Judge's code in Da Vinci verdict | india | Hindustan Times
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Judge's code in Da Vinci verdict

If you have finished cracking the ciphers in The Da Vinci Code and the reason behind Mona Lisa?s smile

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 12:50 IST
Vijay Dutt

If you have finished cracking the ciphers in The Da Vinci Code and the reason behind Mona Lisa’s smile, get ready for one more teaser. This time, the code is not inserted by Da Vinci or author Dan Brown, but by the British judge who pronounced the verdict that the best-selling novel was not plagiarised from a non-fiction.

Justice Peter Smith has apparently inserted italicised alphabets in the 71-page written judgment. Dan Tench, an English lawyer who was poring over the online version of the April 7 verdict, first thought they were typos. It begins on page one itself with “S” in the word “claimants” italicised.

As Tench put together the italicised letters on Wednesday, it read, “smithcodeJaeiextostpsacgreamqwfkadpmqz”. Gibberish? Look carefully. It starts with “smith code” playing on the judge’s name. It was not the typist’s mistake; it seems Justice Smith had just got into the spirit of things.

Smith’s move to hide a message in a formal high court judgment is said to be unprecedented in legal history. Though the judge was tight-lipped about the hullabaloo, he teasingly remarked, “I don’t see why a judgment should not be a matter of fun.” He added that he would “probably” confirm the code if someone broke it.

Code lovers are asked to take inspiration from codex, the alphabet-inspired, codebreaking device used in The Da Vinci Code.

The novel, which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, has many ciphers and symbols which the tweedwearing symbologist Robert Langdon and sleuth Sophie crack. A movie version, starring Tom Hanks, will be released on May 19.