Article Title

Ivan's Letter (Part 1)


Erik Bodin


The following cipher puzzle appeared in the May 1930 issue of The Enigma, the official publication of the National Puzzlers League. Erik Bodin offered a $10 to the first person to discover the secret message in Ivan's letter, hinting only that the letter encoded "the name of a point to be attacked, the date of the attack, and the troops involved". The cipher is unquestionably difficult; according to a brief not in the October 1930 Enigma, no one ever solved the puzzle. In the original article, the letter is presented in handwritten form; the slightly modified typewritten version given below preserves (and, in fact, makes somewhat easier to detect) the hidden message. The second half of the article, giving the solution to the cipher, will appear in the next issue of Word Ways.