In Canberra, Australia, there is a set of eight steel pillars bearing encrypted inscriptions. So far, they have not received much attention in the codebreaking community. Some of the cryptograms are still unsolved.
Most readers of this bog certainly know Kryptos, …
… a sculpture located at the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. Kryptos bears an encrypted inscription, a part of which is still unsolved. There are a few other pieces of modern art that include ciphertext – for instance, the Cyrillic projector, …
… the Cheltenham Listening Stones, …
… and Andy Bauch’s Lego Bitcoin installations.
NKRYPT is an installation outside the Questacon science and technology centre in Canberra, Australia. It was designed by Stuart Kohlhagen and installed in March 2013.
The Questacon website describes NKRYPT as “eight stainless steel pillars covered in letters, numbers or symbols, creating eight encrypted messages for you to decipher”. This site also shows a few photographs of the sculptures. I have asked for permission to use these, but I never received a reply. So, to my regret, I can’t provide any photographs of NKRYPT in this post.
NKRYPT joins other outdoor exhibits in the area around Questacon. The messages are laser-cut into the steel poles. The challenges are all discrete but interlinked, and solving one may provide a clue to solving others. Some ciphertexts are intended to be quickly broken, others are more challenging. The final cryptogram can be deciphered with a key that emerges from the solution of all the others.
The Questacon website states: “To date only about one-fifth of NKRYPT’s codes have been deciphered [this information might be outdated, KS], and not all of the mysteries revealed in these decoded messages have been solved.”
NKRYPT fan pages
I found two fan websites decicated to NKRYPT and the crypto puzzles connected to it. First, there is DKRYPT.
DKRYPT provides detailed information about all the sculptures, including transcriptions and solutions (if known). The author of DCRYPT appears to be a private person who doesn’t reveal his or her name.
A similar page is simply titled NKRYPT sculpture.
Again, this page seems to be a private fan project. I don’t know who operates this page.
A look at pillar 5
Let’s now look at an example. Pillar 5 of the NKRYPT collection (the “NKRYPT sculpture” page calls it “G”) appears to be one that hasn’t been solved yet. It bears two inscriptions (DKRYPT also mentions a third one at the bottom of it, which we will ignore here). The first one uses an alphabet of four symbols. It can be transcribed as follows:
14441144144414134324224143 13121142233212222111311123 34334422412123231413111423 32432113434332114214424432 41412411141414314314334412 21343424122111312144443221 21414444343123423143341422 42212232132431333222233143 11111414133114312324241124 21441222313431443213443432
Here’s the second message (the lines have various offsets and spacing, with the overall pattern resembling a helix or a sine wave):
UWGHTLIYCOEYDY RFKVOACMHPUCEAL BANYUJHEESHABPS NAYIDQGILTIVKTE FAESOKTMZQDMRGH HYLHNICNLBNWWXX KGAPYHIIQHSKETZ RRENUCMTVUINLZR ICYRFFGTKDNBQSH NLXZWKMVCICTCDD ZAOWRSUNVMDOIXG ZCCFCUEAKAKFSMP YRHUUTMCYSSMPFG TUCIESREQXAICHL LYVBKNNZVBPKNQA EXQSHOSGVZDHDFM HYPHCUDQTMWVNEK NGACBGTSACXEHRE DUUHNQVDATWTIEK ZRFHTOFRUPTKHNP XYNFBBHWPVSSKIN NOHYWLJQZKWRSQO UIEEQKYEMPRQEDM IVSVAPNGKDVPQME XGCIOAVXVIGTPIQ ORDQRJEKWFPVWZP ECYNYRCGWWIFCYX GVLGPLBSJGMIJCX RHYEOHHWTXOAGYS FSDOZGZJGNPTRUA ESTRPYFTJVZQHOP EQLOQRGPHPKEDEI IQHCZYWPJZKAZQA KSKMIPLDRGCWCAD GZCDBB
Can a reader solve one of these challanges? If so, please leave a comment. Any other informormation about NKRYPT is welcome, too.
Further reading: To whom did Martin Gardner dedicate his crypto book?