Education: Scrambled Ciphers & Bacon

Besides the many scholars and crackpots who have used historical clues to show that someone else—usually Sir Francis Bacon—must have written Shakespeare's plays, scores have turned to cryptology to prove that the Bard's words were in a kind of cipher that concealed messages from their true author. Last week, in a new book called The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined (Cambridge University; $5), U.S. Cryptologists William and Elizebeth Friedman gave evidence that should discredit these investigators once and for all. The Friedmans' credentials are impressive: William led the team that broke the Japanese "purple" code...

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