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Ancient Cryptography » Ancient Texts » Edward Elgar's Dorabella Cipher » Dorabella

Author Topic: Dorabella  (Read 3784 times)

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escher7

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Dorabella
« on: November 11, 2011, 04:14:41 PM »
I am not sure if anyone looks at this cypher anymore based on the last post date.

I believe that all the long winded attempts at solving this cypher have overcomplicated a fairly simple monoalphabetic cypher. I used the Jones translation of the symbols, (BPECA etc.) and then ran a frequency comparison. The standard freq. distribution I used is a bit different than most and yielded a plethora of obvious words. I have shifted 3 sets of letters (with roughly the same frequencies) so far and seem to be pretty close. As with others, the English usage is giving me some problems, but I feel pretty confident. The sentences that reveal themselves are not painful grasps at meaning, but based on either straight forward words, or fairly frequent backwards  words with the occasional doubling of letters, for which Elgar was known.

The first sentence says simply: "I am sad, be well. The letter then appears to say some intimate things about wishing he were able to be near Dora. It ends with AOMA, which quite likely translates as "all of my affection". If I am on the right track it appears he was more intimate with Dora than most historians think. This would explain why neither he nor Dora were anxious to tell anyone how to translate it.  Bottom line is that if he expected her to decypher it, it must be simple.

I'll have to see if I can complete the tough parts.

Aaron

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Re: Dorabella
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 07:11:00 PM »
Good luck!! Let us know what turns up. This is actually the cipher that inspired me to start the SIG; I spent several days trying to make my own sense out of it.

escher7

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Re: Dorabella
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 07:39:01 PM »
Published this on the other Thread by accident. have put it here as well.

I am 95% certain that I have it. Half of my plaintext jumps right off the page, requiring no interpretation other than the odd reversal of a word and a few last letters in a word moved to the front. I have one brief phrase that is driving me nuts, but the rest is done. The letter tells Dora how sad EE is and goes on to comment on how he is aging. There are then two sentences saying "you know I am forever fond of you" and that he is writing "to the one I love". (Paraphrasing for now.)  As I suspected, it contains intimate thoughts that EE would not have wanted public. I have no doubt that he remembered and probably Dora knew how to crack it. I also want to see if there is a key of some kind.

I don't mean to be coy, but until it is 100% complete, I am holding on to it. I have written to the Elgar Society to see if they are still willing to award a prize. I would like to receive something other than a pat on the back for a month's work, (obsession).  Skepticism is expected as I can't believe I have done it either when so many others have tried, but I was lucky in picking a frequency table for comparison that so clearly gave me the answer that I knew it was correct. The main difficulty is with the vernacular and that is what is giving me trouble with the one phrase I don't have yet. It is tempting to see "Larks" and "hellcats" but EE really wasn't that obtuse. Still, he did mix things up and one has to be careful not to grab at words that aren't intended. As others have done, I read a great deal of background to acquire a feeling for the man's ways with words and that has aided me.

When I hear back (if) from the EE Society and when I finish the damn thing, I will publish it here for criticism. For all my confidence, others may see small corrections that have escaped me as a result of temporary blindness. Then again, I may be way off track.

I picked this forum at random, but it seems as good a place as any to publish.

Rick Henderson

Aaron

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Re: Dorabella
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 12:51:55 AM »
I'm glad to hear that there's no tortured wringing of meaning with your method, I doubt Elgar would have felt the need to make it that heavily encrypted in that day and age. After all, it wasn't like he was trying to evade the eyes of a government.

escher7

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Re: Dorabella Final??
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 01:21:21 AM »
I have it now. Last bit took me six or eight hours but I am sure. Now to see if I can make a quick buck before I submit it. (I'm poor these days or I would not be bothered). It's a pretty weird feeling.
Rick

Aaron

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Re: Dorabella
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 08:54:36 AM »
Don't keep us waiting too long! ;)

escher7

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Re: Dorabella
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 11:19:22 AM »
Aaron:  Weird - my browser (Maxthon) just decided that when I try to reply it would give me the page but not the box. Had to switch browsers. Love Maxthon but it can be a little glitchy.

Nothing from Elgar society yet. I also emailed the E. Museum and a couple of English universities with EE archives. No answer by Wednesday night I will post. Took a look at Yahoo Dorabella group and they are reading all kinds of complexity into this thing as well. I have had that problem in my life - too much education and always looking for the complicated answer. Einstein said something to the effect the only thing that stood in the way of his learning was education.

I have been looking for a key that Dora might have had for decoding the cypher. (Of course the frequency table is a form of key). Oddly enough the words: "E",  "Dora", "lv or luv" or luvs", and "in" are in some kind of order at the top of the freq table. Maybe I'm reaching but there is some kind of sequence there that  could be the key.

Re the two null letters I took out are, this is not unusual as I read that EE often did just that - used sentences without a letter or two.

Tonybaloney made much of words that appeared naturally in one of his letter combinations. In mine some of the natural words were "sad", "EE", "one", "ever", "belle", "am", "very", "lov", and more. By his analysis I must be doing OK. See you Wednesday.