Julian Sanchez header image 0

photos by Lara Shipley

Solution to the Fringe Glyph Cipher

April 0th, 0009 · 019 Comments

glyphcodekey

Within the last week, two things happened: I finally got around to checking out the Fox show Fringe , the first season of which I noticed sitting tantalizingly in the Playstation Store, and my Ars colleague Erica Sadun wrote an article exploring all the delightful little Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the show. In particular she devotes some special attention to the so-called “glyph code”—a series of weird images flanked by glowing dots that appear as interstitial bumpers before commercial breaks. If I hadn’t been way nerdy for crypto before I started writing about the NSA habitually, that certainly pushed me over the edge, and I couldn’t resist taking a stab myself.

Now, here’s the part that pains me just a bit: Erica did a whole bunch of work that ultimately enabled me to crack the thing in a couple of minutes, but stopped just a hair short of the solution.  From where she left off, it’s actually incredibly simple once you make one crucial assumption.   Alas, there’s no deep dark mystery about the show’s arc concealed here, and the solution’s actually a bit anticlimactic, but it’s below the fold for those who are interested.

So the code is nothing fancy: It’s a simple one-to-one, monoalphabetic substitution cypher.  But it’s isolated words, not a sentence, so handy strings like “the” or “and” don’t recur.   Crucially, there are a couple of letters missing from Erica’s transcription of the pilot episode glyphs and possibly an extra glyph for episode 0, at least as compared with the list here . Also, it looks like there was a flub in the glyphs aired for episode 0.  Throw a couple errors into the mix and a dictionary attack on a  string of characters with no breaks becomes computationally infeasible. (If you want a reasonably quick result from your laptop, anyway.) But it’s trivial if you know where the word breaks are.

Well, by “trivial” I mean “trivial when someone else has already written a really solid algorithm for brute-forcing a ciphertext with a probability-weighted wordlist, and you can just use their code .” The “someone” in this case is UC Irvine computer science prof David Eppstein , whose program and dictionary made short work of the string I gave it despite several errors in that ciphertext. Basically, Eppstein and Erica Sadun did all the real work here,  and I combined the products of their efforts with a few minor tweaks. [ Update: And it strikes me I’m being sloppy here; “brute force” implies blindly running through possible keys and checking against a dictionary, which is emphatically not how Eppstein’s very elegant program works—the curious should just read his explanation .]

Sometimes the answers that seem too obvious are correct: Each episode yields a single word, in most cases relating to a central theme of the episode.  Glancing around the Internets, it looks like the key omission some other folks trying to solve it were making was a failure to take into account the orientation of the image and the position of the glowing dot that appears with each. If you don’t factor those in, of course, the cipher seems insoluble because you’re counting a whole series of distinct symbols as a single glyph. Anyway, the solutions for the episodes to date are:

0:  OBSERVER
2:  CHILD
3:  AEGER  [Latin for “sick”]
4:  ROGUE
5:  SURGG [should be SURGE?]
6:  CELLS
7:  CODES
8:  TAKEN
9:  VOICE
10: TRADE
11: SAVED
12: BISHOP
13: AVIAN
14: OLIVIA

For those who want to play along at home, that makes the letter-to-glyph assignment as below. Not all letters have been assigned glyphs yet, obviously.

A B C D E G H I K L N O P R S T U V W  X  Y  Z

Between cracking that and writing this post, I’ve probably given this an hour, which is really more than enough, but if someone wants to Photoshop those together into a translation grid for easy reference so people can transcribe the word for the episode as they watch, I’ll happily post it here. (Done! See update below.)

Eyeballing the incomplete key so far, there do seem to be some obvious glyph clusters, and I should note the possibility that solving the substitution cipher is only step one. Think, for instance, of those acrostic puzzles you sometimes see in the New York Times Magazine , where you fill in responses to a series of clues, then rearrange the letters into an adjacent grid to form a quotation. For purposes of cryptanalysis we can just treat each glyph as though it were a distinct letter chosen at random. But the glyphs actually have internal structure too. They’re a combination of three features: Image, orientation (i.e. each image has a mirror version) and one of (at least) three positions for those glowing dots. Cracking the cipher puts those symbols in a natural order; conceivably there’s some further puzzle to be solved by analysis of that series. Or possibly not… again, I’ve probably given this one too much energy for now, but others might want to give it a look.

Update: Dennis at FringeTelevision has gone ahead and gotten his Photoshop on , producing a lovely, suitable-for-framing key to the glyph cipher. Apparently there’s a new episode tonight, and while I’ll have to wait for it to show up in the PS3 store, those of you with advanced “receiver” technology for your TVs can print out a copy and see what the magic word of the day is:
glyphcodekey

You can get a bigger version at the link above, or another printer-friendly key from the folks at Fringe Podcast .

Tags: Art & Culture · Language and Literature · Random Cool Link


019 responses so far ↓

  • 0 Eduardo Martínez-Abarca // Jan 08, 0016 at 0:23 am

    And more secrets.
    In the 03th episode of season two, the molecule causing deaths, appears in the computer screen.
    Well, attached to the molecule, is the seahorse glyph.

  • 0 Eduardo Martínez-Abarca // Jan 08, 0016 at 0:30 am

  • 0 jessie367 // Mar 07, 0016 at 0:41 am

    0T7onh https://twitter.com/Healty_Pills

  • 0 Distractions et narration interactive #2 - Interactivité & Transmedia | Interactivité & Transmedia // Mar 07, 0016 at 01:25 am

    […] derrière les glyphes de la série Fringe aura longtemps entretenu les spéculations des fans avant d’être enfin percé. Un schéma similaire a été développé pour la saison 0 d’Hero Corp: des contenus additionnels […]

  • 0 steroids // Jun 0, 0016 at 02:52 pm

    …[Trackback]

    […]I am not positive the place you’re getting your information, but great topic.[…]

  • 0 qploanz // Oct 0, 0016 at 0:50 am

    …Websites you should visit

    […]you make blogging glance[…]

  • 0 malt // Dec 03, 0016 at 0:37 pm

    what does the hand with a dot on the right mean?
    end picture of episode 03 season 0

  • 0 Setcxqx // Jan 03, 0017 at 0:21 am

    дать взятку на москве дженерики силденафила цитрат сиалис левитра дать на лапу дженерики силденафила цитрат сиалис левитра софосбувир дженерик укупить дженерик левитра дать взятку нарыть дженерики по дешевой цене дженерик екатеринбург сметь не без; прилавка

    http://stoyak.men

  • 0 Setuhdx // Jan 03, 0017 at 0:14 am

    http://infoblog.win/

  • 00 Setywcg // Jan 08, 0017 at 02:41 am

    дать взятку даклатасвир дженерик софосбувир дженерик сметь из прилавка силденафила цитрат дженерики оторвать на москве сметь вместе с прилавка дешевые дженерики дженерики урвать рф дженерик левитра сметь не без; прилавка

    http://stoyak.men

  • 01 Setwajz // Jan 08, 0017 at 0:21 am

    http://impotenciinet.site/

  • 02 Setgkkv // Jan 08, 0017 at 0:11 am

    http://potenciaru.website

  • 03 Wetkmwq // Jan 08, 0017 at 0:03 am

    Praziquantel Dog Dosage Praziquantel Veterinary Use Praziquantel Jejum Praziquantel Vs Drontal Praziquantel Tapeworm Tabs For Dogs

    http://reviewmeds.site

  • 04 Weturbh // Jan 08, 0017 at 0:58 am

    erection pills headache erection pills reviews uk zeus erection pills erection pills walmart erection pills that actually work best erection enhancement pills erection pills for diabetes erection pills online india

    http://edtreatblog.site/

  • 05 Wetsmwj // Jan 08, 0017 at 0:48 am

    quality erection pills erection medication nz herbal erection pills nz erection pills over the counter uk erection pills chinese

    http://menshealthon.website

  • 06 Memtorc // Jan 08, 0017 at 00:40 am

    Pharmacy Guam Pharmacy Questions Pharmacy Glasgow Pharmacy Certification Pharmacy Innovations Pharmacy Zephyrhills Fl Pharmacy Act Pharmacy Mall Reviews Pharmacy Benefit Management
    hi!

  • 07 Setrpmy // Feb 01, 0017 at 0:09 am

    силденафила цитрат дженерики выкупить на москве дженерики урвать во москве Купить дженерики Купить дженерики дженерики оторвать во спб сиалис дженерики сметь дженерики сметь вместе с прилавка рф

    http://stoyak.men

  • 08 Setnjpi // Feb 01, 0017 at 0:58 am

    http://infoblog.win/

  • 09 ShaneLooft // Feb 03, 0017 at 0:03 pm

    Большинство проблем для сайтах вместе с невысокой посещаемостью не запрещается определить следовать час-два равно поломать после неделю.

    Задачи которые моя особа предлагаю решить:

    -Диагностировать равно как продвигает сайт ваш SEO спецушник равно разобрать его компетентность?
    -Найду ошибки допущенные сначала да построю программу по части исправлению ситуации.
    -Продемонстрирую по образу ревизовать работу SEO эксперта.

    Хотите вызвать SEO мастера?

    -Проведу разговор потенциальногоSEO специалиста. Разберу до каким критериям исчислять его уровень.
    – Опишем различия в ряду нанятым во кадры SEO, делегированном SEO равным образом раскрутке сайтов личными средствами.

    Планируете своими силами продвинуть имеющийся сайт. Расскажу безвыездно про продвижения, затем консультирования вас достанет понятно:

    -Как несть хорэ быть достойным ваш сайт
    -Как до второго пришествия не грех бросьте его продвигать так чтобы достигнуть топов
    -Из каких шагов формируется само продвижение, во целом проанализируем кажинный с них.
    -Проанализируем по части какой-никакой причине далеко не нужно делать приложение из чего услугами фирм, оказывающих наличность услуг по мнению SEO

    Планируете разработать веб-сайт да образовать его продвижение?

    -Расскажу а тоже продемонстрирую по образу запроектировать максимально бюджетный да эпохальный модификация интернет-сайта.
    -Насколько большим alias сложным принуждён являться ваш интимный сайт в надежде образовывать конкуренцию во топе.
    -Как бессчетно вкладывают ваши конкуренты на продвижение.
    -До какой-нибудь степени положительно забраться во топы от вашим веб-сайтом равным образом со вашим бюджетом.

    Решили прознать окупится ли консультация?

    Позвоните до телефону либо во скайп – ваш покорнейший слуга отвечу в любые проблемы касающиеся SEO равно предполагаемого интернет-сайта.

    Любые вопросы – сделайте звонок +7(921)9114848 alias согласно скайпу admin1.ru
    Часовая инжиниринг объединение стоимости 0тыс руб, дозволяется визирование договора равно расплата возьми предполагаемый счет.
    Оказываю бесплатные консультации после рекомендации (так пример у подавляющего большинства интернет-проектов проблему приметно на деле сразу)

    acol7wns24

Leave a Comment

eishita1977.xsl.pt serubiko1987.xsl.pt taitei1974.xsl.pt toinishi1975.xsl.pt rushikie1983.xsl.pt главная rss sitemap html link