Da Vinci judge's secret code revealed
Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:25 AM ET

By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - Mystery solved. It was the admiral.

A secret code embedded in the text of a court ruling in the case of Dan
Brown's bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" has been cracked, but far from
revealing an ancient conspiracy it is simply an obscure reference to a
Royal Navy admiral.

British High Court Justice Peter Smith, who handed down a ruling that
Brown had not plagiarized his book, had embedded his own secret message
in his judgment by italicizing letters scattered throughout the 71-page

In Brown's book, a secret code reveals an ancient conspiracy to hide
facts about Jesus Christ.

The judge's own code briefly caused a wave of amused speculation when it
was discovered by a lawyer this week, nearly a month after the ruling
was handed down.

But the lawyer, Dan Tench, cracked it after a day of puzzling. The
judge's code was based on the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical
progression discussed in the book.

"After much trial and error, we found a formula which fitted," wrote
Tench, who had nothing to do with the Brown case but discovered the
italicized letters when studying the ruling.

The judge's secret message was: "Jackie Fisher, who are you?
Dreadnought," Tench wrote in the Guardian newspaper.

Judge Smith is known as a navy buff, and Fisher was a Royal Navy admiral
who developed the idea for a giant battleship called the HMS Dreadnought
in the early 20th century.

Tench wrote that the judge had e-mailed him to confirm he had guessed
the secret code right.

The judge later confirmed the existence of the code, and revealed that
the Fibonacci sequence was indeed the secret to its solution.

"The message reveals a significant but now overlooked event that
occurred virtually 100 years to the day of the start of the trial," he
said in a statement.

He said that he is not normally much of a fan of puzzles, such as the
Japanese number puzzles that have become an obsession of the British press.

"The preparation of the Code took about 40 minutes and its insertion
another 40 minutes or so," he wrote. "I hate crosswords and do not do
Sudoku as I do not have the patience."

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