The one thing we can confidently state about the Zodiac Killer was his propensity to engage with the newspapers when prompted. This was demonstrated throughout his letter-writing campaign, but particularly evident when he responded to Jack E. Stiltz on August 4th 1969 and Chief of Police Martin Lee on November 9th 1969. This was clearly a tactic of the police to engage the Zodiac Killer in communication rather than murder and hopefully ascertain more knowledge of their nemesis through his wording. This was exemplified by Dr. D.C.B. Marsh on October 22nd 1969, when an article entitled Cipher Expert Dares Zodiac to Tell Name was presented to the Zodiac Killer through the San Francisco Examiner, explicitly aimed at prodding his ego. It was hoped that the murderer of five would take up the challenge rather than shy away from the dare or produce something meaningless in response.
Many people have stated that the 408 Cipher was not the hardest cryptogram to solve, despite the fact that many claiming it was an easy cipher could not have cracked it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What the 408 Cipher told us, whether the Zodiac Killer just read a book or manual on cipher-solving, is that he had enough knowledge to comprehend that a code comprising of 13 characters was incapable of supplying a provable solution without a key. In other words, if you cannot prove the origin and voracity of the key, anything you produce will fail to meet a burden of proof. The composition and structure of the article below was likely designed to play on the narcissistic traits of the Zodiac Killer and encourage him, at least in part, to rise to the challenge. Responding to the dare in the San Francisco Examiner with absolutely nothing but 13 meaningless characters and no answer whatsoever, is a rather pointless exercise - and could be construed as a failure on Zodiac's part.
The newspaper article pressed the Zodiac Killer no less than four times, implying to do so would lead to his capture under the guise of dare, truth and honesty. I sincerely doubt anybody expected the Bay Area murderer to supply us his full name in the code, to which he would later supply the key or answer. Therefore, the question is, how could the Zodiac satisfy the challenge without giving us his forename and surname? The simple answer is, he could supply us his initials without any fear it would jeopardize his freedom. The important quote in the article is "Zodiac has not done this, because to tell the complete truth in relation to his name - in cipher code - would lead to his capture". Dr. D.C.B. Marsh must have known that a Zodiac Killer providing something 'in relation to his name', left the door open to the murderer supplying us his initials. Six months later, the Zodiac Killer opened his April 20th 1970 communication with "This is the Zodiac speaking. By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you. My name is...."
The Zodiac Killer knew that a code of 13 was unsolvable, which is why he would eventually give us the answer in a later communication in 1970. The prompt was "Zodiac has not done this, because to tell the complete truth in relation to his name - in cipher code - would lead to his capture". The answer was "This is the Zodiac speaking. By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you. My name is Fk, I'm crackproof". In other words, my initials are FK and you can't solve the last cipher I sent you because I'm crackproof - although I've held my end of the bargain by supplying something in relation to my name. The Zodiac Killer satisfies his ego and the challenge by Dr. D.C.B. Marsh and the San Francisco Examiner. The answer was supplied in the October 5th 1970 '13 Hole' Postcard - but would we recognise it when we saw it?
The end of the Little List Letter read "PS. The Mt. Diablo Code concerns Radians and # inches along the radians". The Z32 was the easiest code to crack because the Zodiac Killer just gave us the answer above - the code concerned "Radians and inches along the radians". Why make it any more complicated than it has to be? A code of 29 unique symbols within a total of 32 characters is simply not solvable without a key - and there is insufficient wording on the 13 Hole Postcard, Halloween Card or Los Angeles Letter written in plain English to formulate any such key. The Z32 is even worse than giving us the English alphabet of 26 letters, replacing M with A, W with B and H with C and saying "now solve it". There is no transposition key present in the remaining three communications from October 5th 1970 to March 13th 1971, so if the Zodiac Killer was to be consistent in his inability to resist revealing his deeds, then the only realistic alternative is he gave us all the answers instead.
The symbol # is most commonly known as the number sign, The symbol is described as the "number" character in an 1853 treatise on bookkeeping, and its double meaning is described in a bookkeeping text from 1880. The instruction manual of the Blickensderfer model 5 typewriter (c. 1896) appears to refer to the symbol as the "number mark". Some early-20th-century U.S. sources refer to it as the "number sign", although this could also refer to the numero sign. A 1917 manual distinguishes between two uses of the sign: "number (written before a figure)"; and "pounds (written after a figure)". Mainstream use in the United States is as follows: when it prefixes a number, it is read as "number", as in "a #2 pencil" (indicating "a number-two pencil"). The one exception is with the # key on a phone, which is always referred to as the "pound key" or "pound". Thus instructions to dial an extension such as #77 are always read as "pound seven seven". Wikipedia.
The Zodiac Killer by use of an arrow pointer underneath the hashtag, was telling us to replace the hashtag with a number value. The Mount Diablo map scale was 6.4 miles to the inch, so it is probably unsurprising that the "Mt Diablo code would concern inches". In this instance, I have placed the number 5 into place, giving us the answer to the code of "Radians and 5 inches along the radians" (which is 32 letters in length). The reason for 5 inches is self explanatory, because 4 or 6 inches from Mount Diablo to San Francisco would fall into the sea on the east and west side. The San Francisco element will be covered shortly. The Zodiac Killer also gave us a second set of crosshairs (shown below).
All Zodiac's bomb threats were focused towards the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Police Department, so placing this bomb location alongside the acronym SFPD should tell us that the threat was most likely focused toward a police station. By another massive stroke of luck, when we travel 4 radians and 5 inches from Mount Diablo, the target area for the bomb lies right by Ingleside Police Station. Allowing for a degree of flexibility of less than 1%, by the Zodiac Killer rounding off his radians and inches, along with the black circle diameter, no other San Francisco police station comes close. However, we need to find a location where a school bus would be traveling from north to south (with the sun to the east), that has an embankment on the right side (as displayed on the April 20th 1970 bomb diagram), with easy and covert access to that embankment, and within a few hundred feet from Ingleside Police Station. The Zodiac Killer certainly wouldn't have wanted to attract attention by parking on the road itself, but by accessing the incline from a secondary location - likely at the top of the embankment - he could achieve this task in relative anonymity. Fortunately for us, that location sits only 230 feet from Ingleside Police Station. The perfect location for the Zodiac Killer to target a school bus and thumb his nose at the San Francisco Police Department, with covert access to the top of the embankment via the car park of San Francisco City College.
On January 29th 1970, the Yellow Cab Company put up a thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest of the Zodiac Killer. In addition, the Teamsters Union which represents the Yellow Cab Company were reported in the San Francisco Chronicle to be considering offering a further reward on February 8th 1970 in the case of Paul Stine and Charles Jarman (another taxicab murder victim). The April 20th 1970 letter gave us the code and was immediately followed by "I am mildly cerous as to how much money you have on my head now". The October 5th 1970 postcard gave us the possible solution of "Fk, I'm crackproof" and was immediately followed by "What is the price tag now". These are the only two communications in which the Zodiac Killer asked the police the price of his capture. These two communications not only had a code and an answer that fitted the code, but both were followed by the exact same question. When the Zodiac Killer was designing his 13 Hole Postcard, it is very likely he had at his disposal a copy of his original April 20th 1970 letter, or the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper cutting below, to which he was now supplying the answer. This may have been the trigger that influenced him to repeat the phrase "how much money you have on my head now" into the very similar "What is the price tag now". The Zodiac Killer, in essence, had inadvertently bound both communications together through phraseology, as well as code and solution.
The Zodiac Killer introduction would now give us his name (albeit his initials) in absence of his full name. It would also read fluently as a sentence, as follows: "This is the Zodiac speaking. By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you? My name is Fk, I'm crackproof". Nobody realistically believed he was going to supply his full name, but this way he satisfies the promise in a restricted format. Two communications mailed nearly six months apart, with a solution that satisfies the code, as well as a satisfactory introduction to the code - and both followed by the same question.
The three 8's (representing Jesus Christ in gematria), along with the number 8 which symbolizes a new beginning, actually begins each element of the phrase Fk I'm crackproof. In addition, when we begin the phrase on the first 8, it fits perfectly around the existing K and M already present in the code and thereby creating a cyclical format, where the code ends and begins with the same letter. The Little List Letter provided the solution to the Button Letter and Mount Diablo code that preceded it. His next communication, the 13 Hole Postcard, provided the solution to the 13 Symbol Cipher before that, and finally the Halloween Card provided the solution to the 340 cipher. Three chronological solves to the three previous ciphers - and the only thing we had to add was the number "5", for which he inserted the hashtag and arrow. Why look for convoluted and excessively complicated solutions to these ciphers, when the Zodiac Killer gave us all the answers literally word for word.
The Zodiac Killer's 408 Cipher was effectively a written message that he enciphered into characters. When you take a look at the decoded message, it isn't structured and organized - because one line or row bleeds into the following. The Zodiac Killer didn't contain his words within the confines of one row. For example, when he opened the cipher with "I like killing people", the letter E is positioned at the beginning of the second row. This randomness is not displayed in the answers to his remaining six unsolved portions of code. The answer to the 18 unsolved characters, the 340 Cipher, the two Fairfield letters, the 13 Symbol Cipher and the 32 Symbol Cipher are all organized and deliberately structured, where every single solution and word is contained within each line - and do not leak from one row to another. Let us take a look at the 13 Symbol Cipher that exhibits symmetry within its design.
The 32 Symbol Cipher also adhered to a solution where no word bled from one row to another. The 32 Symbol Cipher contained two rows of 17 and 15 characters - obviously created this way for a purpose. When we discovered that the number 5 was to be inserted into the cipher using the arrow and hashtag, the answer of Radians and 5 inches along the radians again fell perfectly into the 32 Symbol Cipher with no word extending from one line to another. You will notice that when the Zodiac Killer provided us with the answer in the July 26th 1970 Little List Letter, he self-contained the answer on a separate line, with the first Radians beginning with a capital letter. This was the beginning of the code solution.
"PS. The Mt. Diablo Code concerns Radians and # inches along the radians" was in fact Radians and 5 inches along the radians. When this is placed into the 32 Symbol Cipher, you will notice that once again it retains separation, with "inches" ending line one, and "along" beginning line two. Each word is contained within the line. This organization and structure flies in the face of the solved portion of the 408 Cipher and implies a deliberate and calculated design. But we need to take it even further.
Initially, the Zodiac Killer had intended to leave 12 characters at the base of the 408 Cipher, but his accidental omission of the word "people" when he encoded his message, inadvertently left him with 18 unsolved characters. However, this was of no consequence - it was an easy adjustment. You will notice again, that the unsolved 18 characters are split into an ungainly 1 and 17 configuration. If we are to hold true to single words not bleeding from one line to another, then the single character must stand for I or A. We know that the Zodiac Killer was an egotist, beginning the 408 Cipher with "I like killing people because it is so much fun". He also began two of the July 31st letters with "I am the killer". So it wouldn't be any great leap of faith to believe that the isolated singular character on line 23 was "I". Coupling the "Zodiac" with "I am the killer" to produce "I am the Zodiac Killer" satisfies his declaration of identity and the 18 characters at the base of the 408 Cipher. We again have used only the words written by the Zodiac Killer - and no word extends from one line to another. The third of code containing his identity was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, which is why he began that introduction with "This is the murderer". He was reserving "I am the Zodiac Killer" for the base of the 408 Cipher.
We now have six unsolved portions of code answered, using only the words written by the Zodiac Killer in a total of four communications. Every single answer was organized and structured to remain within each row, line and column with no manipulation whatsoever. We can wait another 50 years for these codes to be "solved" - or believe they were all answered by October 27th 1970 from the pen of the Zodiac Killer.