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The Dorabella Cipher (Top 10 Uncracked Codes)

The Dorabella Cipher

The Dorabella Cipher

Probably Elgar’s most popular work is his ‘Enigma’ Variations which, apart from its undoubted musical merit, still tantalises the musical detectives with the hidden ‘secrets’ which Elgar cleverly wove into the fabric of the score. But Elgar, who was fascinated by codes, ciphers, riddles and other forms of puzzles, has left us another mystery – the ‘Dorabella’ cipher (pictured above). One hundred and ten years ago – to be precise, on the 14 July 1897 – Elgar sent a letter to a young friend, Miss Dora Penny, the 22 year-old daughter of the Rev. Alfred Penny, Rector of St Peter’s, Wolverhampton. The unusual feature of the letter was that it was in a cipher which, a century later, still presents a challenge. There have been a couple of attempts at solving it but neither of these seem entirely satisfactory.