Hood-Treasure-Hunt-bar

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.

Boys-Life

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:

Hood-Ad-1

Rossignol has provided the following transcription:

ILWRAENFE NOECVRODV ISAEIBHNC
LCVDGEIDE DROTTASPO APSSHTUPR TRHHCETSU
ACTEHSIBR IDLSTWSWL ECOEOETAL

In May 1931, another Hood advertisement appeared:

Hood-Ad-2

Here’s Rossignols transcription:

ARZI OEERI RAT
CP SCDP ECAT
PJAT FRMMDR
XOIJRT XRMSRRA
MSC KLCIM
KMOITW ECKMK
DCKM HRSRDK
ZIR JAKJTR

Advertisement #3, along with the third treasure hunt cryptogram, was published in the June 1931 issue:

Hood-Ad-3

Rossignol transcribed the cryptogram as follows:

AOWNWESTSD
ISDEOFDEMV ILUSCANAYO
NABROVNEFA LLSMECAPIS
INBOAFTTLE ATBNASOEOF
CEGDARTORE EOWEARRUTB
DBERSOLESE

The July 1931 issue of Boys’ Life contained the fourth (and last) treasure hunt advertisement Rossignol found:

Hood-Ad-4

Here’s the transcription:

5*5B5? 0!*5(
(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:

Flit-Boys-Advertisment

Can you decipher the cryptograms introduced in this post?


Further reading: Sherlock Holmes and the Pollaky cryptograms

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13501820
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/763282653806483/

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Gib Deine E-Mail-Adresse an, um diesen Blog zu abonnieren und Benachrichtigungen über neue Beiträge via E-Mail zu erhalten.

Kommentare (7)

  1. #1 Thomas
    24. August 2018

    #2 (ARZI…)

    NEAR UPPER END OF WOLF POND FIND KETTLE BURIED BETWEEN TWO SHORT STURDY POSTS LOST JEWELS ARE INSIDE

  2. #2 Thomas
    24. August 2018

    #3 (AONWESTSD…)
    Leaving out some letters I got:

    ON WEST SIDE OF DEVILS CANYON FALLS MAP IN BOTTLE AT BASE OF CEDAR
    WEAR RUBBER SOLES

    The problem is which letters to leave out.

  3. #3 Thomas
    24. August 2018

    #4

    Eleven miles south east from the east tip of old point Comfort lies a small island shaped like a human foot. The treasure is buried in the sand at the bottom of the crater in the toe of the island.

  4. #4 Dan Girard
    25. August 2018

    Thomas,

    Following up on your initial break of #3 (AOWNWESTSD…), I find that writing the cryptogram into a 10 X 10 square, then first reading the two diagonals (upper left to lower right, then upper right to lower left), followed by the remaining letters in each of the ten lines, gives:

    “A sure-footed man can go down west side of Devil’s Canyon above Falls. Map is in bottle at base of cedar tree. Wear rubber soles.”

  5. #5 Dan Girard
    25. August 2018

    Cryptogram # 1 is a “rail-fence” transposition cipher.

    The plaintext is:

    In lower cavern of Devil’s Cave dig behind cedar posts that support arch. The chest is buried close to west wall.

  6. #6 Breaker
    25. August 2018

    First page/photos are racist as F**K

    The original page in the Gold Bug featured a picture, with a small white kid on the tree. I have actually sat on the tree in the picture that it represents. at the base of Elephant’s Head, in Smuggler’s Notch, VT.

    See the light marks behind the drawing in the Hood ad?

    A map is added for the image of a valley…..the tree is on the approach hike and perches you over the point in the saddle as shown in the lighter images.

    The obvious image is that of a man sitting on a tree, but the general outline is that of a man holding onto an Elephant’s “Trunk”

    The themes then marketed to youth were racist and homoerotic at the same time…..it is quite the different image when you study the themes.

    Also…..sent a Tweet to Redman of the WuTang Clan for clarity.

  7. #7 Moritz
    25. August 2018

    Regarding the second cryptogram, I’d just like to add that the cipher alphabet is constructed by writing the first half of the normal one backwards leaving gaps and then writing the second half forwards in those gaps:

    NMOLPKQJRISHTGUFVEWDXCYBZA