Today I’m going to introduce two encrypted postcards I have recently found on a postcard blog. They are completely different from each other, but both still wait to be solved.

As I pointed out in many earlier posts, Google is by far my best source for finding interesting material for this blog. Sometimes I even find several crypto stories on one page. Exactly this happened when Google led me to a site named Cipherface, hosted by the microblogging and image sharing platform Tumblr.

At first view, Cipherface is a simple collection of images and statements about cryptography and related topics. When you register at Tumblr and log in, you get additional information about the images, including reader comments. Many of the pictures look quite interesting to me. Some represent solved or unsolved cryptograms – exactly the stuff I’m looking for for Klausis Krypto Kolumne.

I have no idea who the creator of Cipherface is. As it seems, no personal information about him or her is available on the site.

 

A postcard from London

One of the Cipherface pictures shows an encrypted post card.

Postcard-Barnes

This postcard was taken from an article published by Alan Petrulis on the blog, MetroPostcards, on May 9, 2016. Most encrypted postcards I’m aware of were sent by young men to their loved women. I suppose that this one is not an exception. On the post stamp the word “Barnes” can be read, which is a district of London.

The alphabet used consists of groups of long and short lines. My first impression is that each group stands for a letter of the Morse code. If this is the case, the text starts with PEACH.

 

A postcard from Chicago

The same article provides another encrypted postcard:

Postcard-Chicago

This one is dated 7/10/97, which probably means July 10, 1897. The only cleartext word I can spot is “Chicago”, which is presumably the place from where the card was sent. There’s probably no relationship between this card and the one above.

Can somebody make sense of these two encrypted postcards? Any hints and solutions are appreciated.

Further reading: Who can decrypt this shorthand postcard from 1904?

Kommentare (22)

  1. #1 Jan
    2. September 2016

    Bei der ersten Karte würde ich mal auf Morse Code tippen…

  2. #2 Jan
    2. September 2016

    Hmm, scheint nicht zu passen. Die Codes gibt es nicht.

  3. #3 Thomas Ernst
    Latraobe
    2. September 2016

    The first card is morse code: “Peach, I have not worn the […]” rest must follow, back to class.

  4. #4 Thomas
    2. September 2016

    Something like:
    “Peach
    I have not worn the carpet out but I will wear some of you if you are not careful”

  5. #5 Thomas Ernst
    Latrobe
    2. September 2016

    The first one is Morse Code: “Peach, I have not worn the carpet out but I will […]”

  6. #6 Jan
    2. September 2016

    Yep, seems to be correct. I started with the letters at the top right and there is no long-short character…

  7. #7 Thomas Ernst
    Latrobe
    2. September 2016

    Place and Date: “London / Friday.”

  8. #8 Thomas Ernst
    Latrobe
    2. September 2016

    Stempel: “BARNES / 6 30 / OC 2 / 03”. Indeed, October 2, 1903, was a Friday.

  9. #9 tomtoo
    2. September 2016

    Always when i read about encryptet love postcards i have to think about the persons behind this postcards. Its strange its like a movie that pops up in ny brain
    ?
    a little ot sry

  10. #10 Klaus Schmeh
    2. September 2016

    David Allen Wilson via Facebook:

    This is morse code. | = “dah” and . = “dit”. .-.. — -. -.. — -. ..-. .-. .. -.. .- -.– = LONDONFRIDAY.

  11. #11 Klaus Schmeh
    2. September 2016

    Richard SantaColoma viaa Facebook:

    Those Thomas’s got that first one pretty quick!

  12. #12 Klaus Schmeh
    2. September 2016

    Bart Wenmeckers via Facebook:

    Interesting that the second card doesn’t have a stamp or a post processing ink stamp either.

  13. #13 Klaus Schmeh
    2. September 2016

    Bart Wenmeckers via Facebook:

    The Chicago postcard has a number of repeated 5grams likely be a simple subsitution

  14. #14 Armin
    3. September 2016

    The second P.C. is indeed a substitution. The plaintext reads as follows:

    My ever dearest wife,

    on reaching Evanston late last night I found your dear letter
    and you know I was not sorry to get it. So you have my time all figured out to
    hours, minutes and seconds, have you, not? Well, I think I’ll spoil your calculations about 288 hours,
    if you don’t care too much, dear. But of course I can’t promise, and I know that if I
    get no doing business again, you will let me stay a few days longer. One week from
    tomorrow will be the date of our first excursion to Dauphin Park, one of Mr. Gross’ suburbs
    not far from South Chicago. He is going to abandon his West Grossdile work because we, all
    of us, simply aren’t doing any business at all. One extra blow to our work came in the
    shape of the big fire in Grossdale this week, of which I presume you saw the account in
    thursday’s paper. The hotel there burned 8(?) or 9 wk. ago, and this fire took nearly all the rest
    of the business part of the suburb. Everything seems to be going cross-wise with us
    But I’m glad of one thing, darling, and that is my work has got’n me a little more
    self-confidence than I had before, and I don’t believe that I’m going to be an utter
    failure after all, for with all my disadvanteges I’ve been able to do a little business, and
    as things are going with the business generally, I must amount to a little [???]
    I couldn’t have done even the little I have. But don’t think I’m bragging any, just wait till
    I get half [???] dollars out of my work for that. But I am encouraged now to believe my-
    self what I’ve been trying to make you believe all along, that we’ll come out all right yet, and get
    a pleasing home of our own, somehow or other! Mrs. [???] was just a little bit smarter than I thought

    The last line and the rotated text on the side of the card are really hard to read due to the bad resolution, so I have left them out, along with some words in the text that I couldn’t decipher.

  15. #15 Thomas Ernst
    Latrobe
    3. September 2016

    The Barnes postcard is too witty not to attempt a German approximation: “Schnuckelchen, ich hab’ den Teppich noch nicht abgewetzt, aber von Dir wetz’ ich ‘was ab, wenn Du nicht aufpaßt.” Sort of Edwardian Raymond Chandler …

  16. #16 Thomas
    3. September 2016

    Blush!

  17. #17 Thomas
    3. September 2016

    Well done, Armin! What a scrawl.

  18. #18 Armin
    3. September 2016

    Mit guter Vergrößerung und etwas Intuition haben die schwierigeren Teile nun auch nachgegeben:

    My ever dearest wife,

    on reaching Evanston late last night I found your dear letter
    and you know I was not sorry to get it. So you have my time all figured out to
    hours, minutes and seconds, have you, not? Well, I think I’ll spoil your calculations about 288 hours,
    if you don’t care too much, dear. But of course I can’t promise, and I know that if I
    get no doing business again, you will let me stay a few days longer. One week from
    tomorrow will be the date of our first excursion to Dauphin Park, one of Mr. Gross’ suburbs
    not far from South Chicago. He is going to abandon his West Grossdale work because we, all
    of us, simply aren’t doing any business at all. One extra blow to our work came in the
    shape of the big fire in Grossdale this week, of which I presume you saw the account in
    thursday’s paper. The hotel there burned 2 or 3 wk. ago, and this fire took nearly all the rest
    of the business part of the suburb. Everything seems to be going cross-wise with us
    But I’m glad of one thing, darling, and that is my work has got’n me a little more
    self-confidence than I had before, and I don’t believe that I’m going to be an utter
    failure after all, for with all my disadvantages I’ve been able to do a little business, and
    as things are going with the business generally, I must amount to a little something, or
    I couldn’t have done even the little I have. But don’t think I’m bragging any, just wait till
    I get half a dozen dollars out of my work for that. But I am encouraged now to believe my-
    self what I’ve been trying to make you believe all along, that we’ll come out all right yet, and get
    a pleasing home of our own, somehow or other! Mrs. [?]entyhorn was just a little bit smarter than I thought
    she’d be, but I suppose that fruit ripens fast this hot weather. But I’m glad that you will have a rather

    pleasanter
    time than
    she is having,
    and we know
    our baby
    will be
    ever so
    much nicer
    than theirs.
    Well, Pat,
    I must stop
    for this
    time.
    Good bye, my
    sweetheart.
    Your
    Luther.

  19. #19 tomtoo
    3. September 2016

    This could be a part of a crime story ?

  20. #20 Klaus Schmeh
    3. September 2016

    @Armin: Thank you very much, great job!
    For those who are new on this blog: Armin is a great codebraker, who has broken many cryptograms I introduced here. Among other things, he solved a diary from WW2: http://www.badische-zeitung.de/freiburg/freiburger-entschluesselt-70-jahre-altes-kriegstagebuch–72314633.html

  21. #21 Ulrich
    Berlin
    17. Dezember 2016

    Card 1 plaintext:
    LONDON FR(I)DAY
    KEACH /
    I HAVE NOT
    WORN THE JACKET
    OUT BUT I WILL
    WEAR GOAD OF YOU
    OUT IF YOU ARE
    NOT CAREFUL
    Several word-plays:
    “worn out” as in “abgetragen” or “draußen getragen”
    “goad” as in “good” or “benörgelt, ermahnt”. –
    Spelling error by the encryptor:
    CAJKET instead of JACKET, –
    KEACH: Name of trusted servant (“zieh dich warm an mein Junge, es ist Herbst”). Darauf die Antwort. –
    Postcard fom London to Barnes S.W.; the imprint in the text is the arrival stamp. –
    Good luck to you all, Ulrich

  22. #22 Ulrich
    Berlin
    17. Dezember 2016

    Card 1: I like Thomas’s solutions (2 Sep 16) much better than my own. Mine has a mistake and an assumption that that are thus out of the way. Take your pick! Otherwise, sorry. Ulrich