A claim of success and a bit of plaintext or the correct solution to the fourth part of Kryptos?  We must balance our skepticism and enthusiasm as we consider this proposal.  I wanted to get the post out there to see what folks thought about his idea.

At first glance, it seemed a very professional layout of a solved K4 and I must admit I was disappointed and slightly perturbed that it had not been spread all over the world so that I may have pursued something else for the last month.  Upon closer inspection, I was disappointed.  For all of his credentials and all of his presentation, this is the kind of guy we’d consider a viable solver of Kryptos.  His solution doesn’t feel right but it’s not enough to just feel that way, there must be hard and dry and logical thoughts and opinions.  So I took some time to digest what was being suggested.

I think it’s very important to analyze the efforts of others not only to gain inspiration but also to develop our evaluation skills, our cryptanalytic intuition.  So let’s consider the consider the proposal set before us by the President and Founder of Opord Analytical.  I sent an email to Chris to see if he’d passed the K4 test and validated his solution but as of right he’s not had the chance.  I don’t even know how we are supposed to submit our solutions to be tested!

In brief, the suggested solution is to fit K4 into K3 (replacing K3 ciphertext) with PRNG as the landmark.  I hadn’t noticed this personally so I think it’s intriguing.  I did like that he was also looking to further explain the role of the Morse Code but no one is surprised by that considering my dogged determination to prove something similar myself.  It’s not so much the effort or level of sophistication that are lacking.  It’s more the departures that he takes from what I would consider likely methods.  I would doubt the veracity of RQ in Morse Code being transposed in a columnar fashion based on Kryptos and then the letters ION being extracted.  It would have been different if he’d applied the same technique or something similar to the rest of the Morse code and discovered a series of new phrases.  The extra L being attached to ION to make LION is perhaps a stretch. 

Inserting K4 into K3 and resolving was perhaps his best idea.  It failed and he probably should have pursued something else.  As with all of us, he just couldn’t let a good idea go.  So he grinds it back through the K1 and K2 solutions (although out of order if he was going to make an argument of proceding through K3-2-1 solutions with K4 text).  This was not an absofrickinlutely terrible idea.  You just have to be willing to go all the way, don’t be shy.  Don’t stop short with me.  Use the Vigenere 2x in a row with the keywords from K1 and K2 but you better do the whole K4 and not stop after 7 letters.  There are three different concepts at work and while each one is not bad in and of itself, it’s the inexplicable use of all three that I don’t quite follow.

I think I may have had too high of expectations.  It’s probable that I really hoped he’d figured it out.  That wouldn’t rain on my parade because it seems pretty much a sure bet that getting K4 won’t get you the whole thing.  Instead I saw points where a very intelligent, very creative, and very talented mind used bad logic to force a solution.  I am saddened that he didn’t try and figure out how we were supposed to know to follow these steps even though they are imperfect applications of standard methods plus some crazy thrown in.

But what really burns my fuse…

…what really torques me off…

…is I know that he’s given up.

If he’d just realized at certain points that his position was untenable.  given up and moved on; well, he might have reached a believable solution.

What an unnecessary waste.  I hope that he applies his solution to the K4 test and if it passes then Hallelujah!, if not then maybe we’ve drawn him back into the muck and mire of trying to find the solution.

Situations like this serve as an abject lesson to the rest of us.  We can only be self-governing in the end however or invite criticism and skepticism from our peers.  If you never explain the idea to someone else, it’s all too easy to take a ride on the crazy train.  Chris put it out there and now unfortunately is getting feedback. 

One thing that kept resonating in my mind was that the K1, 2, and 3 solution methods were very simple.  Yeah, it took a lot of work to find them and get them to work.  But when you really think about how easy it is to solve a CT with a vigenere table provided and the keyword (theoretically), then do it again, then do a double transposition.  These are not really obscure and complicated methods.  The masking on K4 has rendered it nigh unto impossible to solve right now but bet your boots that when it’s been unmasked it will be solved in the same day.  This may serve as a benchmark to any of my future schemes (hopefully) and I can try and pursue practical attempts.

Be warned Kryptos solvers, stray too far from the path and you can get lost all too easily.

I got in touch with Chris and hope his interest in Kryptos is renewed.  In case anyone was wondering, he’s a genuine-honest-to-goodness solver just like the rest of us and wasn’t using this all as a devious way to increase traffic to his business site.  It’s nice to get in touch with a real person and have them respond quickly and genuinely.

FYI, I didn’t use any of my real personal information setting up this site or the mail so don’t read much into it…

Kryptos Fan