How did we find abscissa in Kryptos?  From brute forcing the Vigenere cipher in K2 and then reverse-engineering the keyword to be used with the provided tableau on the copperplate.

How were we supposed to find abscissa?  Either the way we did or it was to be provided as a sort of clue in a previous section.  No matter, we know it is there and it is important.

What is an abscissa anyways?  It’s basically the X coordinate of a point on a graph that uses the Cartesian coordinate system.  Don’t like math?  Probably shouldn’t be playing with Kryptos but here’s an easier definition:

Set the origin (0,0) at the base of the building at ground level.  If I’m throwing eggs off the roof at my boss’ car then their final Y coordinate will be 0, or the ground.  His car is parked 12 feet away in the employee of the month spot, again.  If I get the eggs to land that far, then their X coordinate or abscissa is 12 feet.  The final coordinates of the eggs will be (12 feet, 0 feet) give or take a few feet for the height of the car and whether I miss.

“Geesh, what a long-winded, passive-aggressive commentary; I lost track of what you were saying buddy…”

There are more uses of palimpsest than abscissa but it still gets used in some pretty weird ways.  What I was trying to emphasize here is the use of abscissa by its traditional, accepted, dictionary definition.

You can say it means “X marks the spot” or apply it to the geographical coordinates but make an effort to keep it within the bounds of what most people would consider a fair use of the word.  Claiming that it implies an abscission is just wrong people!