The 340 Cipher Solution Methodology

(this page is currently under construction, in accordance with me finding time to write :)

Basically, my methodology involved the following:  


     When I became interested in solving the Zodiac 340, I wrote a small application to help manipulate it with more ease. To simplify things (programming and solving), I assigned a number to each of the Zodiac's characters (ex. 1 = 'H', 2 = 'E', 3 = 'R', 4 = '>' etc). This application helped me to fill in the cipher quicker, instead of having to do it by hand. (As well I could save and reopen files.).

   For working aids I had frequency stats for single letters (ex.' e' is normally used about 11-12% of the time in common English), a list of common pair and triplet letters, and the count and frequencies from the 408 (ex. 'e' is used approximately 12.8% of the time in the 408).

    Considering common letter pairs and triplets (like 'TO', THE..'..'ING'), I began by looking for number (remember, each number = a zodiac character in the app) pairs and triplets that appear more than once; (ie: sections like 11,51,52 which eventually lead to being 'THE'), and substituting what I felt might fit. I also looked for doubles (two of the same number together) that would indicate something like 'EE' or 'LL'). That way I could look for segments of words that would eventually lead to a word's completion (for example 19,19 = 'L,L' leading to 'HELL',  or 5,5 = e,e leading to LEE on a diagonal).    As I substituted, 'filling in the blanks' connected to pairs and triplets, I checked to see if other areas in the cipher also had some kind of logical completion (ie: to make sure some words were forming elsewhere).

    [After numerous substitution passes (and false leads where 'logical completion' in one area, would totally rule out mostly everywhere else), I noticed what appeared to be a a couple of much larger message areas forming.  For some reason the one I had my eye on, was more to the top of the cipher, in the area leading towards 'logic' 'theory', 'chlorine', 'roast',  and 'left' (I call this the 'theo' section). However, I noted the words weren't becoming grammatically connected. Down further (in the the 'halloween' section), a hint of some sentence structure developed; [see work 103 - tba]; in particular, "Circle the", after 'Halloween'.]

After more passes, (while ensuring word completion between the upper and lower, and other sections (ie: between the theo and halloween sections) the main message became very clear:

"Hoot at the Halloween. Circle the words [to seeh the helot hell rwaiting chaptr]". Then it became quite apparent: A Word Search wrapped in a Cipher. 'Circle the words'; that was why other sections of the cipher were just showing words that weren't grammatically connected.

    It's quite possible that this word-search aspect is something that has confused others who have tried to decipher the 340 in the past because partial words are used to make these puzzles more interesting, and present allusions to full words.

Below are links to images of my app files from work-start to work-end. (Note that well most flow from one to the next, occasionally i would open and older file then re-save it under a new name, so everything here appears in order of files saved: ie: the odd pic may seem out of sequence. i just didn't want to alter an older file accidentally): I will try to arrange these later by description if possible.(ie: by describing what letters i was trying to use or doubles [bi....s, triples, etc). I will also show you some of the misleading pitfalls I (and probably others) have fallen into - false-leads.

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