book cover
From FLYNN's April 9, 1927


Edited by M. E. Ohaver

ANY readers of this department, in their literary or other explorations and investigations, have no doubt come across some curious or interesting facts relating to cryptography.

One such find is related in the following letter. What have you discovered?


Being a constant peruser and adrnirer of FLYNN'S WEEKLY, and interested in the cipher department, I take the liberty of sending you the following quatrain on ciphers which I (lug up in an old volume of curious and entertaining essays entitled "Salad for the Solitary," published by Lamport, Blakenian & Law, New York, MDCCCLIII, anonymously; but I believe the author is Wharton Griffith, Esq.

In an essay on "Something About Nothing" he has this:

"We offer to our fair readers the following attempt to make something out of nothing".

'U O a O but I O U,
O O no O but O O me:
O let not my O a O go.
But give O O I O U so.'

The English version reads thus:

You sigh for a cypher, but I sigh for you;
O sigh for no cypher, but O sigh for me:
O let not my sigh for a cypher go,
But give sigh for sigh, for I sigh for you so.

Hoping this will interest or amuse you,

Yours, etc.,


Long Island, New York.

In our efforts to run down the author of the above book we have found an edition catalogued: "Salad for the Solitary. By an Epicure. [Signed, F. S., i.e. Frederick Saunders.] London, 1853."

"F. S." also wrote "Salad for the Social," London, 1856. And both books were later combined under one cover after the following most tempting title page:

Salad for the Solitary and the Social; by an Epicure; redressed and compounded with sundry additional esculents, succulents, and condiments. [Anon.] New York, 1875.

We also find the line "U O a O & I O U"—You sigh for a cipher and I sigh for you—used by the Rev, Thomas J. A. Freeman in the caption of his article, "Scientific Chronicle: Cipher," in the "American Catholic Quarterly Review" for October, 1893, accompanied by the following statement:

We have a vague recollection reaching back with uncertain gropings into the dimness of the distant past that the author of the above quotation was Dean Swift, but unfortunately we have not been able to lay our hand on the evidence.

The authorship of the quatrain would thus seem to remain in doubt. Can you help decide the matter?

Numerous requests have been received for the answers to those reader ciphers which were published without solutions in the earlier issues of the department. Accordingly we take this opportunity of reprinting the "clock dial "cipher of Rev. Mr. Veale, No. 7, in FLYNN'S WEEKLY for September 12, 1925, this time including the translation and key:

Cipher: 2-5-1-G-G-8-5-C-5-A-A-F-L-11-H-

Message: Be at the Pennsylvania Station, New York City, on Thursday next at twelve noon.

Key: (Note: The original key was in circular form, in fanciful representation of a clock dial.)

N   O   P   Q   R   S   T  U-V  W   X   Y   Z
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H  I-J  K   L   M
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12

This is a simple substitution alphabet where the "hours" are symbols for the letters in the second line, these in turn representing those in the first line, thus: 1=A, 2 =B... A=N, B=O, and so on through the alphabet.

For this week's problems turn first to No. 10, where you will find a gem of wisdom concealed in an intentionally easy cipher.

Then try No. 11, not so easy, in what Mr. Green terms his "diamond cipher," because of the resemblance of his key to that geometrical figure. This one involves a simple transposition as well as substitution, most of the letters having two symbols, the relationship between which, however, should not be very difficult to discover:

CIPHER No. 10 (J. R. Midford, Portland, Me.).


CIPHER No. 11 (Claude S. Green, Albany, N. Y.).


In regard to your inquiry, we have had the following cars at our dock during the past week.

641,322;  422,224;  341,154;  614,632;
272,318;  466,471;  555,573;  453,323;
235,531;  245,245;  723,132;  546,446;
132,213;  365,511;  321,728.


S. E. T.

The solution to last week's No. 8 (Basil J. Condon) was: "You'll find them all in this one. The public was amazed to view the dexterity of the juggler."

This was a substitution cipher using a series of thirteen different letters which, as capitals, represented the letters A to M, and as small letters, the letters N to Z. In this case the series was S-O-L-V-I-N-G -C-P-H-E-R-T, formed on the key "Solving Cipher Secrets "by omitting repeated letters.

No. 9 (J. Levine) conveyed the message: "Men fear death as children fear to go into the dark. "Encipherment was accomplished by first substituting for each letter (a) its equivalent (b) in the Bacon alphabet, given in last week's department.

These biliteral substitutes are then arranged (c) in alternate groups of a's and b's. Finally (d) figures are substituted for the number of letters in each of these groups; which, taken by fives (e) constitute the cryptogram. To avoid any uncertainty the cryptogram is prefixed with an index figure (1 in this case), which, if odd, indicates that the first group is composed of a's; or, if even, that it consists of b's.

(a)   M        E      N       F
(b)   ababb    aabaa  abbaa   aabab
(c)   a b a bb aa b aaa bb aaaa b a b
(d) 1-1 1 1 2  2  1 3   2  4    1 1 1
(e)   11112    21324            111—

The Baconian alphabet easily lends itself to innumerable variations, that of Mr. Levine being exceptionally ingenious and fascinating.

Have you mailed your entry in the National Puzzlers' League "Crypt Contest," published in the March 19 issue of this magazine?

The solutions to the prize crypts, which are masterpieces of their kind, and the list of prize winners, will be published in early issues of this department of the magaine. Watch for them!

Answers to this week's ciphers Nos. 10 and 11 will be given in next week's issue, which will also contain a new challenge cipher, with a year's free subscription for FLYNN'S WEEKLY at stake for the clever winner!

Be sure to get your copy.