Good Math/Bad Math

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Britain has a very cool judge

Just saw this over on slashdot and BBC news:

As you may have heard, the author of the dreadful book "The DaVinci Codes" was sued in a British court for plagiarism of an earlier non-fiction book. The judge who wrote the ruling on the case embedded an encrypted message into the decision, by italicising letters scattered through the text.

I haven't seen the solution yet; according to Slashdot, the italicized letters in the judgement are (corrected from my original post, which already contained a correction from the original slashdot posting): "smithycodeJaeiextostpsacgreamqwfkadpmqv". (Thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed out the missing "v".)

I doubt that I'll have time to look at this before someone comes up with a solution, but I thought the people who read this blog might be interested in this little puzzler.


  • Actually the correct code is


    The v is missing in most articles.

    It's not a simple substitution cipher because the distribution is wrong and it's a little short to do standard testing for a Vigenère cipher.

    See Simon Singh's web site for descriptions He's the author of 'The Code Book', a brief but well written book on the history of codes.

    In the pdf there is also a comment in paragraph 52
    "The key to solving the
    conundrum posed by this judgment is in reading HBHG and DVC."

    HBHG is Holy Blood Holy Grail and DVC is Da Vinci Code. That was also my first guess but the number of letters is wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 AM  

  • got it. it means "congratulations cracking the code". just apply the fibonacci sequence.

    By Anonymous Ido, at 6:38 PM  

  • ido:

    Good grief, then go tell the world --- or at least Slashdot. (-:

    By Blogger Blake Stacey, at 6:29 AM  

  • The solution is in today's Times, 28 April 2006 page 15.
    all best

    By Blogger Maxine, at 11:08 AM  

  • So the message decodes to: "Smithy Code Jackie Fisher who are you Dreadnought". It is a reference to the designer of the HMS Dreadnought, which was launched exactly 100 years before this trial began. The code is the same Fibonacci sequence code that's used in the novel.

    By Blogger MarkCC, at 10:19 AM  

  • I was bluffing, but at least I got the fibonacci part right!

    By Anonymous ido, at 6:56 PM  

  • Personally, I'd rather the judge spend his time doing his job, your know, locking bad people up.
    Oh, but, the government would probably let them out *anyway*, esp. if they were due to be deported...

    (sorry if this makes no sense to non-UK residents)

    By Blogger Falken, at 9:12 PM  

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