Anorak News | Countdown Conundrum

Countdown Conundrum

by | 12th, May 2004

‘HOW different the outcome of World War II would have been had Neville Chamberlain not heeded Winston Churchill’s demand and stepped down is impossible to say.

Veteran codebreaker Carol Vorderman

One thing, however, is certain and that is that the war would have been prolonged had it not been for the achievements of the Allied code-breaking facility at Bletchley Park.

Now veteran boffins are putting on their thinking caps once again and trying to solve a cryptic inscription on an 18th Century monument in the grounds of Lord Lichfield’s Staffordshire estate.

The inscription reads Et in Arcadia ego (And I am in Arcadia too), above the letters O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V., beneath which are carved a D and an M.

The Guardian says the inscription, hoped by some to be the secret of the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, has exercised the minds of theologians, historians and scientists for the past 250 years.

Yesterday, a group of veteran codebreakers from Bletchley Park arrived at Shugborough House to try their hand.

Oliver Lawn, aged 85, said it was the most challenging puzzle of its type he had been asked to solve.

‘I think you need classical knowledge as well as ingenuity,’ he said. ‘This is a language rather than a mathematical code.’

Or a very good 250-year-old practical joke…’

Posted: 12th, May 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink