Sonja C’s Solutions

These videos popped up on Youtube recently:

340 Zodiac Killer Cipher

408 Zodiac Killer Cipher

The first video presents this solution to the 340 cipher:

This solution starts by applying a simple substitution key to produce the plain text. But like many other solution attempts, this one relaxes the constraints of the cipher text, again permitting construction of words and phrases by re-arranging the plaintext. Worse, this solution allows letters to be added and removed arbitrarily from the plain text, greatly easing the construction of interesting words and phrases.

We already know that the use of anagramming allows a codebreaker to choose from a huge variety of words. Examples of this include solutions by Daryll Lathers, Özcan Türkmen, Robert Graysmith, and Hal Kravcik.

Even a small chunk of plain text can produce many possible words. For instance, let’s look at the four letter sequence SLIA. If you rearrange those four letters, you can produce these words: LISA, SAIL, LAIS, ILSA, AILS, SALI, ASIL, ISLA, LIAS, and IALS. Similary, the four letter sequence TSPA can be rearranged to make these words: PAST, TAPS, SPAT, PATS, APTS, SAPT, and PTAS.

How do you know if you’ve selected the correct word? Does it just “feel” right, because you think Zodiac must have used certain words instead of others? No, verification of the solution demands stronger evidence than that.

Sonja C increases the pool of words by allowing the addition or removal of letters, making certain words appear more readily. Here’s an example of how much freedom you have by using this method: If you allow only one more letter to be added to the sequence SREA, then it can be arranged to form these words: YEARS, AREAS, RATES, SHARE, RAISE, TEARS, FEARS, SPARE, ARISE, ACRES, AROSE, RACES, READS, LASER, SAFER, BEARS, WEARS, CARES, STARE, HEARS, PEARS, SWEAR, FARES, WARES, GEARS, SPEAR, SMEAR, SCARE, EARNS, AIRES, SHEAR, EARLS, MARES, HARES, ERASE, ARIES, SAVER, SABRE, DARES, SEARS, RAPES, SNARE, DEARS, PARSE, REAMS, RAVES, NEARS, RAGES, CESAR, RAKES, ARSES, SAYER, REAPS, SARGE, REARS, SABER, BARES, AKERS, SERRA, ARLES, ARENS, AYRES, ASHER, BASER, MASER, AYERS, SANER, ROSEA, RASEN, SACRE, ARSED, ANSER, AGERS, SAYRE, RNASE, REALS, ASTER, TARES, MEARS, VERSA, MERSA, AVERS, ACERS, SARRE, CARSE, SERVA, SERIA, SEMRA, SAUER, HASER, RASES, ESARN, APRES, and RBASE. Every one of those words consists of the letters A, E, R, S, and only one additional “wildcard” letter.

Sonja C goes on to produce more words and phrases by rearranging the letters in each column of the plain text solution:

For example, the first column of the plain text reads TNNSGPADOSHITPICLTCE, which Sonja C rearranges into D TOSCHI SAT CLIP G PENN, leaving out only one letter: T. Seems interesting, since the sentence mentions Zodiac-related personalities Dave Toschi and Gareth Penn. But the same text can be rearranged in numerous ways. These other “Zodiac-oriented” words can also be found among the same letters: PLOTTING, INCIDENT, HOSPITAL, TIPLINE, TIGHTEN, STATION, STOLEN, POLICE, PISTOL, STINE, PINES, NIGHT, LODGE, LINDA, LEIGH, HOTEL, HOLES, HANDS, DONNA, DITCH, DEATH, CODES, CHEST, CASES, TIED, SHOT, LONE, LIST, LASS, HIDE, DIES, and COED. Which words are the correct ones?

In the second video, Sonja C presents a solution to the last 18 symbols of Zodiac’s 408-character cryptogram, again involving rearrangements of letters:

The Hardens’ solution to the cryptogram results in these last 18 characters of gibberish: EBEORIETEMETHHPITI. Sonja C rearranges these, and adds some new letters, to form words and phrases. BRIHT is rearranged into BRIGHT by adding the missing G, but BIRTH or BIRTHS are also possible. And the extra letters N, A, and L are added to MET to produce MENTAL. But if you allow three extra letters, you can generate all of these words:

SYSTEM, MOTHER, MARKET, MOMENT, MATTER, METHOD, MENTAL, MINUTE, MASTER, METRES, REMOTE, STREAM, MODEST, TIMBER, THAMES, THEMES, MATURE, TEMPLE, TEMPER, MOTIVE, METALS, PERMIT, MERITS, HELMET, CEMENT, MANTLE, EXEMPT, TIMELY, TERMED, METRIC, HELMUT, MISTER, HAMLET, ESTEEM, MUSTER, MAGNET, ANTHEM, MOLTEN, MENTOR, METERS, TREMOR, TANDEM, RECTUM, MELTED, METHYL, DREAMT, TUMBLE, TEAMED, TEDIUM, STEAMY, ENMITY, LAMENT, MALLET, HERMIT, NUTMEG, COMETS, MATTIE, MUTTER, METTLE, MILLET, TEMPOS, MOTLEY, INMATE, THEISM, MINUET, MIDGET, MUSKET, THELMA, MUTELY, TIMERS, SMYTHE, TAMPER, METEOR, MATHEW, MINTER, MINTED, MATTED, TIMBRE, MOTELS, TEMPTS, MYRTLE, MUPPET, LIMPET, MULLET, TAMELY, THEMED, KERMIT, EMMETT, AMULET, REMITS, TOTEMS, MALTED, FOMENT, JETSAM, MERTON, MEREST, DERMOT, MELTON, MOOTED, PELMET, MOTETS, MCTEAR, TWOMEY, TIMBRE, MARTEN, MATHER, ELTHAM, SEMTEX, MANTEL, IMBERT, MOIETY, EMPTOR, MOATED, MINTEL, TERMLY, MONNET, MUSTOE, MOLTKE, METALL, MUNTER, and MITRES

Similarly, Sonja C adds the letters S, A, and L to HOPIT to produce HOSPITAL. But you can also make these words if you allow three letters to be added to HOPIT:

PHILPOTT, ANTIPHON, TOWNSHIP, SHOPLIFT, WINTHROP, STROPHIC, HYPNOTIC, PINOCHET, ATROPHIC, PROHIBIT, HOTPOINT, MEPHISTO, POTIPHAR, OLIPHANT, HIGHSPOT, HILLTOPS, PHAISTOS, PONTHIEU, HOPLITES, TROPHIES, TRIOMPHE, ETHIOPIA, PHOTOFIT, PHONETIC, SHIPSTON, and HELIPORT.

I sitll prefer these anagrams of the last 18 characters, since they fit perfectly and don’t require adding or removing any letters:

I’M HERE TO BITE THE PIE
THE EERIE POET BIT HIM
I HOE THE TIBET EMPIRE
TEETH BITE HOMIER PIE
HI. I TIME THE BEER POET.
I MET THE PIE BITE HERO
I.E.: THIRTIETH BEE POEM
HI, I’M THE TEEPEE ORBIT
I’M PETER. I BITE THE HOE.
OH BITE THEIR PEE TIME
I HIT THE BEER EPITOME
HI! TIME TO HIT BEER PEE!
HI! TIME TO HIRE PET BEE!
TIME TO BE THE PIE HIER
I’M THE TIE; BORE THE PIE
I BITE THE PIE THEOREM
HI. BEEP HIT METEORITE.
I BETTER HOPE I TEE HIM.
BE HERE. TIPTOE. TIE HIM.
I’M THE PETITE BIO HERE
I’M BOTH EERIE EPITHET

None of this, unfortunately, can be shown to be anything more than diversions of word play. I’ve indulged in the same word play in this article, partly for fun, but mostly to demonstrate how easily we become ensnared by the cryptograms.

19 comments on “Sonja C’s Solutions

  1. Zodiak 340 read…
    Here is the killer aw
    Aiting on you. zodia
    K sick of being a outl
    Aw new reign wait a ki
    Ngdom full of abused
    and tormented femal
    E slaves on hold.

  2. The 32 zodiak code read…
    California a kingdom of… suspect name.
    Count the empty spaces, its match only one. ok? L.m.h.m.

  3. You have to make a chart. zodiak code got arabic numbers, 1 to 26, masonic signs, some of them modify by zodiak, the own zodiak signs, caesars code in 0,3,6,9,12 and the main clue that is hard to find.

  4. Yuo have to put all that in order and something else. and then, you will find the meaning of each sign, letter etc exemp the first sign after her is masonic and came to be e. or 9 come to be i .

  5. Zodiak had to have a chart to pick letter and changed to a sign, or viceversa. with that chart is easy to encode and real hard to decode.

  6. You want to make your own chart? a can explain step by step. i want to know if all 340 that i got, and the way i did is ok. i will tellyuo that something else. and yes, got the name on it. the same as z32 code.

  7. To vallejo p. d.?

    • They probably won’t respond, unless you have come up with a solution that does not permit arbitrary messages to be inserted. Most solutions I’ve seen allow arbitrary messages to be inserted, and I suspect your method has the same problems. You can go over your steps here if you want help determining if your method has problems.

  8. lmhm on said:

    On the card, from your secret pal, paradice means lawrence. can be read, lawrence slaves, by fire, by knife, by gun, by rope. is on caesar code on 3 steps, he use the arabic number too.

  9. lmhm on said:

    Like i said before, time ago, yuo need a chart, with all codes that zodiac used.
    Arabic numbers,
    Masonic code
    Caesar code in 3,6,9,12 steps
    caesar code in 3,6,9,12 steps bakcward.

  10. lmhm on said:

    Make sense? if you going to work on something, you need a bench poit, right? that was zodiacs bench point. a encoding chart.

  11. lmhm on said:

    I know, is hard to believe, but in z340 is the complete name, read like this, start with a period, ok? .lawrencekaneknownaszodiac.navysman. start on row 14 and ends on row 16. Z match the same place, like 21 more letters.

  12. lmhm on said:

    Need more? z13 read, wantedeternal. atrick of zodiac. turn 180 degrees tha code and you will foundout.

  13. lmhm on said:

    Not enough? ok, z32 read, california a kingdom of lawrence cane.

  14. Michael Koebnick on said:

    I’ve tried translating the last 18 characters. Here is how it looks:
    ELENGTEOEHEOTTITOT
    EBEORIETEMETHHPITI

    ELENGTEOEHEOTTITOT

    ETEEAOENETENOOTONO

    EOEEWNEEEOEENNONEN
    ETEEAOENETENOOTONO

    EOEEWNEEEOEENNONEN

    ENEEE EEE EN EEEE NEEE
    EOEEW NEE EO EENN ONEN

    EEEEE EEE EE EEEE EEEE
    ENEEE EEE EN EEEE NEEE

    EEEEE EEE EE EEEE EEEE

  15. Michael Koebnick on said:

    I’ve tried translating the last 18 characters. Here is how it looks:
    ELENGTEOEHEOTTITOT
    EBEORIETEMETHHPITI

    ELENGTEOEHEOTTITOT

    ETEEAOENETENOOTONO
    ELENGTEOEHEOTTITOT

    EOEEWNEEEOEENNONEN
    ETEEAOENETENOOTONO

    EOEEWNEEEOEENNONEN
    ENEEE EEE EN EEEE NEEE

    EEEEE EEE EE EEEE EEEE
    ENEEE EEE EN EEEE NEEE

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