Here’s another cryptogram that can be seen in a TV series. Can a reader break it?

Over the years, I have blogged about many an encrypted message from a movie, TV series or video clip. Here are a few examples:

  • There was an encrypted message in the German TV series “Operation Mozart”.
  • In the intro of the German TV film “Im Namens meines Sohnes” a message is hidden.
  • “Fringe”, a successful US TV series, contains a hidden code. It has been solved by fans of the series.
  • In the end credits of the 2010 movie “Fair Game” some letters are marked. Do they spell out an encrypted message? Ten years after the release of the film, this question is still unanswered.
  • “The Professional”, a French movie with Jean-Paul Belmondo, involves an encrypted telegram.
  • The movie “Wanted” (starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman) contains a steganographic message.
  • In the 2006 British-American mystery thriller “The Prestige” a stage magician keeps an encrypted journal. Some passages of it can be seen in the movie.
  • A video clip by US rock band Linkin Park shows a wall with an encrypted inscription.

Elonka Dunin, …

Source: Schmeh

.. the-co-author of my current book project Codebreaking & Cryptograms: A Practical Guide, has recently made me aware of another cryptogram of this kind: an encrypted message in the Amazon crime drama series Sneaky Pete.

As I had never heard of this series before, I had to check Wikipedia about it. Here’s what I found:

Sneaky Pete follows Marius, a con man who gets out of prison only to find himself hunted by the vicious gangster he once robbed. With nowhere else to turn, Marius takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete, and then “reunites” with Pete’s estranged family — who have no reason to suspect he’s not their long-lost loved one.

In 2019, Amazon cancelled the series after three seasons. According to Wikipedia, Sneaky Pete received positive reviews from critics.

The encrypted message Elonka told me about can be seen in episode 7 of the second season (“The Reluctant Taxidermist”).

Source: Screenshot from “Sneaky Pete”

Summaries of the plot are available online, but none of these mentions the cryptogram. Apparently, it doesn’t play a particularly important role in this episode. Perhaps, a reader knows more.

The headline of the message decrypts to WALERIE ABEYTA, which is the name of a character of the series (a pregnant woman that is being chased).

I have no information about the rest of the cryptogram. At first view, it looks like a simple substitution (MASC), but it might also have to do with the cryptographic table that can be seen in the background of the picture. Of course, these lines might also be meaningless gibberish.

Can a reader break this message? Any help is welcome.

Further reading: How comedian Jan Böhmermann used a steganographic message to advertise his TV show


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Kommentare (2)

  1. #1 Gerry
    17. April 2020

    I think that the person is trying to decipher the first line. You can see the trial and error when you look at the columns of the letters A, B, T – they are the same in each line. The page in the background has lines with the substitution codes for a to z in blocks of 2 or 3 letters for better viewing, but unfortunately the visible substitutions are not the ones the person used.

  2. #2 Richard SantaColoma
    17. April 2020

    Looking at this, I am thinking that the only cipher here is the bold first line, “JTMABUA TYAGXT”

    … and that the subsequent lines are only attempts by the decipherer, and not further cipher materal. For instance, going down the left-most column, for the cipher “J” they tried Q, then R, then X, then M, then W, then V… and they stuck with “V” in the end. For the cipher “T”, they tried P, then P again, then H, then C, then H, then A, went to the incorrect “N”, but then back to “A”. And so on…

    This makes sense to me, because on eath “attempt line”, the letters work, I think: For instance, on the first line, they substituted “P” for the cipher “T” in both places. Same with the line unter it. And for the “A” in the cipher text, they substituted “Q”, and so on.

    So I think they only cipher in this image is the original “JTMABUA TYAGXT”, which deciphers, as you say, to “Valerie Abeyta”, and that there is no other cipher or plain text here… only a progression of attempts.