An anamorphic is a puzzle based on a special kind of secret writing. Here are two postcards with anamorphic motives. Can you decrypt them?
While the secret writing used for anamorphics is certainly not suited for keeping a message secret, it makes nice puzzles. Here is an example on a postcard from 1905, provided to me by Tobias Schrödel:
To read the message, we need to compress the writing. Here’s what we get after a horizontal compression (turned by 90 degrees):
And here’s the result of a vertical compression:
A French card
The afore-mentioned anamorphic postcard is not the only one in Tobias’ collection. Here’s another one he provided me (it’s from 1905, too):
Can a reader decode it? The text side of the card is not relevant for us, but it is reproduced here anyway.
The Frauenlob card
Another anamorphic postcard I recently received was sent to me by Karsten Hansky.
If you decrypt it you will see that the plaintext is a German patriotic parole from the First World War. The stamp on the text side of the card contains the expression “Frauenlob”.
As Karsten found out, the “Frauenlob” (“praise women”) was a German battleship in WW1. It sank in 1916 during the Battle of Jutland.
I don’t see a year mentioned on the postcard, but I guess it was printed and written between 1914 and 1916 (i.e., between the beginning of the war and the sinking of the ship). Can a reader find out more about the background of this card?
Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 4. Kryptos