However, Cragle on the Zodiac Killer Site forum made an astute observation regarding the Zodiac Killer's switch from describing his hidden messages as ciphers, to codes in the June 26th 1970 and July 26th 1970 letters. While not completely true, because the Zodiac Killer stated "By the way, are the police having a good time with the code?" on August 4th 1969, it does open up the broader point of the difference between codes and ciphers, which is effectively what Cragle was implying. Codes generally operate on semantics, while ciphers operate on syntax. A cipher is a system to make a word or message secret by changing or rearranging the letters in the message, whereas a code is a system of changing entire words or phrases into something else. Codes are not just secret messages, they can be any symbol or signal used to represent, or communicate, something else.
One could argue, that if the Zodiac Killer invested the time to construct a period nineteen cipher, then he was certainly aware that by creating the Z13 and Z32 codes of such brevity and variability, he was effectively creating an impossible task and any realistic possibility of a solution without ultimately providing a key to each code. The fact that the Mount Diablo code had 29 unique characters in a 32 character array, makes it practically unsolvable without that key, A key explaining these 29 unique characters in his remaining communications appears not to be the case. The Zodiac Killer stated that "the map coupled with the code will tell you where the bomb is set", so if we take this literally, then the Zodiac Killer by June 26th 1970 expected us to solve the 32 character code with nothing more than the Phillips 66 map he supplied alongside the letter. He did supply additional clues on July 26th 1970 in the form of "P.S. The Mt. Diablo code concerns Radians + # inches along the radians", but as of June 26th 1970 he fully expected us to decipher these 29 unique characters with nothing more than a map, lending credence to the notion that this encryption was designed as a code rather than a cipher. Finding corresponding alphabetical letters to 29 unique characters appears an unlikely proposition with the limited information he provided. A man with the patience to design the 340 cipher encryption must have known this.
Therefore, as Cragle intimated, we might be better rewarded by looking at the Z13 and Z32 codes through the lens of codes rather than ciphers. The search for words or phrases, in accompaniment to the limited clues he supplied, quite possibly a much more profitable avenue to go down. The solving of the 340 cipher has inevitably switched the focus of attention toward the remaining unbroken codes, with every effort being made to follow up on the success of Dave Oranchak, Sam Blake and Jarl Van Eycke. However, adopting an approach using cipher-type encryption may possibly lead to another 51 years of blind alleyways and false beliefs, scattered with the graveyards of "solved solutions" that never were.