There is a code embedded in the ruling in The Da Vinci Code plagiarism case.
You can find it by searching for the characters in italic and boldface scattered throughout the ruling. The first characters spell out “SMITHCODE”: that’s the name of the judge who wrote the ruling The rest remains unsolved.
According to The Times, the remaining letters are: J, a, e, i, e, x, t, o, s, t, p, s, a, c, g, r, e, a, m, q, w, f, k, a, d, p, m, q, z.
According to The Register, the remaining letters are: j a e i e x t o s t g p s a c g r e a m q w f k a d p m q z v.
According to one of my readers, who says he “may have missed some letters,” it’s: SMITHYCODEJAEIEXTOSTGPSACGREAMQWFKADPMQZV.
I think a bunch of us need to check for ourselves, and then compare notes.
And then we have to start working on solving the thing.
From the BBC:
Although he would not be drawn on his code and its meaning, Mr Justice Smith said he would probably confirm it if someone cracked it, which was “not a difficult thing to do”.
As an aside, I am mentioned in Da Vinci Code. No, really. Page 199 of the American hardcover edition. “Da Vinci had been a cryptography pioneer, Sophie knew, although he was seldom given credit. Sophie’s university instructors, while presenting computer encryption methods for securing data, praised modern cryptologists like Zimmermann and Schneier but failed to mention that it was Leonardo who had invented one of the first rudimentary forms of public key encryption centuries ago.”
That’s right. I am a realistic background detail.
EDITED TO ADD (4/28): The code is broken. Details are in The New York Times:
Among Justice Smith’s hints, he told decoders to look at page 255 in the British paperback edition of “The Da Vinci Code,” where the protagonists discuss the Fibonacci Sequence, a famous numerical series in which each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. Omitting the zero as Dan Brown, “The Da Vinci Code” author, does the series begins 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21.
Solving the judge’s code requires repeatedly applying the Fibonacci Sequence, through the number 21, to the apparently random coded letters that appear in boldfaced italics in the text of his ruling: JAEIEXTOSTGPSACGREAMQWFKADPMQZVZ.
For example, the fourth letter of the coded message is I. The fourth number of the Fibonacci Sequence, as used in “The Da Vinci Code,” is 3. Therefore, decoding the I requires an alphabet that starts at the third letter of the regular alphabet, C. I is the ninth letter regularly; the ninth letter of the alphabet starting with C is K; thus, the I in the coded message stands for the letter K.
The judge inserted two twists to confound codebreakers. One is a typographical error: a letter that should have been an H in both the coded message and its translation is instead a T. The other is drawn from “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” the other book in the copy right case. It concerns the number 2 in the Fibonacci series, which becomes a requirement to count two letters back in the regular alphabet rather than a signal to use an alphabet that begins with B. For instance, the first E in the coded message, which corresponds to a 2 in the Fibonacci series, becomes a C in the answer.
The message reads: “Jackie Fisher who are you Dreadnought.”
I’m disappointed, actually. That was a whopper of a hint, and I would have preferred the judge to keep quiet.
EDITED TO ADD (5/8): Commentary on my name being in The Da Vinci Code.
Posted on April 27, 2006 at 6:47 PM •