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CHAT: Calloway's Code

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 2, 2002, 15:56
kam@CARROT.CLARA.NET scripsit:

> There was a discussion > on the radio recently about all the "barbaric" contractions that the kids > use in their text messages, how English will never be the same again, > ... end of civilation as we know it ... etc. etc. etc. Strangely no one > saw the analogy with the abbreviations that an earlier generation had > used in telegrams/cables.
But that was never a mass phenomenon. I should also like to mention the O. Henry story "Calloway's Code" here, which got the news past censorship by an interesting open code involving conventional news-biz expressions. The encrypted cable was: Foregone preconcerted rash witching goes muffled rumour mine dark silent unfortunate richmond existing great hotly brute select mooted parlous beggars ye angel incontrovertible which decrypted to Conclusion arrangement act hour:of:midnight without:saying report hath:it host horse majority pedestrians in:the:field conditions white:way contested force few question times description correspondent unawares fact using the rule "Decrypt the first element of a newspaper cliche to the second element". A smooth translation: Concluded arrangement to act at hour of midnight without saying. Report has it that a large body of cavalry and an overwhelming force of infantry will be thrown into the field. Conditions white. Way contested by only a small force. Question the Times description. Its correspondent is unaware of the facts. The full story: -- John Cowan Please leave your values | Check your assumptions. In fact, at the front desk. | check your assumptions at the door. --sign in Paris hotel | --Miles Vorkosigan