I’ve been of two minds about the need to have the keywords for K1 and K2. In theory, palimpsest and abscissa can be significant indications of a later part of the puzzle and are obtainable after the vigenere ciphers have been broken. Ed Scheidt and probably every cryptology user knows they are not secure ways to encipher a message. I would be content with this point of view were it not for the repeated comments from Ed Scheidt and Jim Sanborn about their surprise that Kryptos has lasted this long, how they thought at least the first three sections would have been solved relatively quickly, and how the way K1-3 were broken was unexpected and not a true deciphering in the sense that THEY EXPECTED US TO KNOW THE KEYS.
Were it not for the interviews and comments from the creators, and if I found this sculpture in the deserted wasteland of post-apocalyptic West Virginia – I would possibly get through the first three parts, probably interpret the Morse Code and then assume the rest was gibberish and move on with caravan.
However, technically we lose nothing with the assumption that there are keys hidden in Kryptos that are meant to help us solve it. I mean really, 20 years? No one’s solved it in 20 years and a devotion of days, a couple weeks or a month to trying to retrieve the keys is a drop in the bucket compared to the effort exerted against K4. What good is it if we get the keys? It’s very likely that there is a hidden message relating to each section of Kryptos.
These are my efforts to find the keys. I have made a logical assumption that if there is a message providing the keys then it would be textual and not an artistic element which would be subject to personal opinion. Extending my logic, the Morse code is the most obvious and likely source of clues and keys. I gave a brief explanation of the pieces and history of Kryptos and described the need to find the keywords to a new co-worker and he immediately volunteered that he thought it would be in the Morse code. While the advice of a stranger is not a complete validation of the idea, it simply shows how common sense it is to look for our answers in the Morse code.
I tried some Anagrams of the Morse Code phrases.
I attempted a Pyramidal Transposition of the Morse Code.
I tried to decipher the Morse Code as a Rail Cipher.
I tried to decipher the Morse Code as a Route Transposition.
I tried some binary math on the Morse Code.
I tried forcing palindromes with the Morse Code phrases.
I attempted keyed-columnar transposition on the Morse Code text.
I even believe I’ve found the laziest method to find meaning in the Morse Code ever.
I analyzed the Morse Code symbols to look for patterns.
Sick of trying to find some rational way to peel off the keywords, I did my best to brute force a message out of the 81 letters found in the Morse Code phrases. My result
was about 95% of what I would expect of a keyword message.
I worked on re-translating the Morse Code.
I tried retrieving the K2 keyword “abscissa” from the K1 text by a Rail cipher.
You can view the K2 text as a conversation to see if anything lines up or becomes apparent.
I tried what I hoped would be a method for breaking transpositions on the Morse Code.
I developed a means of checking the distances between the P—MP in palimpest.
I tried it on the Morse code.
I even thought the typos might indicate the location of the keywords somehow.
I tried an abscised Morse code.
I tried aligning K2.
Is the Morse code a fractionated cipher?
Is the Morse code a Morbit Cipher?
Is the Morse code a Pollux Cipher?
I found abscissa in K1 but not how to retrieve it.