Ruby-bar

From 1884-1887 a series of 25 encrypted newspaper advertisements was published in the “Daily Telegraph”. The key is known. Can you help me to decrypt these messages?

The book The Agony Column Codes & Ciphers by Jean Palmer (i.e., Tony Gaffney) is a treasure trove for everybody interested in old cryptograms.

Agony-Column

The Agony Column Codes & Ciphers presents over a thousand encrypted newspaper advertisements from Victorian England. Many of the encrypted ads covered contain love messages. Others were placed by business people in order to send news to partners and customers. Ignatius Pollaky, a private investigator of the Victorian era, communicated via newspaper ads, too.

Tony, who is an excellent codebreaker, has solved most of the cryptograms described in his book, but some still wait to be deciphered. On Klausis Krypto Kolumne I have published many an article about these mysteries. More articles about unsolved ads will follow, as there are still a few nice ones left.

 

The advertisements

Today, I want to introduce a series of 20 encrypted ads Tony has already broken. My goal is to get a complete decryption of these messages. For this purpose, I need the help of my readers.

Let’s look at the advertisements first. They were published in the Daily Telegraph by a certain RUBY in the 1880s. Here they are (the ads are contained on pages 213-217 of the book; I numbered them from 1 to 25):

210:

211:

213:

Ruby-213b

214:

Ruby-214b

215:

Ruby-215b

216:

Ruby-216b

217:

Ruby-217b

218:

Ruby-218b

 

The keys

As Tony found out, a one-to-one cipher (MASC) had been used two encrypt all these ads. He identified two different keys. The first one was used for advertisements #1 – #15 and #24:

Ruby-Key-1

The following key was used for advertisements #16 – #23:

Ruby-Key-2

Note that ads #5 and #25 are not encrypted.

 

Decrypting the ads

As mentioned above, I would like to know the content of this advertisement series. However, decrypting 23 messages is a lot of work, even if the key is known. So, I hereby ask my readers for help. Please take one of these ads (or at least a few lines) and decrypt them. If enough readers do so, the complete series will be available in the clear very soon.

I start with decrypting advertisement #1:

RUBY – My darling many thanks for your letter and especially for its assurances. I will write fortnightly and shall fully expect letter form you as often. I love you more and am for ever “thine alone”. I want to write a long letter if you can suggest a plan. Write at once and believe me, dearest one, with most wattionate love, your own.

Edited to add: #2 decrypted by Beth Henderson:
RUBY – my dear own girl why have you not written.  I fully expected a letter ey last mail. Heard from “Dicky.” Do please write me a long letter regularly and tell me how you are. With fondest love believe mi thine alone. – ANYTHING.

Edited to add: #3 decrypted by Thomas Bosbach and Christopher Feige:
dearest why have you not written to me privately. Surely I am not yet forgotten. Your ordinary letter with “Uncles” P.S. came three days ago. I am very glad to hear you are stronger. Continue to improve darling and when I come home we shall again have the bliss of each others company and you my pet (as a great favour) may have more.

Edited to add: #4 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Dearest thanks for your letter of the fourth of june and especially for its promise of aprivate letter by next mail which iquite long for. Mind you write fortnightly as iasked if only afew lines, you will, wont, you my darling. Idont care if “wobbert does not write but imust hear from my sweetheart. Farewell my love ilive in anticip – atirn of again having you and.

Edited to add: #6 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Both your darling letters came this week. Am so very sorry to hear of your illness. Darling you must get strong again for my sake and wait for my home coming. Iam so deeply grateful for your assurances of continued love dear one. Do write often dearast for your letters are my greatest joy. Ever believe in my constancy Isabel dear and think of me always as your own loving.

Edited to add: #7 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
My darling so many thanks for the note enclosed with “Jolly” letter to “Nan”. Iam writing this week to “Miss Hesse” so look out for the letter which will tell you all. Farewell my dearest love.

Edited to add: #8 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Dearest ido think it mean of you not to write oftener especially when you know how ilong for your letters. Do please darling will you. Ihave not had an ordinary letter for amonth. Goodbye dear one, my own love. Remember your.

Edited to add: #9 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Your note sent to Nan came on Thursday but why have you not written privately. Ihope you have the letter isent Miss Hesse. Reply to it soon dearest. With very fondest love believe me, darling thine alone.

Edited to add: #10 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Dearest iam awfully sorry iwas unable to write last week as iwas up on the Himalayas twenty miles from apost-office. Whyh ave <em>you not written to me lately. Ihave not had either aprivate or other letter. Do write to me once darling along letter. Iwill write to “Wobbert” next week. Fondest love my darling from your own.

Edited to add: #11 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Dearest, how few your ordinary now are and inever get aprivate one. Is it because my absence is no longer felt. Do write darling to reassure me. Have you yet had my note to. Miss Hesse. Heaps of love darling from your own.

Edited to add: #12 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Darling look ianve at the date below this and tell me if can remember A nything about time last year. Was it not supremely grand. Write and tell me your recollections of it. Ihave not heard from you for so long. Why is it dearest. Write soon love and believe my dreaming of this date and hoping for another.

Edited to add: #13 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Dearest ihad your last letter safely. All of them have been destroyed for safetys sake. Upto the end of this year iwill write fortnightly and then every four weeks beginning with January twentyfourth. Will that do. Fondest love my darling and write soon.

Edited to add: #14 decrypted by Jerry McCarthy:
Only aline to thank you for the two letters received this week. write to me privately dearest will soon. Fondest love darling form your own.

Edited to add: #15 decrypted by thomas Bosbach:
Dearest I did not write last week because now you will see this on my birthday. Why have you not written. Send me a private and ordinary letter by return please darling. Fondest love sweetheart and happiest wishes for the new year from your own.

Edited to add: #16 decrypted by Thomas Bosbach:
Darling mine I am so longing to get a private letter from you. Do write soon dearest. So many thanks and tell me if the meeting I proposed for next can be arranged. Fondest love dearest from

Edited to add: #17 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
How unkind of you not to write. How are you sweetheart; quite well. I hope the cause of your silence is not that I have offended you in any way. write and reassure me dear. I expect Kate will speak to you when next you meet. Fondest love darling from your own.

Edited to add: #18 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
Why do you not write privately darling mine. You may depend upon my coming home as soon as possible if only for your sake and for.

Edited to add: #19 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
Darling since last I wrote I have sent a letter to Hesse. Have you had it. Write ae (sic) a long reply to it dearest. Have you seen ‘Nan’ yet. Accept my fondest love dear and beleive (sic) me your own.

Edited to add: #20 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
It really is too bad of you not to write. Am I forgotten already. You are most unkind and I will stop writing if you do. I want you to answer my letter to ‘v’ and tell me if the meeting I proposed for next can be arranged. Fondest love dearest from.

Edited to add: #21 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
I think it awfully mean of you not to answer either my private or letters. Why is it darling that you are so unkind to me. Do write soon dear love and tell me I have not offended you. Fondest love darling mine from your own.

Edited to add: #22 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
Why have I been forgotten. You are most unkind darling and I am going to write no more until I hear from you. Please do write to your own.

Edited to add: #23 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
ANYTHING. – You may write to at number three falcon terrace falcon road clapham junction your letter will reach me. I will try to arrange a meeting.

Edited to add: #24 decrypted by Michael Schroeder:
Send me a letter darling as soon as you see this and give me an address to which a can write to you privately. I want to arrange with you to meet me at Dover on my return in August and give me the least. Do write at once dearest to your own loving sweetheart.



Further reading: Another crypto mystery solved: Tony Gaffney has broken Ernest Rinzi’s encryption code

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Kommentare (33)

  1. #1 Michael Schroeder
    Number 23
    6. August 2018

    You may write to at number three falcon terrace falcon road clapham junction your letter will reach me. I will try to arrange a meeting.

  2. #2 Michael Schroeder
    Number 22
    6. August 2018

    Why have I been forgotten. You are most unkind darling and I am going to write no more until I hear from you. Please do write to your own.

  3. #3 Klaus Schmeh
    6. August 2018

    @Michael Schroeder: Thanks, this is #23.

  4. #4 Michael Schroeder
    Number 21
    6. August 2018

    I think it awfully mean of you not to answer either my private or letters. Why is it darling that you are so unkind to me. Do write soon dear love and tell me I have not offended you. Fondest love darling mine from your own.

  5. #5 Michael Schroeder
    Number 24
    6. August 2018

    send me a letter darling as soon as you see this and give me an address to which a can write to you privately. I want to arrange with you to meet me at Dover on my return in August and give me the least. Do write at once dearest to your own loving sweetheart.

    My last decrypt for today.

    Mike Schroeder

  6. #6 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    7. August 2018

    Number 13:
    Dearest ihad your last letter safely. All of them have been destroyed for safetys sake. Upto the end of this year iwill write fortnightly and then every four weeks beginning with January twentyfourth. Will that do. Fondest love my darling and write soon.

  7. #7 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    7. August 2018

    Incidentally, I cheated for my Number 13. I used the automated MASC solver which I found at https://quipqiup.com/ in “Statistics” mode.

  8. #8 Michael Schroeder
    Number 17
    7. August 2018

    How unkind of you not to write. How are you sweetheart; quite well. I hope the cause of your silence is not that I have offended you in any way. write and reassure me dear. I expect Kate will speak to you when next you meet. Fondest love darling from your own.

  9. #9 Michael Schroeder
    Number 18
    7. August 2018

    Why do you not write privately darling mine. You may depend upon my coming home as soon as possible if only for your sake and for.

  10. #10 Michael Schroeder
    Number 19
    7. August 2018

    Darling since last I wrote I have sent a letter to Hesse. Have you had it. Write ae (sic) a long reply to it dearest. Have you seen ‘Nan’ yet. Accept my fondest love dear and beleive (sic) me your own.

  11. #11 Michael Schroeder
    Number 20
    7. August 2018

    It really is too bad of you not to write. Am I forgotten already. You are most unkind and I will stop writing if you do. I want you to answer my letter to ‘v’ and tell me if the meeting I proposed for next can be arranged. Fondest love dearest from.

  12. #12 Michael Schroeder
    The Decrypts
    7. August 2018

    This is quite addictive, almost like eat peanuts. i will stop for a bit and give others a chance to decrypt some of these messages. I’ll restart if no one else picks up the work.

    I have TXT files of the cipher text of the messages I have deciphered. I can send them along if you wish.

    Mike Schroeder

  13. #13 Thomas
    7. August 2018

    #16:
    Darling mine I am so longing to get a private letter from you. Do write soon dearest. So many thanks and tell me if the meeting I proposed for next can be arranged. Fondest love dearest from

  14. #14 Thomas
    7. August 2018

    #15:
    Dearest I did not write last week because now you will see this on my birthday. Why have you not written. Send me a private and ordinary letter by return please darling. Fondest love sweetheart and happiest wishes for the new year from your own.

  15. #15 Thomas
    7. August 2018

    #3:
    dearest why have you not written to me privately. Surely I am not yet forgotten. Your ordinary letter with “Uncles” P.S. came three days ago. I am very glad to hear you are stronger. Continue to improve darling and when I come home we shall again have the bliss of each others company and you my pet (as a great favour) may have more.

  16. #16 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    7. August 2018

    Number 11:

    Dearest, how few your ordinary now are and inever get aprivate one. Is it because my absence is no longer felt. Do write darling to reassure me. Have you yet had my note to. Miss Hesse. Heaps of love darling from your own.

    Transcription: Wvzivhg, sld uvd blfi liwrmzib mld ziv zmw rmvevi tvg zkirezgv lmv. Rh rg yvxzfhv nb zyhvmxv rh ml olmtvi uvog. Wl dirgv wziormt gl ivzhhfiv nv. Szev blf bvg szw nb mlgv gl. Nrhh Svhhv. Svzkh lu olev wziormt uiln blfi ldm.

  17. #17 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    7. August 2018

    Number 12:

    Wziormt ollp rzmev zg gsv wzgv yvold gsrh zmw gvoo nv ru xzm ivnvnyvi Z mbgsrmt zylfg grnv ozhg bvzi. Dzh rg mlg hfkivnvob tizmw. Dirgv zmw gvoo nv blfi ivxloovxgrlmh lu rg. Rszev mlg svziw uiln blf uli hl olmt. Dsb rh rg wvzivhg. Dirgv hllm olev zmw yvorvev nb wivznrmt lu gsrh wzgv zmw slkrmt uli zmlgsvi.

    Transcription: Wziormt ollp rzmev zg gsv wzgv yvold gsrh zmw gvoo nv ru xzm ivnvnyvi Z mbgsrmt zylfg grnv ozhg bvzi. Dzh rg mlg hfkivnvob tizmw. Dirgv zmw gvoo nv blfi ivxloovxgrlmh lu rg. Rszev mlg svziw uiln blf uli hl olmt. Dsb rh rg wvzivhg. Dirgv hllm olev zmw yvorvev nb wivznrmt lu gsrh wzgv zmw slkrmt uli zmlgsvi.

  18. #18 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    7. August 2018

    Oops. Number 12:

    Darling look ianve at the date below this and tell me if can remember A nything about time last year. Was it not supremely grand. Write and tell me your recollections of it. Ihave not heard from you for so long. Why is it dearest. Write soon love and believe my dreaming of this date and hoping for another.

  19. #19 christopher l feige
    #3
    7. August 2018

    dearest why have you not written to me privately surely i am not yet forgotten your ordinary letter with uncles ps came three days ago i am very glad to hear you are stronger continue to improve darling

  20. #20 Klaus Schmeh
    7. August 2018

    @Thomas, Michael, Jerry, Christopher:
    THANK YOU very much for your help! Most of the advertisements are decrypted now.

  21. #21 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    8. August 2018

    Number 6:
    Both your darling letters came this week. Am so very sorry to hear of your illness. Darling you must get strong again for my sake and wait for my home coming. Iam so deeply grateful for your assurances of continued love dear one. Do write often dearast for your letters are my greatest joy. Ever believe in my constancy Isabel dear and think of me always as your own loving.

    Transcription:
    Ylgs blfi wziormt ovggvih xznv gsrh dvvp. Zn hl evib hliib gl svzi lu blfi roomvhh. Wziormt blf nfhg tvg hgilmt ztzrm uli nb hzpv zmw dzrg uli nb slnv xlnrmt. Rzn hl wvvkob tizgvufo uli blfi zhhfizmxvh lu xlmgrmfvw olev wvzi lmv. Wl dirgv lugvm wvzizhg uli blfi ovggvih ziv nb tivzgvhg qlb. Vevi yvorvev rm nb xlmhgzmxb Rhzyvo wvzi zmw gsrmp lu nv zodzbh zh blfi ldm olermt.

  22. #22 Klaus Schmeh
    8. August 2018

    Thanks, Jerry.

  23. #23 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    9. August 2018

    Number 4:
    Dearest thanks for your letter of the fourth of june and especially for its promise of aprivate letter by next mail which iquite long for. Mind you write fortnightly as iasked if only afew lines, you will, wont, you my darling. Idont care if “wobbert does not write but imust hear from my sweetheart. Farewell my love ilive in anticip – atirn of again having you and.

    Wvzivhg gszmph uli blfi ovggvi lu gsv ulfigs lu qfmv zmw vhkvxrzoob uli rgh kilnrhv lu zkirezgv ovggvi yb mvcg nzro dsrxs rjfrgv olmt uli. Nrmw blf dirgv uligmrtsgob zh rzhpvw ru lmob zuvd ormvh, blf droo, dlmg, blf nb wziormt. Rwlmg xziv ru “dlyyvig wlvh mlg dirgv yfg rnfhg svzi uiln nb hdvvgsvzig. Uzivdvoo nb olev rorev rm zmgrxrk – zgrim lu ztzrm szermt blf zmw.

  24. #24 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    9. August 2018

    Incidentally I notice that, in the first MASC key, the word “love” encrypts to an anagram of itself: “olev”. Coincidence or design?

  25. #25 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    9. August 2018

    Number 7:
    My darling so many thanks for the note enclosed with “Jolly” letter to “Nan”. Iam writing this week to “Miss Hesse” so look out for the letter which will tell you all. Farewell my dearest love.

    Transcription: Nb wziormt hl nzmb gszmph uli gsv mlgv vmxolhvw drgs “Kloob” ovggvi gl “Mzm”. Rzn dirgrmt gsrh dvvp gl “Nrhh Svhhv” hl ollp lfg uli gsv ovggvi dsrxs droo gvoo blf zoo. Uzivdvoo nb wvzivhg olev.

  26. #26 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    9. August 2018

    Number 8:
    Dearest ido think it mean of you not to write oftener especially when you know how ilong for your letters. Do please darling will you. Ihave not had an ordinary letter for amonth. Goodbye dear one, my own love. Remember your.

    Transcription: Wvzivhg rwl gsrmp rg nvzm lu blf mlg gl dirgv lugvmvi vhkvxrzoob dsvm blf pmld sld rolmt uli blfi ovggvih. Wl kovzhv wziormt droo blf. Rszev mlg szw zm liwrmzib ovggvi uli znlmgs. Tllwybv wvzi lmv, nb ldm olev. Ivnvnyvi blfi.

  27. #27 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    9. August 2018

    Für heute habe ich genug Erdnüsse gegessen……

  28. #28 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    12. August 2018

    Number 9:
    Your note sent to Nan came on Thursday but why have you not written privately. Ihope you have the letter isent Miss Hesse. Reply to it soon dearest. With very fondest love believe me, darling thine alone.

    Transcription: Blfi mlgv hvmg gl Mzm xznv lm Gsfihwzb yfg dsb szev blf mlg dirggvm kirezgvob. Rslkv blf szev gsv ovggvi rhvmg Nrhh Svhhv. Ivkob gl rg hllm wvzivhg. Drgs evib ulmwvhg olev yvorvev nv, wziormt gsrmv zolmv.

  29. #29 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    12. August 2018

    Number 10:
    Dearest iam awfully sorry iwas unable to write last week as iwas up on the Himalayas twenty miles from apost-office. Whyh ave you not written to me lately. Ihave not had either aprivate or other letter. Do write to me once darling along letter. Iwill write to “Wobbert” next week. Fondest love my darling from your own.

    Transcription: Wvzivhg rzn zdufoob hliib rdzh fmzyov gl dirgv ozhg dvvp zh rdzh fk lm gsv Srnzozbzh gdvmgb nrovh uiln zklhg-luurxv. Dsbs zev blf mlg dirggvm gl nv ozgvob. Rszev mlg szw vrgsvi zkirezgv li lgsvi ovggvi. Wl dirgv gl nv lmxv wziormt zolmt ovggvi. Rdroo dirgv gl “Wobbert” mvcg dvvp. Ulmwvhg olev nb wziormt uiln blfi ldm.

  30. #30 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    12. August 2018

    Das ist alles, oder?

  31. #31 Klaus Schmeh
    12. August 2018

    This is it!
    Thanks to Jerry McCarthy and all the others who participated. You have decrypted an interesting love story from the 19th century.
    There are many other advertisement series in Tony’s book. Perhaps, I will cover an other one on this blog.

  32. #32 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa.
    13. August 2018

    I think we lack number 14; here it is:

    Only aline to thank you for the two letters received this week. write to me privately dearest will soon. Fondest love darling form your own

    Transcription: Lmob zormv gl gszmp blf uli gsv gdl ovggvih ivxvrevw gsrh dvvp. dirgv gl nv kirezgvob wvzivhg droo hllm. Ulmwvhg olev wziormt ulin blfi ldm

  33. #33 Klaus Schmeh
    13. August 2018

    @Jerry: You’re right! Thanks!