Code Breakers – Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition, Saturday April 6, 2023

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Welcome to Hashtag Trending The Weekend Edition. I’m your host, Jim Love

When I was a kid, I was a bit of a loner. Big shock, right? Yeah. Nothing made me happier than sitting there reading a book or, or something that grabbed me. My, my favorite reading? Mysteries. My favorite character? Sherlock Holmes.

The way he could solve a puzzle.  I loved, Puzzles. I love mysteries. I loved word puzzles.  Oh, I’m one of those kids who thought that the secret decoder ring from Roger Ramjet was just the greatest thing in the world. And I even tried learning Morse code so I could try to decipher the sounds I heard on this old multiband radio that I had found and repaired remarkably without killing myself.

Although to this day, I still know what a ground wire is. Now, later I would sell papers on Saturdays down by the Kresge’s in Port Arthur for the News Chronicle. And I would keep one of the papers so I could read Ann Landers, our version of Dear Abby in Canada the advice columnist, the double sets of funnies, one inside the paper and the other color comics.

And then there was this thing called the book. The cryptogram.  It was an encrypted message you had to solve. Now forget the crossword. The cryptogram  was the work of real detectives. So I had to learn the frequency of letters. And this is, there’s no internet at this point. I’m going to the library for books.

I learned what the likely positions of letters were, where they weren’t. And slowly I learned to crack these messages. Now,  they were nothing special when you cracked them, but as a kid, the satisfaction of breaking a code, that was it. Now, later, as I got older, the radio spent more time on a Chicago radio station that played rock and roll songs before they  made their way to our backwoods.

And the code breaking went away. Decades later, I actually enrolled at a course in linguistics. And it all came back.  In my adult life still read mysteries. I love them. But the ones with codes to crack still keep me engrossed. The Name of the Rose, the Da Vinci code. So when I got a note from the authors of this book called Code Breaking, A Practical Guide.

I had to have them on the show. So welcome to my guests, Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh.

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