Kryptos: Classic Cryptography Findings, Writings and Interviews

I am a mathematician, and my background is in combinatorics and statistics.


I was a regular reader of sci.crypt for many years, starting in about first year uni, 1994. I studied a general crypto subject at uni, and looked at GOST for my project, and also studied elliptic curve cryptography (1997). My combinatorics work in Latin squares in my PhD (2001) is applicable to secret sharing schemes, and of course you can see a Latin square in the Kryptos sculpture (the tabula recta). I read books like Sinkov and F. L. Bauer but I never got involved in the “puzzle” or “classical” side of crypto – just the “academic”, “modern” and “theoretical” aspect.

I remember reading about Jim Gillogly’s solution of the first three parts of Kryptos in 1999, on sci.crypt, and I thought that was interesting, but around then I got obsessively involved in analysis of the chess game Kasparov versus the World, so I didn’t look at K4 much myself.

I got interested in Kryptos again in June 2017 (via Google Scholar). I looked at a few classical methods proposed for breaking it, like the Hill cipher, Trifid, Gromark and four-square, and wrote some custom and hill climbing programs to help me.

My Kryptos Work

After reading more about Kryptos I bought and read a few books, Kahn’s “The Code Breakers” (unabridged), “Code Warriors”, “Decoding the IRA” and “Atomic Time”. I joined the American Cryptogram Association and read lots of back issues about computer solving.


I wrote a few articles about my Kryptos work.


Transcriptions of an Ed Scheidt question and answer session in 2015 and a Sanborn talk at Big Tech Day 6 in 2013 are available.

My PubPeer comment on the Bauer et al paper.

Group Posts

2021-08-11 Chinese Whispers
2021-01-29 Military Cryptanalytics Part III
2021-01-06 Decipher Puzzle
2020-11-17 AJ Jacobs Scheidt #2
2020-11-15 AJ Jacobs Scheidt #1
2020-09-11 Response to AJ Jacobs
2020-08-25 Four thoughts
2020-07-29 Two points
2020-07-29 Copyright
2020-07-01 Response to Great Big Story
2020-06-07 Response to seriation
2020-05-18 Response to "A game for viewers"
2020-05-16 "A game for viewers"
2019-11-17 Seriation
2019-07-11 Time Magazine quote
2018-12-10 "Quest for the Golden Hare"

Other Cipher Solutions

However, over time I've found it more interesting to work on ciphers where the method is known but new technology and methods enable solution.

Some articles about my solutions are:

Radio Appearances

I have been on the radio a few times to discuss these and other crypto mysteries

Non-Crypto Mysteries of Cycling