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CIA Experts Still Spooked by Kryptos Puzzle

For 15 years, a bronze sculpture in the CIA's courtyard has taunted amateur and professional code-breakers alike. Kryptos is a copper wall that features four long coded passages. Cryptographers from the National Security Administration and the CIA have cracked the first three.

But it's been six years since anyone reported progress, and sculptor Jim Sanborn claims to be the only man alive who knows the solution. Meanwhile, thriller writer Dan Brown is stoking interest: The dust jacket for his The Da Vinci Code featured clues hinting at Kryptos's significance, and Brown has suggested his next novel may somehow feature it.

Around the world, fans of puzzles and codes are racing to solve Kryptos. A Yahoo discussion group devoted to the puzzle, now boasting 500 members, is growing.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.