Plowing Cipher

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The Dune Encyclopedia
This article or section refers to elements that appear exclusively in The Dune Encyclopedia.

The Plowing Cipher was a concept described by Izhnaikas Bauf in The Great Cryptogram (10647 AG). Bauf discovered it in Harq al-Harba play Carthage and he claimed it was an evidence of al-Harba's identification as Farad'n Corrino:

The cipher worked as: Bauf would locate a passage in which the first letter of the first word was F (for Farad'n) and the first letter of the last word was O (for Corrino). Between these points, the first letter of any word could be selected, moving alternately along the lines from left to right and from right to left (hence the term "plowing"), skipping over words which did not contain the next needed letter. When the end of the passage was reached, Bauf proceeded back up to the top, and if necessary, back down again.

In reality, the Plowing Cipher is no cipher at all; with enough lines, any name can be extracted.


Bauf's example applied on ACT III, Scene ii, lines 235-47 of Carthage; bold letters spell 'Faradn' (up-down), red letters spell 'Corrino' (down-up).

From those moods conditioned by the chemistry

Ebbing and flowing is an amniotic sea,←

→ Pinocchio vaguely senses

A peristaltic barroom-boom-boom←

→ Yet, when he looks upward

At variable stars and spinning galaxies←

→ At comets and eclipses,

He fails to recognize←

→ That he's a bivalve on the tide-edge of the universe.

You must recall that I'm a Martian.←

→ Which is vastly different in space and time

From Denubians and the people of Al Minhar.←

→ We do not come as far to make our cruel observations.

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