This Sculpture Holds a Decades-Old C.I.A. Mystery. And Now, Another Clue.

Kryptos has been in a courtyard at C.I.A. headquarters for almost 30 years. Three of its four passages have been decoded. Will one more clue unlock the last?

Comments: 19

  1. I think solution involves time and sun like sundial. Can't solve without time lapse imagery. Forget a purely text or 2-D approach. It's 4-D. Is that a "duh?"

  2. @Think Of One I agree. I think they are instructions. Either a sundial, or a central clock in Berlin, or something like that.

  3. It's remarkable that the CIA, which must possess the world's most powerful decryption programs, hasn't cracked this. Or perhaps it has and isn't telling? A lovely mystery.

  4. Geat story, thank you. Did the author scuptor get this all approved as not divulging anything to any enemy. Did it get security clearance. Were all the codes used officially obsolete?

  5. What Mr. Sanborn doesn't seem to realize is that he is damaging the legacy of Kryptos by issuing clues. He should allow people to decipher it on their own. That is the point of a puzzle. If he dies before K4 is solved then so be it. I don't understand why he cares that it be solved on his terms or his time frame.

  6. @emkeyser Because he wants to be left alone once and for all.

  7. @Oriol And he doesn't want people exhuming his body because they think a solution might be buried with him.

  8. Too bad the author couldn't report on the thinking that went into the puzzle and solutions thus far.

  9. @RonRich that, it seems to me, is a topic for a series of articles, or perhaps a book, or website, or other sources cited within the article.

  10. @RonRich Agreed. I kept waiting for that

  11. BERLIN CLOCK NORTH EAST... These aren't words that need to be decoded, per se. They are instructions.

  12. @PhilO I wonder if that is a reference to the World Clock in the Alexanderplatz public square in Berlin? It's kind of NE of the central point of the city.

  13. @PhilO ...or it's an anagram (I see LINCOLN in there).

  14. This is really cool and fascinating. And because it is cool and fascinating, it helps to distract from the fact that the CIA is the world's foremost terrorist organization, responsible for raping and torturing prisoners in the 2000s, organizing Central American death squads in the 1980s, overthrowing democratic governments in the 1950s, and murdering tens of thousands throughout its history.

  15. This is all so reminiscent of the hidden theme in Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the "larger theme" which "goes" "through and over the whole set". Elgar died in 1934 and, to date, this mystery has not been solved either.

  16. How wonderful that in an age of didactic, polemical agit-prop art, frequently driven by after-school-special messages, Mr. Sanborn has created a work of complexity, ambiguity and mystery - as endlessly intriguing and unknowable as life itself.

  17. I hope it is never fully deciphered. The mystery should be as eternal as quantum physics.

  18. I solved it!!! It says, "Be sure to drink your ovaltine."

  19. @tnl Good one!