1. Junior Twelever +1 Bronze
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Let's allow this possibility:
That K1, itself 63 characters, strongly implies under my hypothesis, that the next characters 64 thru 69 are BERLIN. The remaining issue in my hypothesis would then be: "am I making any alterations to any of the text that precedes 64 on my my newly constructed grid? the answer I believe is yes, but we're in the conceptual phase.

Another way to flip it would be that its really a set of bigrams itself, again using the reconstituted tableau, and B goes with R, E|L, I|N, etc.

The masking issues that you bring up I see like this. We've just played a game out at the Morse. Imagine Playfair rules, but no box. Meaning, you can't have doubles in a row. Even though were dealing with a 728 cell box, that's really it. No more play fair after that. In reality, we have multiple mappings to each possible character, so it's just a clever masking techniques, forcing us to replace a lot of the characters on the tableau. And K4 has a statistically high percentage of doubles, yes? So a bunch of the "real" text is masked. So we identify the doubles on the tableau, and make windows, so the verso comes through. The vigenere is a bunch of sequential letters, and there's no way a double can show through a two horizontal cell opening.

2. Oooo, thats a nice concept.

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Agreed. So let's stick a fork in this Morse L thread. We get that done, we have a model for how to create our grid. I don't want to go much further until I hear the Morse say "Uncle." I'm still committed to the idea that the dates, and temporality somehow, is still going to play a big role.

You have a real skill for these little morse games. Late G ID for Hale was brilliant. I think I'm looking for a reflection of the OHB dedication plaque. You know what I've already got. I think it's a game implied by the hydra. If there's two games per fraction, we have 10 heads arranged in conceptual reflection with our double calendar on the tableau. Akhenaten and Moses, a dual identity, gets hidden away- big secret (to anybody who isn't in the know). Buried. 8 heads left, the hydra defeated. In the vertical axis, an 8 letter word emerges. Abscissa? Yep. Let's go get it. If only to see more of the symmetry and whatever else is there. It's the only clue that has ever worked with this damn puzzle.

4. I don't know if we can consider Hale a G-man. I suppose he was working for our government and that's that. Am I splitting hairs?

About that loose L on the tabula, I can't keep it straight in my head, was that something Sanborn said was an unintentional error?

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The L: He mentioned symmetry, as I recall. Gives 868 on both. the tabula has a blank at (1,1), ergo, the need to find a place to put a character. Now c'mon. give it up! another morsel. you got skillz. I'll trade you for another gem.

6. I hear ya, I'm feelin a bit flat today. Got one beer in da fridge. Been a long week.

I do have something of a reflection, or the thinking process with which I've been getting more comfortable. Each time I make an observation I want to think its rooted solidly in a way of looking at what information is available. Most people would agree at that point. The problem is what comes next: the purpose of that design. That's the seed for speculation. Then come the boughs of my destruction.

The calendar is something I really like for making sense of those misspellings. I thought it was a lead on some Einstein reference. Thats a bad speculation. Honestly, I dont know what purpose of the calender design has when thinking what to do next. If Sept. 22nd is about Hale, then I need to think more about that context.

7. I have had this speculation before, but now I think it might make more sense now when I think about Jim Sanborn's thought process while learning the ins and outs of cryptography from Ed Sheidt. I imagine this kind of conversation:

Ed Scheidt: "so you wish to know more about ciphers? Do something new that nobody on the planet has ever used? Well, you'll have to first look over this standard list of basic cipher techniques: Caesar, Vigenere, Bacon, Playfair, Quagmire, etc. You can't really do what hasn't already been done before, but you can combine some classic methods in some new way and devise a mask that is unique."

Jim Sanborn: "I like the Vigenere. Mask? What's that?" (here is where Sanborn's mind drifts to the Tut's Tomb...)

Suppose he things of all those lines of the nemes, alternating blue and gold, and thinks of those two Egyptian gods: Wadjet(cobra uraeus) and Nekhbet (vulture). This as a physical outline for what he might use as a map to a code which falls on each side of the face and is separated by alternating lines (one above and one below). At this point my mind drifts to the idea that a "uraeus" is a pretty damn good representation of a "?" symbol, but also the word URA_US, where you can substitute an N for the E to get another planet: URANUS.

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You are definitely right, however the interpretation of what carter and mace found is open to debate. The image of tut is thought provoking and it gives me ideas about how we could order rows. But I must admit, I haven't yet told you everything about the place in Tanis that the coordinates led me to. So having gotten k4 out of the way, we should focus on the more prosaic work of using the less imaginative clues that are actually there. We have a big leap to make involving Egypt, but not yet.

Major Eaton: Dr Jones, we've heard a great deal about you.
Indiana Jones: Have you?
Eaton: Professor of Archaeology, expert on the occult and...how does one say it? Obtainer of rare antiquities.
Jones: That's one way of saying it. Why don't you sit down?
Colonel Musgrove: Yes, you're a man of many talents. Now, you studied under Professor Ravenwood at the University of Chicago?
Jones: Yes, I did.
Eaton: And you have no idea of his present whereabouts? [Indy and Marcus exchange a look]
Jones: Ah, just rumours, really. Somewhere in Asia, I think. I haven't spoken to him for ten years; we were friends but...we had a bit of a falling out, I'm afraid.
Musgrove: Dr. Jones, you must understand this is all strictly confidential. Yesterday afternoon, our European sections intercepted a... a German communiqué that was sent from Cairo to Berlin. Now, to Cairo--
Eaton: See, over the last two years, the Nazis have had teams of archaeologists running around the world looking for all kinds of religious artifacts. Hitler's a nut on the subject. He's crazy. He's obsessed with the occult. And right now, apparently, there's some kind of German archaeological dig going on in the desert outside of Cairo.
Musgrove: Now we've got some information here, but we can't make anything out of it, and maybe you can. [he reads the communiqué] Tanis development proceeding. Acquire headpiece, Staff of Ra, Abner Ravenwood, U.S.
Jones: The Nazis have discovered Tanis.
Eaton: Just what does that mean to you, uh, Tanis?
Marcus Brody: Well, it-- [Jones interrupts him]
Jones: The city of Tanis is one the possible resting places of the Lost Ark.
Musgrove: The Lost Ark?
Jones: Yeah, the Ark of the Covenant. The chest the Hebrews used to carry around the Ten Commandments.
Eaton: What do you mean, 'commandments'? You're talking about the Ten Commandments?
Jones: Yes, the actual Ten Commandments. The original stone tablets Moses brought down from Mount Horeb and smashed, if you believe in that sort of thing. Either of you guys ever go to Sunday school?
Musgrove: Well, I--
Jones: Oh, look. The Hebrews took the broken pieces and put them in the Ark. When they settled in Canaan, they put the Ark in a place called the Temple of Solomon.
Marcus: In Jerusalem.
Jones: Where it stayed for many years. Until, all of a sudden, whoosh, it's gone.
Eaton: Where?
Jones: Well, nobody knows where or when.
Marcus: However, an Egyptian pharaoh--
Jones: Shishak.
Marcus: Yes... invaded the city of Jerusalem around about 980 B.C., and he may have taken the Ark back to the city of Tanis and hidden it in a secret chamber called the Well of Souls.
Eaton: Secret chamber?
Marcus: However, about a year after the pharaoh had returned to Egypt, the city of Tanis was consumed by the desert in a sandstorm that lasted a whole year. Wiped clean by the wrath of God.[the agents exchange looks]
Musgrove: Obviously, we've come to the right men. Now, you seem to know, uh, all about this Tanis, then.
Jones: No, no, not really. Ravenwood's the real expert. Abner did the first serious work on Tanis. Collected some of its relics. It was his obsession. But he never found the city.
Eaton: Frankly, we're somewhat suspicious of Mr. Ravenwood. An American being mentioned so prominently in a secret Nazi cable.
Marcus: Oh, rubbish. Ravenwood's no Nazi.
Musgrove: Well, what do the Nazis want him for, then?
Jones: Well, obviously, the Nazis are looking for the headpiece to the Staff of Ra and they think Abner's got it.
Eaton: What exactly is a headpiece to the Staff of Ra?
Jones: Well a staff is just a stick. [gestures with his hands to convey the length of the staff] I don't know, about this big, nobody really knows for sure how high... and it's... [he draws a diagram on a blackboard] It's capped with an elaborate headpiece in the shape of the sun with a crystal in the center. And what you did was, you take the staff to a special room in Tanis, a map room with a miniature of the city all laid out on the floor, and if you put the staff in a certain place, at a certain time of day, the sun shone through here — and made a beam that came down on the floor here. And gave you the exact location of the Well of Souls.
Musgrove: Where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, right?
Jones: Which is exactly what the Nazis are looking for.
Eaton: What does this Ark look like?
Jones: There's a picture of it right here. [he opens a Bible to show the image of the Israelites holding the Ark above them. There are great jets of light emanating from the Ark piercing the ranks of the opposing army surrounding them, representing them in various states of agony or death.] That's it.
Eaton: Good God!
Marcus: Yes, that's just what the Hebrews thought.
Musgrove: Uh, now, what's that supposed to be coming out of there?
Jones: Lightning ... fire ... power of God or something.
Eaton: I'm beginning to understand Hitler's interest in this.
Marcus: Oh, yes. The Bible speaks of the Ark leveling mountains and laying waste to entire regions. An army which carries the Ark before it ... is invincible.

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Mmkay.

Restating the Morse problem under my new scheme of decrypting the Morse. I think the farther away from the magnet and compass, the older. The clues from the first strata perhaps go with the first part of the puzzle. we have 8 bigrams on the SOS strata. Some of the clues, the "bottom" ones, read left-to-right, and the top seems to read right to left.
RIRQP
SOSRQ
TUTSR
Gives TUT SR and PQR IR. Notice my spacing. I have already written about the connection between the electromagnetic spectrum and the implied riddle of K1. What lies between IR and UV? I have speculated that this may be a substitution scheme, similar to my hypothesized doubles windows. Perhaps this instruction tells us to substitute PQR for IR somehow.
In the next one, Lucid Memory, we squeezed TJefferson out very convincingly on the lower bigram. What about the top in reverse? AXTILALAAACEBOK?
TALL XI C=B OK?
I don't know about that. But I think something is there.

10. Majorcicada, I just reviewed your latest blog posting over at kryptosblog. Way cool material. I'm not 100% sold on it, although it's a very workable angle. I'm feeling a bit brain tired today, so forgive this brief and lame analysis.

I'm thinking from a design point of view:

Use of a big petrified tree trunk...check
Use of lots of copper...check
Make it big and filled with lots of letters...one side all alphabets...one side all secret message....check
Hide the starting key to that code in a simple Morse code area nearby...check

When I look at that Morse, I think it's not just telling us PALIMPSOT (O/E, ST). It's got a lot of E's. It's got words that don't contribute to the palindrome output. If I think about the Caesar shifted vowel variant as a way to clue us to TUT and the other linguistically feasible phrases, I want to consider the difficulty or mastermindedness of the task and what it's purpose is beyond the K1 keyword message. I'm having a difficult time moving that process forward at that point.

When I think of the whole puzzle, I see how an agent knowing what to look and what to do with that info would proceed:

acquire coded message...check
standard protocol: never include the key with the message, provide it separately according to E/Morse palindrome method....check
translate K1 and know to use E's as indicator, balance the E's, find the center: ABS will relate to layer keyword...check
translate K2 and know to look for...(what?...a keyword clue centered between a new indicator?...Q's, L's, U's, O's, X's, ?'s, A's, B's, S's?

I know K3 seems easier to solve. I know it has been crafted with some very particular sentence lengths and slight word modifications and it has a nonessential X and Q. It seems interconnected with K1 and the Morse (based on the SOS=TUT). If this were a fully linear puzzle, then I'd expect K2 would give us the right transpose widths in order to solve K3 quickly. I liked the 24x14-turn-8x42-turn matrix method. A simple way to know how to do this is to provide two simple number references, knowing each gives the length of one side of the matrix. A message of "2408" or "248" or "1442" might be all a trained agent needs to know. Does K2 give us this numeric information?

This is as far as my thinking is really going at the moment. Gotta chew on this awhile.