Smother'd in Surmise
— Edward de Vere — Epilogue

Mrs Gardener went on:

'Sometimes, you know, I do think that maybe we're going a little too far nowadays.  What with all our great discoveries and all the electrical waves there must be in the atmosphere, I do think it leads to a great deal of mental unrest, and I just feel that maybe the time has come for a new message to humanity.  I don't know, M. Poirot, if you've ever interested yourself in the prophecies from the Pyramids.'

'I have not,' said Poirot.

'Well, I do assure you that they're very, very interesting.  What with Moscow being exactly a thousand miles due north of – now what was it? – would it be Nineveh? – but anyway you take a circle and it just shows the most surprising things – and one can just see that there must have been special guidance, and that those ancient Egyptians couldn't have thought of what they did all by themselves.  And when you've gone into the theory of the numbers and their repetition, why it's all just so clear that I can't see how anyone can doubt the truth of it for a moment.'

Mrs Gardener paused triumphantly but neither Poirot nor Miss Emily Brewster felt moved to argue the point.

Poirot studied his white suede shoes ruefully.
Evil Under the Sun, Agatha Christie, 1941

If we wish to know the force of human genius we should read Shakespeare.  If we wish to know the insignificance of human learning we may study his commentators.
On the Ignorance of the Learned, William Hazlitt 1778 1830


In the Prologue, Drystone promised to resolve the paradox of the two irreconcilable but indisputably correct decryptions of the dedication to the Sonnets.  The explanation follows.

Consider the ingenuity of the Grand Encrypter.  Both contending parties have him laying clue within embedded clue.  Brenda James draws our attention to the strategy of decoding an anagram formed by the contents of a column to rearrange all rows in the grid and hence discover a further anagram, and this second anagram decodes to HENRY (BJ112).  Jonathan Bond, just when our minds are staggering with the seemingly "dazzling" multitude of interlocking clues, presents yet another hidden message – in Latin!

Each champion explains that his or her respective candidate had skills well above the normal; he could perform staggering feats of alphabetical profundity.  Bond speaks of the dedication as "a composition of ... complexity and brilliance". (JB87) The achievement, beyond my comprehension, I must accept – it is there before my eyes.  I tame my incredulity by remembering that Beethoven wrote nine symphonies (and of a host of other compositions), the majority of them while he was deaf, and The Brothers Karamazov represents only part of Dostoyevsky's total output.  I can accept that another mortal, be it Neville or de Vere, could have produced such an enigma as the dedication.

But wait.

Could not such a talent have constructed two sets of encryptions – one of 148 characters, one of 144 characters?  He, or she, could have done this for the sport of the thing – an exhibition of skill.  Targeting vaguely feasible candidates would have been part of the game.  Perhaps there are latent decryptions yet to be discovered pointing to other candidates.  Such decryptions would only serve to reinforce the Drystone hypothesis.

There you have it.  Drystone believes that James, Goding, Leyland and Bond are all correct with their pursuit of clues, in that they followed prepared paths.  But Drystone believes that neither Neville nor de Vere is the author of the Sonnets.  They were just prey for the Grand Encrypter.  The Grand Encrypter, anticipating debate, also provided the incidentals and red herrings for the amusement of critics such as Drystone.

grid 12 with RED HERRINGS highlighted

(Note: After looking over my work, I realize that my comment regarding "red herrings" in the previous paragraph might be interpreted figuratively.  That was not my intention; the RED HERRINGS are there literally.  Please refer to the adjacent "perfect rectangle" grid 12 for confirmation.)

Besides the mandatory 116, only one sonnet pointer appears in the decryption strategies of both teams (Neville DS26 and DS264, de Vere DS166) and that pointer leads us to the fourth sonnet:

For having traffic with thy self alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive.
Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?

Or colloquially expressed –

Working on your own
You deceive yourself in expecting to find anything here.
That said, when you are dead and gone,
What of note can you expect to leave?

To Edward de Vere Index
Mal Haysom    initial posting 22/06/2011     last update October 16, 2016