## Anonymous Author

#### Problem

At school, Bill Speareshake was always the class dunce, but in recent years he has met great success as a poet and playwright. Many people believe that his equally recent involvement with people in high places is a mere coincidence, but others suspect that the real genius behind his works is none other than the esoteric figure Crispin Bacon. In fact, the skeptics believe that his latest masterpiece, in the form of a short poem, contains the identity of the true author.

a doZen, A grOsS, And a SCorE
pLUS 3 TIMES ThE squArE RooT of 4
DiViDED by 7
PLUS 5 Times 11
is 9 sqUareD, AnD NOT a BIT more

Can you solve the mystery?

#### Solution

The clue to solving this was in the pretext, as it is based on one of Francis Bacon's famous cipher systems. We begin by splitting the text into blocks of five and removing spaces and punctuation. We then replace normal characters with zeroes and large characters with ones, to form binary strings. A brief introduction to binary strings can be found in the Code Breaking Library. Alternatively you could do a search for more in-depth information on decimal/binary conversion on the internet, decimal binary conversion (Google search link). The binary strings are converted into decimal numbers and these represent the alphabetical position of the letters that form the secret message.

 adoZe 00010 2 B nAgrO 01001 9 I sSAnd 01100 12 L aSCor 01100 12 L EpLUS 10111 23 W 3TIME 01111 15 O SThEs 11010 26 Z quArE 00101 5 E RooTo 10010 18 R f4DiV 00101 5 E iDEDb 01110 14 N y7PLU 01111 15 O S5Tim 10100 20 T es11i 00010 2 B s9sqU 00001 1 A areDA 00011 3 C nDNOT 01111 15 O aBITm 01110 14 N ore

The secret message reading as, BILL WOZ ERE NOT BACON.

Some people believe that Lord Francis Bacon was the real author of the works of William Shakespeare and the debate will continue, I'm sure, without resolve. There are compelling arguments on both sides, with each camp claiming that only a fool would believe the contrary. A search on the internet with the keywords: baconian shakespeare (Google search link), will produce numerous documents discussing this issue.

Problem ID: 3 (Aug 2000)     Difficulty: 3 Star

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