Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/28/da_vinci_decrypt/

Da Vinci Code judgment decoded

Judicial mischief spotlights naval glory

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Bootnotes, 28th April 2006 10:33 GMT

Disappointingly, the hidden message inserted by a High Court judge into his ruling on the Da Vinci Code copyright trial has already been solved. Mr Justice Peter Smith's code, reported yesterday, has been cracked by a London lawyer.

It reads:

Jackie Fisher, who are you? Dreadnought

Rather than a clue to the lizard conspiracy that probably permeates every level of the judiciary, Smith's message actually promotes his personal hero from British naval history, a long standing hobby interest.

John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher sailed the seven seas in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. He's considered a forgotten hero of naval history and is the Judge's pet admiral. Fisher was a big reformer and chairman of the committee that commissioned the groundbreaking battleship Dreadnought.

Smith used the Fibonacci Sequence, which appears in The Da Vinci Code to encrypt the historical nugget. Under the Fibonacci Sequence each number is the sum of the previous two numbers thus:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...

Some arithmetic gymnastics based in the sequence was used to rearrange the italicised letters in Smith's judgment to decrypt them.

Marvellously, Jackie Fisher is said to be the originator of the belligerent gem: "Never explain, never apologise." Smith apparently lives by this maxim. He told The Times: "It was for my own pleasure. The answer is nothing to do with the case." ®