340-cipher - Overview and Examination


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Ciphers: 340-cipher - Overview and Examination

By Glen Claston (dialup-209.245.229.163.dallas1.level3.net - 209.245.229.163) on Friday, September 01, 2000 - 11:49 pm:

(I’ve created this thread to offer information and overview on the problem of the 340-cipher, and because the last thread was taking a very long time to load on my system.)

The 340-cipher remains unsolved, and the notes and observations contained in this section are directed toward its solution. An understanding of Zodiac’s first cipher is helpful in understanding attempts at deciphering his second cipher, so I will give a brief description of the mechanics of the 3-part cipher as a prelude to the 340-cipher.

Zodiac’s first cipher, commonly known as the 3-part cipher (408 character cipher) was quickly and accurately solved by Donald Gene and Bettye June Harden in 1969. The Hardens discovered that the cipher was a Homophonic Substitution Cipher with frequency suppression. John King, a current poster on this site, has correctly pointed out that Zodiac began this cipher as a Progressive homophonic substitution, but quickly shifted to the Random method of encipherment. This cipher is considered Homophonic instead of Monalphabetic because of the use of multiple cipher characters for certain plaintext characters. When multiple cipher characters are used to express the same plaintext letter such as “E”, the multiple cipher characters for the letter "E" are referred to as “homophones” because they all have the same meaning, hence the term “homophonic” cipher.

For an understanding of the terms "Progressive" and "Random" as they apply to the 3-part cipher, I give this lengthy explanation as an example of a progressive homophonic cipher, with reference to the alphabet the Hardens extracted from the 3-part cipher. You may reference the 3-part cipher at http://www.geocities.com/cryptography_2000/z-408.htm , and you may reference its corresponding alphabet at http://www.geocities.com/cryptography_2000/408-bet.html.

In the 3-part cipher alphabet you will notice that the plaintext (pt) character “E” has 7 cipher symbols below it, while the “I” pt has 4, the “L” pt 2, and the “K” pt has only one. The reason this cipher alphabet has varying numbers of cipher symbols representing pt characters is due to the “popularity” or “frequency” of these characters in written English. The letter “E” is by far the most frequently used character in the English language, and therefore needs to be masked in some way so that it doesn’t stand out. The masking of more frequent characters by any means is termed “Frequency Suppression” because its purpose is to suppress the frequency of cipher characters related to the plaintext character, in this case the “E”. If “E” were represented by only one character in this cipher instead of seven, the count of that singular character would clearly indicate to the cryptanalyst that this cipher character corresponds to the letter “E”.

The term “Random” means exactly what it says, a random selection of the cipher characters under the “E” column to represent the “E” in ciphertext. Progressive means starting at the top of the list of 7 characters and using each one in order every time the “E” comes up and needs to be enciphered. When you get to the bottom of the list, you start over. The problem with this is you have to keep track of what character you used last.

Zodiac started out with a classic textbook Progressive Homophonic Cipher, but quickly lost track and went into Random mode. This calls into question his cryptographic knowledge and ability, as well as his patience. The fact that he doubled the letter “L” so many times and even allowed the double to be defined by the same character also evokes questions relating to his knowledge and expertise in the art of cipher. We saw from the 3-part cipher that Zodiac used two types of frequency suppression, the first being homophonic suppression based on character frequency, and the second being intentional misspelling of words. These demonstrate that while he was very aware that his system needed some sort of masking, he was not competent enough with his tools to mask the system completely.

THE 340-CIPHER
In the 340-cipher, Zodiac clearly changed his system to some extent. How this system changed has not yet been quantified, and one thing for sure is that it won’t be a textbook example of any given system when the results finally come in. The general feeling among cryptanalysts is that the system employed does not differ much from the first cipher, which poses the question of why it hasn’t been solved. I’ll gather my thoughts on this and present my notes on each aspect of this cipher so everyone interested may follow the research involved and not have to duplicate that research in finding a solution to this cipher. In the meantime I recommend you gain an understanding of the 3-part cipher through some hands-on in working it out for yourselves. (J, this is a very good way to figure out how to help!)

By Ed N. (spider-wn051.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.197.171) on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 12:11 am:

Glen, in other words, what you're saying is that Z did not necessarily have to be trained in cryptography in the military, but rather may have just read a book or two and gave it a shot? That's certainly what it sounds like to me after reading your assessment of his ability.

You wrote:

... he was not competent enough with his tools to mask the system completely.

This is similar to my thought that he was not particularly competent with weapons either. Perhaps Z was incompetent with much of what he did, and was more like a common, average everyday schmuck who got very lucky and not the cold, calculating, insane superhuman genius the media (and Penn) has made him out to be. The real Z was probably just a putz.

By Glen Claston (dialup-209.245.228.65.dallas1.level3.net - 209.245.228.65) on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 12:42 am:

Ed,
Although I hate to describe anyone who uses cipher as a Putz, PUTZ it seems to be. Sorry if this shatters anyone's glass houses.

By Glen Claston (dialup-209.245.224.178.dallas1.level3.net - 209.245.224.178) on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 02:16 am:

Major error in previous post! I quoted John King as describing the beginning of Zodiac's 3-part cipher as being "Progressive", when John King actually said "Sequential". While I know this is not a major error in most minds, it is a major error in cipher terminology. I can only apologize to John King by saying that my primary field of endeavour is polyalphabetics, and I failed to adjust to the appropriate terminology.

Again, my apologies.

By Kevin M (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - 24.21.120.22) on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 02:57 pm:

Ed N. wrote: "This is similar to my thought that he was not particularly competent with weapons either."

Just curious, where in the world do you get the idea he is not very competent with weapons!?! Cannot agree with you on this one. We can take this to another section of the board if you wish...

By Anonymous (1cust72.tnt2.san-angelo.tx.da.uu.net - 63.25.97.72) on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 03:52 pm:

My guess is Zodiac wrote parts of his cipher backward and some forward. He may have written some words backward and some forward. He may have written some sentences forward and some backward. Using this reasoning I have started deciphering the message.

By Glen Claston (dialup-209.244.94.23.dallas1.level3.net - 209.244.94.23) on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 05:23 pm:

San Angelo? I trained at Goodfellow and jet-skied on Lake Nastywater (or was that Nasworthy)? Great Chili cook-off, the best Texas has to offer. Typical intel building - three stories with no windows, surrounded by guards, dogs, and a double chainlink fence topped with consantina wire. Cameras everywhere. You know the site? I bet you do!

Backwards is still a possibility, though little evidence exists in its support. Just glad to see someone approaching one of the many angles that need to be covered. Will you be good enough to reveal your paths and results to us so we don't have to duplicate them?

By Bert (user-2iniutc.dialup.mindspring.com - 165.121.123.172) on Thursday, September 21, 2000 - 09:25 pm:

Glen,

It's interesting to look at how the 408- & 340-ciphers
compare in terms of ciphertext character repetition rates.

For example, using ciphertext notation similar to your
http://www.geocities.com/cryptography_2000/340.txt
we have:

408Row#1: 18P/Z/UB8kORnpXnB (4 reps/17)
408Col#3: P+Y/LqT/KDpDMIpSaXTeFdJX (4 reps/24)
...
340Row#3: ByncM+UZGWzaL6uHJ (0 reps/17)
340Row#4: Spp2^l37VmpO++RKh (3 reps/17)
340Col#2: Epyp130GvuevoGBcceFM (5 reps/20)
340Col#3: RenpMRehMlRc1FXsTakD (4 reps/20)
...

(The definition is such that in "ABAAB" there are three reps,
since A is repeated twice and B is repeated once.)

We can find the rep rates row-by-row and get the average
rep rate within rows for each cipher; similarly, we can do
the same thing column-by-column to get the avg rep rate
within columns for each cipher.

Here's what I find (manually) for the 408- & 340-ciphers ...

#reps in each row
408-cipher: 4 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 2
340-cipher: 0 0 0 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 2 3 1 0

#reps in each column
408-cipher: 1 3 4 4 5 6 4 7 7 3 1 5 5 3 4 5 4
340-cipher: 0 5 4 2 2 6 2 2 4 4 5 3 4 4 2 3 3


Those counts give the following average repetition rates:

-----------------------------------
By rows
408-cipher: 7% = 27 reps /(24*17)
340-cipher: 6% = 19 reps /(20*17)

By columns
408-cipher: 17% = 71 reps /(17*24)
340-cipher: 16% = 55 reps /(17*20)
-----------------------------------


Behavior(1): *Within* each cipher, the rep rate in rows is
notably less than the rep rate in columns (6-7% << 16-17%).

Behavior(1) is consistent with homophonic substitution,
possibly combined with transpositions of some kind.
(The transpositions would have no affect on the rep rates).
It would be a natural consequence of deliberately suppressing
(on avg) the short-term repetition of characters at the time
the ciphertext substitutions are being made. This would
reduce the row rates but would have much less affect on
column rates, which depend on column alignments that are not
likely to be controlled. On the other hand, isn't this
behavior very unlikely with just about any other substitution
scheme (e.g. polyalphabetic)?

Behavior(2): *Between* ciphers, the rep rates are practically
the same, by row (6% ~= 7%) and by column (16% ~= 17%).

Behavior(2) seems to strongly indicate that the type of
substitution scheme used in the 408-cipher, i.e. homophonic,
was used again in the 340-cipher. (And again this behavior
would not be affected by combining the substitution with
transpositions. Also, it seems to me that the addition of
some transpositions would be sufficient to account for the
fact that the 340-cipher has not yet been solved.)

Doesn't it seem likely that the rep rates would have changed
significantly by any fundamental change in the substitution
scheme (e.g. switching from homophonic to polyalphabetic)?

In a "Paradice Slaves" thread, you mention some results of
chi^2 & IoC tests performed on the 340-cipher alone. It might
be interesting to see how those compare *between* the two
ciphers.

Regards,
Bert

By Glen (64.155.114.6) on Friday, September 22, 2000 - 01:35 pm:

Bert,

I actually did look at repetition rates among many other things, and if you’ll check my old posts you’ll see that I’ve been arguing for awhile that there are very few differences between the 408 and 340-ciphers. Your illustration is a very good one and a very good addition to the already overwhelming evidence that the 340 is probably a homophonic cipher or some variant.


-----------------------------------
By rows
408-cipher: 7% = 27 reps /(24*17)
340-cipher: 6% = 19 reps /(20*17)

By columns
408-cipher: 17% = 71 reps /(17*24)
340-cipher: 16% = 55 reps /(17*20)
-----------------------------------


Your figures above are accurate, and you’ll notice that in every measure of repetition the 340 cipher rates lower than the 408. The extra characters don’t add the extra necessary to make up the diffenerence either. Something is causing this, and as you’ve stated, transposition makes no difference in the counts, so it must be something else.

Every check I’ve made for transposition comes up negative, which is disturbing in light of all the other evidence that makes this an unsolved homophonic substitution cipher. Group repetitions and characters at distances all appear to be linear and written left to right. I’ll make a chart of percentages on these figures compared to the 408 and post it.

Behavior(1): *Within* each cipher, the rep rate in rows is
notably less than the rep rate in columns (6-7% << 16-17%).

Behavior(1) is consistent with homophonic substitution,
possibly combined with transpositions of some kind.
(The transpositions would have no affect on the rep rates).
It would be a natural consequence of deliberately suppressing
(on avg) the short-term repetition of characters at the time
the ciphertext substitutions are being made. This would
reduce the row rates but would have much less affect on
column rates, which depend on column alignments that are not
likely to be controlled. On the other hand, isn't this
behavior very unlikely with just about any other substitution
scheme (e.g. polyalphabetic)?


Unlikely with a textbook polyalphabetic, but try a low-level polyalphabetic using the keyword “Abracadabra” for instance. It generates roughly the same statistics as a homophonic substitution cipher, especially in conjunction with randomly selected character alphabets. Too tricky for Zodiac? Not if you consider using the repetition “slavesslavesslaves” or something similar. This was the angle of my investigation into polyalphabetics in the 340. Unfortunately the statistics nixed the idea just about as soon as I came up with it!

Behavior(2): *Between* ciphers, the rep rates are practically
the same, by row (6% ~= 7%) and by column (16% ~= 17%).

Behavior(2) seems to strongly indicate that the type of
substitution scheme used in the 408-cipher, i.e. homophonic,
was used again in the 340-cipher. (And again this behavior
would not be affected by combining the substitution with
transpositions. Also, it seems to me that the addition of
some transpositions would be sufficient to account for the
fact that the 340-cipher has not yet been solved.)

Doesn't it seem likely that the rep rates would have changed
significantly by any fundamental change in the substitution
scheme (e.g. switching from homophonic to polyalphabetic)?

In a "Paradice Slaves" thread, you mention some results of
chi^2 & IoC tests performed on the 340-cipher alone. It might
be interesting to see how those compare *between* the two
ciphers.


I’ve run the IoC tests on both ciphers and there is nothing to compare the two against. The 408 has random peaks as a result of the language used, while there are some lower peaks in the 340, none matching each other. The 340 has an extremely high peak at 78 (13x6, 26x3) which I am checking out through other means (still only 5.5%, but much closer to 6.8 than any peak in the 408). It might be of some significance if we figure the Paradice Slaves cross to be of 13 characters instead of 14, the “a” being used twice in each word. How it could be used is still a mystery however.

I’m glad you’re looking at this cipher, and it seems you’re interested enough to have come up with your own transcription. How does your transcription compare to mine? Do I have any mistakes I need to look at?

By Bert (user-2initkr.dialup.mindspring.com - 165.121.118.155) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 12:47 am:

Glen,

You said
"... try a low-level polyalphabetic using the keyword “Abracadabra” for instance. It generates roughly the same statistics as a homophonic substitution cipher, especially in conjunction with randomly selected character alphabets."

I don't find that to be the case. Suppose we apply a simple Vigenere cipher to, say, the first 256 letters of your paragraph that reads as follows:

"Unlikely with a textbook polyalphabetic, but try a low-level polyalphabetic using the keyword “Abracadabra” for instance. It generates roughly the same statistics as a homophonic substitution cipher, especially in conjunction with randomly selected character alphabets. Too tricky for Zodiac? Not if you co ..."

Thus "unlikelywithatex ..." keyed by "abracadabra" (repeating) produces "uocimeoyxzthbkez..."

The resulting ciphertext, listed 16 letters per row, is as follows:

uocimeoyxzthbkez 3
teopbpompanpkacv 5
tidsuvtuybcowmvv 4
glsompalqyadewid 3
lsioxtjeneznorer 5
btafaerbrbwotiqs 3
urncfztieqesrtet 5
iowgklzkhetrmgsw 3
auzstjtscsdhpdop 5
ifnkcvucjtiultko 5
qcjghesvsrefibcl 3
yjecqnmuottipewk 2
tkrbedoncyueoedk 5
eddyataftfialqya 7
dewsufotszcmyios 3
qodjrcpowigpoudf 4

5335355125534353

where the rep counts are in the margins. The resulting averages are

by-row avg rep rate: 25%
by-col avg rep rate: 23%

For this particular example, the avg rep rate has turned out to be even a bit *greater* in rows than in columns, but I think the difference between 25% and 23% here is not significant. (In this regard, there may also be no significance to the difference between 6% & 7% nor between 16% & 17% in the rates found for the 340-cipher, even if the variation is systematic between the two cases.)

In summary for this example, the rep rates by row and by column are practically the same, as expected for a non-homophonic cipher of this type. (Progressively keyed and autokeyed polyalphabetics of this kind would exibit the same behavior, I believe.)

Have I misunderstood what you mean by "low level" versus "textbook" polyalphabetic ciphers?

(BTW, thank you for creating a text-only transcription of the 340-cipher -- it's the one I used in my posting, if I didn't err in copying it. I referred to "ciphertext notation similar to yours" only because minor extensions were needed to post the samples from the 408-cipher.)


Regards,
Bert

By Mike (spider-wk061.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.198.176) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 06:43 am:

Hi Cipher Dudes-

If a layperson may jump in here for a second, I'd like to ask you what the upshot of all this analysis is. Based on your analyses, do you two gentlemen feel that the 340-cipher, although it seems to be anagrammed or something, DEFINITELY and without any doubt whatsoever holds a message? To put it another way, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 the highest, what is your level of confidence that this code contains a message, whatever that message may be? It is not a joke or a bunch of "gibberish"?

Secondly, what does this code tell you about Z's level of intellectual sophistication? There is still debate over just how smart a guy he really was. I personally feel that his first code, even though he made mistakes within it, indicates that he was a pretty shrewd guy, who knew how to make a code difficult to break. He could also spell and punctuate his letters pretty well when he felt like it. I feel he was a very, very bright guy. Is that what you get from looking at his codes?

Mike

By Glen (dialup-209.246.131.253.dallas1.level3.net - 209.246.131.253) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 07:58 am:

IMHO - The fact that the 340-cipher imitates the 408-cipher in just about every way makes it pretty clear that it holds a message. It certainly wasn't intended to be a joke or "gibberish". Creating a fake with these properties would be far more difficult than creating the real thing. The 340-cipher is a very difficult puzzle, obviously not easily broken. How this relates to Zodiac's intellectual sophistication is another question entirely.

Z chose a relatively simple system for the 408-cipher, but didn't stick to that system long. He may have felt that straying from his original system in the 408-cipher added more security, but his actions actually made the cipher easier to crack. I assume his original intentions were that the cipher be read after much labor, so his intended goal of getting his message out was met in the 408-cipher.

Z's history with the 408-cipher makes the question of transposition in the 340-cipher a very important question. If Z knew enough about cipher to include transposition, but then failed to stick to the system, the cipher could be virtually insolvable. For all intents and purposes it would remain "gibberish" forever. What sense is there in encoding intelligent information, sending that information to the press, but making it impossible to read? If transposition is used in an inconsistent manner in the 340-cipher, Z's lack of knowledge defeated his intentions, since there is clearly a message that may never be read.

I for one think the difficulty here lies in Z's lack of knowledge of cipher, not in his overwhelming mastery of the subject.

By Glen (dialup-209.246.131.53.dallas1.level3.net - 209.246.131.53) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 09:20 am:

Thanks for the post, Bert!

Bert wrote:

You said
"... try a low-level polyalphabetic using the keyword “Abracadabra” for instance. It generates roughly the same statistics as a homophonic substitution cipher, especially in conjunction with randomly selected character alphabets."

I don't find that to be the case. Suppose we apply a simple Vigenere cipher to, say, the first 256 letters of your paragraph that reads as follows:

"Unlikely with a textbook polyalphabetic, but try a low-level polyalphabetic using the keyword “Abracadabra” for instance. It generates roughly the same statistics as a homophonic substitution cipher, especially in conjunction with randomly selected character alphabets. Too tricky for Zodiac? Not if you co ..."

Thus "unlikelywithatex ..." keyed by "abracadabra" (repeating) produces "uocimeoyxzthbkez..."

.....................................

where the rep counts are in the margins. The resulting averages are

by-row avg rep rate: 25%
by-col avg rep rate: 23%

For this particular example, the avg rep rate has turned out to be even a bit *greater* in rows than in columns, but I think the difference between 25% and 23% here is not significant. (In this regard, there may also be no significance to the difference between 6% & 7% nor between 16% & 17% in the rates found for the 340-cipher, even if the variation is systematic between the two cases.)

In summary for this example, the rep rates by row and by column are practically the same, as expected for a non-homophonic cipher of this type. (Progressively keyed and autokeyed polyalphabetics of this kind would exibit the same behavior, I believe.)

Have I misunderstood what you mean by "low level" versus "textbook" polyalphabetic ciphers?


You haven’t misunderstood me in any way! You did use the textbook Vig cipher as an example however. Our cipher in question has over 60 characters selected for frequency suppression. Let me set up an example this weekend and post it. I’ll use the first 340 characters of the 408 cipher, since we ought to be examining this using something that represents Z’s language. Here is my transcription of the 408-cipher and its plaintext in delimited format below so we’re on the same page. Using formatting tags in this text triggers unwanted formatting codes, so you'll have to cut and paste to a text editor and use a fixed width text. Sorry.

408 ciphertext:
1,8,P,/,Z,/,U,B,8,k,O,R,9,p,X,9,B
W,V,+,e,G,Y,F,o,1,H,P,5,K,n,q,Y,e
M,J,Y,^,U,x,k,2,q,T,t,N,Q,Y,D,0,a
S,z,/,1,8,B,P,O,R,A,U,8,f,R,l,q,E
k,^,L,M,Z,J,d,r,,p,F,H,V,W,e,2,Y
5,+,q,G,D,1,K,x,a,o,q,X,3,0,u,S,z
R,N,t,x,Y,E,l,O,1,q,G,B,T,o,S,8,B
L,d,/,P,8,B,5,X,q,E,H,M,U,^,R,R,k
c,Z,K,q,p,x,a,W,q,n,3,0,L,M,r,1,6
B,P,D,R,+,J,9,o,,N,z,e,E,U,H,k,F
Z,c,p,O,V,W,x,0,+,t,L,a,l,^,R,o,H
x,1,D,R,4,T,Y,r,,d,e,/,5,X,J,Q,A
P,0,M,3,R,U,t,8,L,a,N,V,E,K,H,9,G
r,x,n,J,k,0,1,3,L,M,l,N,A,a,Z,z,P
u,U,p,k,A,1,6,B,V,W,,+,V,T,t,O,P
^,9,S,r,l,f,U,e,o,2,D,u,G,8,8,n,M
N,k,a,S,c,E,/,1,8,8,Z,f,A,P,6,B,V
p,e,X,q,W,q,4,F,6,3,c,+,5,1,A,1,B
8,O,T,0,R,U,c,+,4,d,Y,q,4,^,S,q,W
V,Z,e,G,Y,K,E,4,T,Y,A,1,8,6,L,t,4
H,n,F,B,X,1,u,X,A,D,d,,2,L,n,9,q
4,e,d,6,6,o,e,0,P,O,R,X,Q,F,8,G,c
Z,5,J,T,t,q,4,3,J,x,+,r,B,P,Q,W,o
V,E,X,r,1,W,x,o,q,E,H,M,a,9,Y,x,k


408 plaintext

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


So far every lead I’ve followed on keywords has come up short. I think we’re still stuck with a homophonic substitution cipher of some variety.

By Bert (user-2iniskb.dialup.mindspring.com - 165.121.114.139) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 02:42 pm:

Mike & Glen,

The row & column repetition rates seem to be very clear "statistical signatures" in the 408- & 340-ciphers, being practically the same pair of rates for each. However, this alone is not sufficient to rule out plaintext that's "pure gibberish". I believe that regardless of whether or not the plaintext is "random", a homophonic scheme like that used for the 408-cipher, even combined with certain simple transpositions, would still tend to produce a very similar rep rate signature. (The rep rates say more about the enciphering scheme than about the plaintext.)

I ran a few plaintext simulations with random (26) letters, and found the repetition rate in such *plaintext* to be just under 30%, compared to a rep rate around 40% in the 408-plaintext. This means, it seems to me, that enough repetitions should occur in gibberish plaintext to give ample opportunity for a homophonic scheme to show its expected signature in the *ciphertext* rep rates.

Glen said
"The fact that the 340-cipher imitates the 408-cipher in just about every way makes it pretty clear that it holds a message... Creating a fake with these properties would be far more difficult than creating the real thing."


I don't really agree with this. I would conclude instead that the 340-cipher *scheme* is very similar to that of the 408, but that the 340-*plaintext* could be gibberish. But beyond the simple rep rates, I defer to Glen's experience with the various other statistical measures applied to these ciphers; however, as explained above, the rep rates neither support nor oppose that conclusion, IMO.

By Glen (64.155.112.213) on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 06:41 pm:

As Bert points out, a single measure alone does not mean the plaintext is not "gibberish". I've looked at many other factors, but since we are performing scientific examination of the cipher, all the possible statistics should be quantified and compared to the 408-cipher. Doubles, triples, characters at distances, etc., entropy calculations against the sample plaintext. I've got them all scattered around my computer from different sittings, but they need to be in one place to allow for testing.

It's quite possible that Bert or someone else may see something overlooked that might help solve the cipher when it's all viewed together.

I propose we also use two control texts, one pseudo-random and one full random of 340 characters. The 340-cipher, the first 20 lines of the 408-cipher along with the first 20 lines of plaintext. These would give us a very good statistical base for formulating and testing theories, as well as examining the core of the 340-cipher.

Full random of 26 letters is normal, but the pseudo-random should take into account appropriate Zodiac character frequency - any differences noted between the pseudo-random and the 340-cipher might then possibly point to structure. Perhaps we could scramble the first 20 lines of the 408-cipher and plaintext?

Statistics generated from these data sets should quickly demonstrate any errors in assumption, don't you think?

By Anonymous (spider-tq024.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.201.54) on Monday, September 25, 2000 - 01:45 am:

Good work you guys! It's become Obvious to me cipher is not my forte . I would like to ask you a question (hopefully not a stupid one) ...
Has anyone ever looked at your results and checked them for possibly being in a foreign language rather than english? It was just a thought I had...
Thanks, J

By Eduard Versluijs (Eduard) (2cust158.tnt12.rtm1.nl.uu.net - 213.116.119.158) on Wednesday, October 25, 2000 - 12:11 pm:

Next week I will also begin working on the 340-cipher.
Maybe I can join you guys investigating this cipher.
Glen, this time I will be using science and a good trail and error system, promised.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p161.as1.virginia1.eircom.net - 159.134.234.161) on Thursday, October 26, 2000 - 12:52 pm:

Have been looking at the "dripping pen letter" to see if there might be anything there by way of a clue to deciphering the 340 cipher. What stood out to me was the end of the letter,the final word "thing" was followed by 6 exclamation marks and also was underlined 6 times.
I wonder firstly if anyone can confirm that this is the case or is it a reprint error?.
In looking at the 340 cipher the famous "correction" is 6 characters in and 6 down from the top right.My thought is mabye this word is beginning on or at either side of this "error". In relation to this correction I also wondered why (as it appears) the original character has been completely covered over to the point that it cannot be identified, mabye there was a double Character originally. Does anyone think there may be something in here ? or is it time for the jacket and the padded room. PLEASE, SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION

By Glen Claston (Glenclaston) (dialup-209.245.229.66.dallas1.level3.net - 209.245.229.66) on Friday, October 27, 2000 - 09:06 am:

I believe there was a threat in the letter, for sure. I also believe that the cipher in question has the mathematical qualities of the first cipher, and should therefore be viewed as a mathematical problem. Given, that even if your analysis proves to be the case, those 5 characters will probably resolve only 20 characters in the cipher, but if you are correct maybe you will be able to extract the meaning around those 20 characters. If I were you and I believed this to be the case, I would try to solve from this viewpoint.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p158.as1.virginia1.eircom.net - 159.134.234.158) on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 02:56 pm:

All or Anyone working on the 340 cipher,
Have noticed something in this cipher with regard to sequencing that caught my attention. To be honest I don't know whether this is just coincidence or something of merit but would appreciate any comments either way.I find I cant go any further because of the way Iam visualising this, before getting confirmation.At best there's something here worth looking at or at worst errors can be pointed out and it may help others falling into the same trap.
On the latter, just to explain how I got I where I am:
I started by going back to all the Zodiac letters (confirmed one's) an extracting segments of 340 letters and counting individual letters to get an idea of how many of each of the more frequently used I might expect to find in this Cipher. In order E T A O N I and also L because of its obvious use I also looked at the most obvious doubles.In case anyone is interested I found the average as follows for 340 words:- 35E's,27T's,19A,s,23O's,9N's,23I's and 16L's.
Looking at the cipher for most frequent doubles the one that stood out was the FB combination recurring 3 times I followed this up by looking at the other "F's" and noticed from 9 "F's" used on another 2 occasions F is followed by L(reversed)for the sake of presentation let me use the symbol to represent this.F is also preceeded once by .Thinking, at least for trial and error purposes, that FB could be TH ( also that it was quiet possible there could be more given Zodiac had just killed his sevenTH and may discuss his eigHT and ninTH) I thought B and could be the same. Looking at the sequence I see the following:- BBBBBBBBBBB the fact that these do not appear together did nothing to disuade me that this could be H. Because B was used 11 times I also looked at the others that had high frequencies:- C(reversed)=A,full circle=s
sequence=ASSAASASSSASSASSASA.Also R and G gave
RGGRRGGRRRGGR. IN all 3 GROUPS WE START 1-2-2-1 ALSO ALL HAVE 3 TOGETHER.AGAIN AS WITH THE FIRST CIPHER WE GO HALF WAY THROUGH BEFORE THE SEQUENCE CHANGES, HOWEVER AS EACH SEQUENCE HAS A GROUPING OF 3, THIS MAY BE INTENTIONAL. ALSO NONE OF THESE GROUPS APPEAR TOGETHER IN THE CIPHER.
Is there anything here? I would also be interested to know,if,when the "Harden's" cipher was published in the papers of the time was there any follow up in the articles relating to how they solved it? THANKS.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) (spider-ta027.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.205.22) on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 04:56 pm:

Ed wrote: "Glen, in other words, what you're saying is that Z did not necessarily have to be trained in cryptography in the military, but rather may have just read a book or two and gave it a shot? That's certainly what it sounds like to me after reading your assessment of his ability."

and then another poster responded -- "Ed N. wrote: "This is similar to my thought that he was not particularly competent with weapons either."

Just curious, where in the world do you get the idea he is not very competent with weapons!?!"

I would have to agree with Glen in the sense that I don't believe that the Zodiac was an expert when it came to codes, and I would not be surprised if his code-abilities are the result of studying rather than formal training.

When it comes to weapons, I think it is clear that the Zodiac was "competant" with weapons, but I also believe that the available evidence destroys the myth that he was an "expert marksman." The only crime which was said to "prove" this expert marksmanship was the shooting of Betty Lou Jensen. However, I think it is clear that the Zodiac simply chased Betty Lou down and shot her in the back like the coward he was.

In short, I don't think the Zodiac was trained in code-making or marksmanship. Rather, I believe he was "self-taught" in these skills. Of course, I could be wrong, but that's my opinion, for what it's worth.

By Kevinrm (Kevinrm) (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - 24.21.120.22) on Wednesday, November 01, 2000 - 09:59 pm:

Dear Gregorypraxas,

We went here a few weeks back, and I think it lasted almost 3 weeks. Ed N, as well as several posters who feel that must back him up no matter what he says, continue to hold on to the conviction that Z was not competent with weapons, despite the fact that Z killed so many people with them. Of course this flies in the face of common sense. Just because they act as if it's a "forgone conclusion" doesn't mean that it actually is.
Have a good thread!

Kevin M

By Ed N. (Edn) (spider-wn084.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.197.189) on Wednesday, November 01, 2000 - 10:53 pm:

Kevin M: I hope that no one feels as though they should back me up! I'd rather everyone approach this case from their own unique perspective, and I always appreciate everyone's point of view, because they often challenge my own ideas and, yes, preconceived notions.

My opinion that Z was incompetent with weaponry is not, however, preconceived; I had not thought about it one way or the other. I remember a couple of years back Douglas Oswell had mentioned on his website that Z's skill with weapons was documented and uncontested (or words to that effect). That's when I started thinking about it critically, and other than Jensen, I realized that the facts show that Z demonstrated no particular skill with his own weapons, which suggested to me incompetence. Especially when we consider that he had Mageau dead-to-rights, and failed to kill him, even though he shot him several times at point blank range in the face, neck and chest. The analogy would be "shooting fish in a barrel," and yet he couldn't even do that right. That just screams of incompetence.

That, coupled with the fact that Jensen's death certificate, of which I have a copy, indicates that she was shot in the chest and abdomen. This implies a spread of shots, not a small grouping "the size of a half dollar," as Penn claimed. Z was therefore not an "incredible marksman" or whatever, but just "sprayed them" with bullets, as he indicated in his letter.

Based on these facts, I fail to see how anyone could judge Z as being competent with weapons of any sort. Oswald could barely hit the side of a barn, and yet there are those believers who insist that he was the "lone gunman" despite the facts to the contrary.

In any case, like Gregory suggested, Z may have been self-taught. If he in fact did have a military background, then he had some experience with weapons, but experience with and competence with are two entirely different things.

We've beaten this dead horse enough, and until such time as I see incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, that's my position. What I'm waiting for is Howard to locate his copy of the Jensen autopsy report. That should settle, once and for all, whether she was shot with a spread of bullets, or had been shot in a tight formation (assuming that the coroner even mentioned the location of the bullets!). If the former, then Z was a poor shot (remember, he apparently missed her two or three times!). If the latter, then it would seem that he was in fact something of a marksman. The jury's still out on this one.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p35.as1.dungarvan1.eircom.net - 159.134.234.35) on Thursday, November 02, 2000 - 08:08 am:

Ed wrote "My opinion that Z was incompetent with weaponry" --" Especially when we consider that he had Mageau dead-to-rights, and failed to kill him,even though he shot him several times at point blank range in the face neck and chest"
Doesn't this prove that he was, in fact, competent with weapons and the incompetence on his part had more to do with the fact he didn't check to make sure Mageau was dead.Then again when you shoot someone in the face,neck and chest at point blank range it's hardly time to get the stethoscope out to double check. Shooting isn't as easy as one may think even at close range,Adrenalin pumping, targets jumping and screaming,the kick back from the gun etc.I don't know if he was a marksman but to also hit a moving target while moving oneself at a distance such as in Ferrin case would bring me down on the "better than average" side of the argument.The drugs issue of course is another variable in considering why some were left alive.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (199.251.68.84) on Thursday, November 02, 2000 - 09:36 am:

Actually, Ed, I believe I stated that Kaczynski's skill with weapons was documented and uncontested. Kaczynski was very familiar and comfortable with weapons, and is considered to have been an excellent marksman with a rifle. However he himself admitted that he was a poor pistol shot. So far as Z is concerned, I think the statement "comfortable with weapons" probably best applies. He might or might not have been an expert; we simply haven't got good enough evidence to label him an expert.

By Ed N. (Edn) (spider-ntc-tc033.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.33) on Thursday, November 02, 2000 - 10:15 am:

Douglas, I don't doubt that Kaczinsky was skilled with weapons, he'd have to be in order to live off the land to any extent! I saved that old list of points of similarities, I'll have to see if I can find it and see what it does say. You are correct, he might or might not have been an expert. His history with weapons shows, to me at least, that he was not comfortable enough with them to kill from a distance every time. Which is why I opined that he shot Jensen with a spread of shots and missed two or three times, because he wasn't sure he could hit her on that dark country road.

Lapumo, if Z was in fact that good with weapons, and if he hit Jensen five times in a tight formation considering the conditions, I have a hard time believing he couldn't kill Mageau when the conditions were more in his favor. True, one does not break out a stethoscope to ensure that they are dead, but, if he actually knew what he was doing, he'd have shot them both in the head. He did that at contact range with both Faraday and Stine with success, but not with Mageau. Why? I think because he was not overly competent. But we've been over this ground before, check the earlier posts and you'll see where I stand.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p32.as1.dungarvan1.eircom.net - 159.134.234.32) on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 05:15 pm:

Glen,welcome back.
Don't know if you have seen my posting in this section for Tuesday the 31th ref :- the 340 cipher.If you have not will you please take a look when you get the chance.Diplomacy will not be necessary, Thanks.

By Sharkey (Sharkey) (1cust191.tnt5.topeka.ks.da.uu.net - 63.15.252.191) on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 01:57 pm:

Is anyone on this board working on solving the 340 cipher still? Just curious. I might give it a go.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-mtc-tj042.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.106.37) on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 05:27 pm:

Glen Claston was at one point, but I don't know if he still is.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19105.linkline.com - 64.30.222.109) on Sunday, September 29, 2002 - 06:16 pm:

Just a thought on the 340 cipher and GS'decoding."PARDON ME AGCEPT[except] TO BLAST ME.BS.THESE FOOLS SHALL MEET KILLER."
This code was sent 11/8/69.On 10/19/69 less than a month BEFORE Zodiac sent the 340 code,State Attorney General Thomas C.Lynch pubically admonished Zodiac to surrender to the authorities saying "We will see he gets help and that all of his rights are protected...He knows that eventually he will be taken into custody,so it would be best that he gave himself up..."(taken from Zodiac).
When one reads the possible decode "pardon me except to blast me"it makes sense."These fools"can,besides the authorities, also refer to the Examiner and its plea(on the first page!) for him to 'give up and that his rights would be protected,'etc.
No wonder Z wrote in the 11/9/69 letter "The police shall never catch me[as Lynch said"he knows... he will be taken into custody...") because I have been too clever for them."This statement of Zodiac seems to be a direct reference to Lynch and others' pleas for him to 'turn himself in because he's going to get caught anyway.'FYI

By BKratzer (Bkratzer) (169.75.35.65.cfl.rr.com - 65.35.75.169) on Saturday, October 26, 2002 - 08:50 pm:

For a long time now, I have read how the greatest minds have worked on this unsolved 340- character cipher, with no success. Why was the first three-part cipher solved so easily? How could Don Harden, a high-school economics teacher, do what the intelligence services couldn't? Even the most complicated cipher can be solved, so what makes this 340- character cipher different?

The difference here is seems to be quantity. While every one looks to determine the technical aspects of the cipher used, maybe the forest can’t be seen, because of the trees. I spent nearly 12 years in the field of communications intelligence, and have spent many years studying encryption and cipher techniques. As anyone in the field of communications intelligence will tell you, if you get enough communications traffic, over the course of time, you will be able to break the enemies codes. Even one of most complicated encryption systems, the Enigma, was cracked, based on the extensive amount of communications traffic by the Germans and Japanese.

Was the Zodiac so intelligent that he could design an encryption method that was unbreakable, even by NSA? I think not. The problem here seems to be one of lack of sufficient amount a communications with this same code, to find any patterns. However, this may not be necessary.

If the Zodiac wrote this message, he would have wanted the police to be taunted by what he had to say. Why was this cipher sent? What were the events that preceded this cipher? The murder that preceded this cipher, sent on October 8, 1969, was the Lake Berryessa killings, September 27, 1969 and the Paul Stine killing followed 3 days later on October 11, 1969. Was the purpose of the cipher to address the Lake Berryessa killings, or to predict the next killing? Was the Zodiac responding or commenting on something published in the newspapers? He surely go pleasure from reading about this crimes in the newspaper or hearing it on TV news.

I think that this cipher will eventually be solved. Examination of the newspaper articles, commentaries, a even the results of the investigation of the Lake Berryessa killings might provides some clues. I have designed a spreadsheet, which allows substitution of various letters and automatically associates them with the cipher characters. To make this work, I have used all the characters that could be produced by the standard alphabet + numbers and assigned each of the nonstandard characters (Zodiac Symbols) designations of S1 – S47.

I will be willing to share a copy of this with anyone who is interested. A frequency chart is listed below.

+ = 24
S24 = 12
9 = 11
F = 10
I = 10
O = 10
S14 = 10
B = 9
S4 = 9
R = 8
K = 7
M = 7
S1 = 7
. = 6
^ = 6
= 4
D = 4
H = 4
J = 4
S = 4
S10 = 4
S16 = 4
S22 = 4
S6 = 4
Y = 4
Z = 4
/ = 3
E = 3
P = 3
S15 = 3
S19 = 3
S20 = 3
S21 = 3
S26 = 3
S31 = 3
S8 = 3
U = 3
A = 2
Q = 2
S11 = 2
S13 = 2
S25 = 2
S27 = 2
S41 = 2
S45 = 2
u = 2
X = 2
S17 = 1
S18 = 1
S23 = 1
S28 = 1
S29 = 1
S3 = 1
S30 = 1
S32 = 1
S33 = 1
S34 = 1
S35 = 1
S36 = 1
S37 = 1
S38 = 1
S39 = 1
S40 = 1
S42 = 1
S43 = 1
S44 = 1
S46 = 1
S47 = 1

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-122.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.51.122) on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 10:00 am:

Thanks for your input. I would be interested in a copy,if you wouldn't mind.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 11:23 am:

BKratzer wrote:
"The problem here seems to be one of lack of sufficient amount a communications with this same code, to find any patterns. However, this may not be necessary."

The latter sentence seems to contradict the former, would you mind explaining further? I'm inclined to believe that the former sentence is precisely why the 340-character cipher has never been solved. What are your thoughts on this?

By BKratzer (Bkratzer) (169.75.35.65.cfl.rr.com - 65.35.75.169) on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 09:01 pm:

Explanation of comments: "The problem here seems to be one of lack of sufficient amount a communications with this same code, to find any patterns. However, this may not be necessary."

While it is true that there is a lack of a large quantity of communications using the cipher, sometimes the intelligence community has been able to solve messages that might have been sent with a onetime non-repeating key and only a very small amount of traffic, by having intelligence sources from other areas, so they could correlate the message with things that may have already happened.

As I think about these things, I have to ask myself, why was this cipher sent on November 8, 1969. This cipher was sent after both the Lake Berryessa crime and the murder of cab driver Paul Stine, on October 11, 1969. The Zodiac was an above average intelligence individual with a very strong ego. He would have most definitely been following all of the media coverage that occurred after both murders.

What type of commentaries were published in media about these murders? Was the zodiac responding to something that was said in a newspaper interview, or on television? Somehow, I just can’t see the Zodiac just sending gibberish in his ciphers. He was definitely an I person, and he loved using I in this letters. Something caused this individual to send this cipher after these murders, maybe to give out clues to prove that he committed the crime, maybe to respond to someone’s comments which may have been insulting to him.

Maybe if a sufficient review and analysis of all news commentaries, articles, and investigative reports, which occurred prior to the sending of this 340 character cipher, maybe we can get an idea of what this cipher may or may not have been responding too. This may aid, along with some good guesswork and analytical reasoning, in getting a better idea of what this cipher was trying to convey. A combination of HUMINT (Human Intelligence) with COMINT (Communications Intelligence) and many other sources, has always been used to break codes and ciphers. I think that’s what needs to be done here.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (129.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.129) on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 12:47 am:

In the Dripping Pen card, which accompanied the cipher, Zodiac mentioned that some "bad news" would follow, and that the public wouldn't get the news "for a while yet." The bad news might well have been contained within the cipher.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-184.s184.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - 208.59.124.184) on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 02:21 am:

BK... I agree with your assessment and would love to see your spreadsheet. I made one a couple of years ago substituing a number for each one of the characters in the cipher, but have never had the quality time to sit and concentrate on it without being interrupted.

Linda

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - 192.70.249.30) on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 09:01 pm:

BK, Your efforts are welcome. Here is a quick summary of info from this board which you may find interesting.

I also came up with an ASCII representation of the 340 Cipher, which you can see here.

I made a graphical representation of the frequency analysis. I have also written an automatic substitution program, but its of no use to you unless your computer runs IDL. My technique for solving the cipher is to limit down the number of possible "keys" (see the page above), from an astronomical number to mere billions by using logic (ie any key must contain a lot of E's in order to suppress the frequency of E). Then, let a computer go through these billions of keys, decode the cipher for each key, then analyze the plaintext for English words. However I have only had time to write a crude key-guessing program so far.


Bobbitt designed a cryptanalysis tool

Before you start on the 340, might I suggest you warm up with a similar but easier code, posted by Ray of this group, and discussed here Ray's code tests the hypothesis that the 340 code is "breakable". If the 340 code is breakable then definitely Ray's code is too. In spite of predictions it would be solved by Aug. 31, this code, to my knowledge has not been broken by anyone on this group, including myself.

obiwan

ps. in the above mentioned discussion under "code challenge" the initial code challenge proposed by Classic is not germain to the 340.

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - 192.70.249.30) on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 09:24 pm:

BK: why was this cipher sent on November 8, 1969.... The Zodiac was an above average intelligence ...

To me the plainest reason is that the 340 Cipher was intended as a distraction to keep resources focused on something which would take years to solve, and subtract resources from more forensic aspects of the case which held greater promise. The first (3-part) cipher was like this. It promised to reveal the killer's name but then after the work of decoding was done, did not.


Having said that, it is my hope and expectation that Z's ego was large enough that the cipher also contains information,which with 30 years of hindsight, will reveal his identity.

By John_W (John_W) (cache-loh-ac05.proxy.aol.com - 195.93.34.11) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 11:58 am:

Why 340 characters? Possible clue - in 1967 the Langston Monotype Machine Company produced the Monophoto Filmsetter Mark 4 it used an 'enlarged phot-matrix case of 340 characters & spaces arranged in 17x20 rows'. No shattering earth here but it may indicate a connection with publishing.

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-112-24-4.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.112.24.4) on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 03:47 pm:

John,very interesting! Please let me know if that machine would be used in a printing co.shop? Also if UC Berkeley would have one for the new's letter The Berkeley Barb? I have a suspect who was working there at that time.It seems a lot of places that had a UC collage, had Z like killings,like UC Santa Barbara. Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz. In fact I seem to remember that in 63 Santa Barbara's UC was under construction, or was being moved to another part of Santa Barb. Bill may remember something about that.

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - 192.70.249.30) on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 06:09 pm:

UCSB is up the coast a bit from Santa Barbara, in the town of Isla Vista, near Goleta. Map: http://www.tps.ucsb.edu/ucsb_goletamap.html

Santa Rosa doesn't have a UC, but has a Junior College & Sonoma State is not far away in Roenhert Park.

John, are you saying this Filmsetter device was used to produce the 340 Code text, or just that he got the idea for the layout of the Code from familiarity with printing?

My guess is that the 340 number was dependent on the need to have 17 columns. 17 was an important since there are also 17 columns in the 3 part cipher. Perhaps he was trying to reveal the number of letters in his name. But why 20 lines?

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-112-24-4.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.112.24.4) on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 07:37 pm:

Obiwan, Thank you. Do you know where UCSB was before it moved to Goleta? A teacher with the last name of Kane from NY taught at one of the collages in Santa Rosa in the late 60s early 70's.I would love to find out anything about him from someone who knows him. I do know he had two daughters one had a B.D.Oct 11th and he had a wife named Kathleen.

By John_W (John_W) (spider-loh-tc054.proxy.aol.com - 195.93.34.174) on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 07:52 am:

Sandy, Sorry :-( got nothing more on this, just thought it was more than coincidental. There are a number of posts on the board, which have mentioned the possibility of a newspaper connection.

Obiwan, thanks for the info re the 3 part cipher, I haven't been able to come up with any other example of a 17x20 grid. Perhaps someone out there has?

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - 192.70.249.30) on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:46 pm:

Sandy, Based on this timeline it looks like UCSB was in Santa Barbara proper until 1954, and in 1958 officially took the name "UCSB". Santa Rosa of course, is 400+ miles north of there.

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-213-160.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.122.213.160) on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 02:31 pm:

Obiwan thank you for the time line. Now I just need to find out where the Riviera and Mesa Campuses were located before the move, and just how long it was under construction. Zodiac sent the Tahoe note with the picture of construction workers on the card.Just another thought that Z may have been in construction at that time.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-009-231.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.9.231) on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 05:02 pm:

Sandy, if it's any help, the Riviera campus was off Alameda Padre Serra Rd., which winds along the Riviera area of Santa Barbara, so called because of its picturesque similarity to the Mediterranean location. The campus was later occupied for just one year, 1958/59, to house the fledgling San Marcos High School, which thereafter moved to its new and present location. I know, because I was a freshman there that year.

The Mesa campus, and I'm not 100% sure of this, I believe refers to what is now the home of Santa Barbara City College (formerly SB Junior College) on Shoreline Drive at the southeastern end of the Mesa in Santa Barbara, where I was also a student in the early 60's.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-009-231.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.9.231) on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 05:07 pm:

The more I think about it, I seem to recall that SBCC/JC also occupied the Riviera site prior to 58/59, which leads me to believe that when UCSB vacated the Riviera campus, the JC moved in behind them, and when the Mesa campus was vacated by UCSB, SBCC in turn took up residency.

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-112-24-159.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.112.24.159) on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 12:17 pm:

Bill Thank you! Would the 1963 killings be close to that area?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-009-231.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.9.231) on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 01:08 pm:

Not any more so than Lake Berryessa is close to Vallejo.

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-214-167.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.122.214.167) on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 11:30 am:

Good enough, again thank you Bill. I am still checking on any of the known suspects working or living in the area in 63,I have only one who married a girl from S.B.around that time.