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encrypting the rubiayat: an introduction

Someone told me once that the Rubaiyat had enough words to accomodate any message. This was the fellow who held the opinion that the only means to understanding the Rubaiyat code was to have a replica copy of the book handy. He reckoned it was the only place to find the key.

Sounded fair enough we thought, so why not give it a try.

The scenario:

We have two men both on the shady side of life, one’s in jail for armed robbery and the other is his visitor and colleague. The visitor is named Potter. Potter is wary a copper’s hand on his collar and a frisk on the way out so the two lads have invented a system for passing information of a kind that might reward them both.

The prison has a library, the Rubaiyat amongst its books.

The jailed man covertly passes a slip of paper to his visitor.


I have an errand

Go to the Hunter tavern this evening at close,

take the cash and go.

This is what the message looks like.


Bend it any way you want.

Gordon Cramer's Q


For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,

I watch’d the Potter thumping his wet clay:

And with its all obliterated Tongue

It murmur’d – “Gently, Brother, gently pray!”


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