In 1931 US shoe manufacturer Hood published a series of advertisements containing encrypted messages in a boy scout magazine. Can you solve them?
Last week I blogged about an advertisement poster showing an encrypted message blog reader George Lasry had spotted in London a few days earlier. Now, blog reader Rossignol from France has informed me about a few more crypto advertisements. They are a little older, however.
In fact, Rossignol found these advertisements when he browsed through pre-WW2 issues of Boys’ Life, a magazine published by the Boy Scouts of America.
These advertisements were part of a “treasure hunt” (i.e., a competion) US shoe manufacturer Hood, a company located in Massachusetts, organized in 1931. In the April 1931 issue of Boys’ Life, Hood published the following advertisement that gave the go-ahead to the hunt:
Rossignol has provided the following transcription:
ILWRAENFE NOECVRODV ISAEIBHNC
LCVDGEIDE DROTTASPO APSSHTUPR TRHHCETSU
ACTEHSIBR IDLSTWSWL ECOEOETAL
In May 1931, another Hood advertisement appeared:
Here’s Rossignols transcription:
ARZI OEERI RAT
CP SCDP ECAT
Advertisement #3, along with the third treasure hunt cryptogram, was published in the June 1931 issue:
Rossignol transcribed the cryptogram as follows:
The July 1931 issue of Boys’ Life contained the fourth (and last) treasure hunt advertisement Rossignol found:
Here’s the transcription:
(M3)X 58() 4AM0 )X5
58() )!2 M4 M*6 2M!?)
ZM04MA) *!5( 8 (08** !(*8?6
(X8256 *!95 8 X308? 4MM)
)X5 )A58(3A5 !( K3A!56 !?
)X5 (8?6 8) )X5 KM))M0 M4
)X5 ZA8)5A !? )X5 )M5
M4 )X5 !(*8?6
As far as I can tell, this collection of advertisements is complete. I’m afraid, it is too late for participating in the treasure hunt now, but solving the cryptograms is certainly still fun.
When I checked a few other issues of Boys’ Life, I found the following advertisement in the August 1931 issue. It is not related with the previous ones, but it shows an encrypted (better: encoded) message, too: