# Can you solve these crypto puzzles from the 1950s?

In the 1950s, a US company published weekly newspaper advertisements that included crypto puzzles. Here are three of these.

Advertisement campaigns that include encrypted messages have a long tradition. On this blog, I have introduced quite a few of them, including the following:

### An ad series from the 1950s

Source: David Oranchak

…, whom many of my readers know as a Zodiac Killer expert, has now made me aware of an advertisement series published in The Bakersfield Californian, a US newspaper, in the 1950s. I had never heard of these before. Here’s an example (from June 5, 1953):

Source: The Bakersfield Californian

The cryptogram introduced here was probably created with a simple substitution cipher (MASC). I’m sure my reader won’t have much trouble breaking it.

The ad series was published by a printing company named “Earl M. Price & Co”, which apparently doesn’t exist any more. Solvers of the above cryptogram could win a ream of paper imprinted with name and address.

Here’s another ad from the same series (January 12, 1953):

Source: The Bakersfield Californian

This time, the prize is \$10. The encryption system used is not a pure MASC, as the ciphertext contains cleartext words and letters. Again, I’m sure this is easy to decipher for my readers.

The following ad contains another puzzle (August 17, 1954):

Source: The Bakersfield Californian

A few letters have been left in the clear. The cryptogram should be easy to break, and I wonder how many readers sent in the correct solution. If there were 200, did everyone get 5 cents as a prize?

• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861650/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861659/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861661/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861667/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861671/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861675/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861678/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861682/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861686/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861687/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861691/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861696/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861715/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861719/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861722/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861726/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861731/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861735/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861739/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861742/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861745/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861747/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861750/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861755/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861760/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861761/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861764/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861765/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861769/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861772/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861774/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861778/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861779/earl-m-price-cipher/
• https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861782/earl-m-price-cipher/

There are probably many more, as the weekly series ran at leat for a year. Too bad it’s too late to win any of the prizes.

Thanks David, for this hint.

If you find a solution, please share it in the comments section.

Further reading: A hidden message on a EU election ballot

## Kommentare (12)

1. #1 Nils Kopal
Krefeld
25. Mai 2020

The “difficult” one 😀

SOME OF YOU WERE WANTING A REALLY DIFFICULT CRYPTOGRAM; WEREN’T YOU? WELL, HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS ONE?

2. #2 Nils Kopal
Krefeld
25. Mai 2020

Where do I get my 10\$ 😀 ?

3. #3 Nils Kopal
Krefeld
25. Mai 2020

Ah, btw, here is my transcription:

jegq ef oeu pqhq pmwtiwk m hqmllo
choytekhmg pqhqwt oqu pqll zep de oeu lisq
tzij ewq

4. #4 Sabine
München
25. Mai 2020

2)
DICK TRACEY WILL HAVE ANOTHER CLOSE CALL.
MAJOR HOOPLE WILL RECOVER HIS SANCT&(???).
ALLEY HOOP WILL TANGLE IN THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.
CAPTAIN EASY WILL OUTSMART THE REDS.
MARK TRAIL WILL DO BETTER.
YOU WILL CRACK THIS CODE.

hat Spaß gemacht, aber weiß leider nicht für was das & steht

5. #5 Sabine
München
25. Mai 2020

C=1
O=2
U=3
N=4
T=5
E=6
R=7
S=8
P=9
Y=&
SANCTY
Aber was heisst SANCTY….???
Sorry für den obigen Doppelpost

6. #6 Narga
25. Mai 2020

The REWARD one: Hail the conquering hero comes, surrounded by a bunch of bums.

7. #7 Sabine
München
26. Mai 2020

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/51861779/earl-m-price-cipher/
WHO WOULD CARE FOR A FINE HAND-WOVEN ANTIQUE WOOLEN BED COVER FOR THESE COLD NIGHTS? MIRA W. LEMONS, P. O. BOX 616, CHINA LAKE IS OFFERING A DANDY FOR ONLY \$100, A REAL ANTIQUE, YET IN PERFECT USABLE CONDITION, BEAUTIFUL PATTERN IN BLUE, CREAM AND RED, WITH DATE 1955 WOVEN IN SIDE. RARE OBJECT OF ART. HURRY, HURRY
Next….

8. #8 Mac
26. Mai 2020

The first one was an easy solve by hand using frequency analysis!
“Some of you were wanting a really difficult cryptogram; weren’t you? Well how do you like this one?”

9. #9 Thomas
26. Mai 2020
10. #10 Klaus Schmeh
27. Mai 2020

Transcript: JEGQ EF OEU PQHQ PMWtIWK M HQMLLO DIFFICULT CHOYTEKHMG, *PQHQW’T OEU? PQLL, ZEP DE OEU LISQ TZIJ EWQ?

11. #11 Klaus Schmeh
27. Mai 2020