F O R T Y F O U R S E C O N D S W E S T I D B Y R O W S

 

 

 

This one gives:

It was totally invisible  Hows that  possible?  They used the Earths magnetic field X 

The information was gathered and transmitted undergruund to an unknown location X

Does Langley know about this?  They should Its buried out there somewhere X

Who knows the exact location?  Only WW  This was his last message X

Thirty eight degrees fifty seven minutes six point five seconds north 

Seventy seven degrees eight minutes forty four seconds west  ID by rows

 

For more info, visit http://elonka.com/kryptos