As mentioned previously, this week the Today Show is giving clues to the content of The Lost Symbol - head to their 'Search for The Lost Symbol' page to view video from the show each day. Here's the summaries (** Spoilers follow, don't read on if you want to solve the puzzles yourself **):
** Please beware when searching for answers to the clues: a nasty group of individuals are hijacking search results to direct people to websites with malware, trying to infect people's computers. Take security measures! **
- On Tuesday Today introduced the book, talking to the book's publishers and editors (sounds like my Guide to the Lost Symbol and David Shugarts Secrets of the Widow's Son put Brown's editor Jason Kaufman out a bit...).
- On Wednesday morning (Clue #1) Matt Lauer visited one of the locations used in the book - a research facility devoted to dead animals, and apparently known under the nickname 'The Death Star', "one of the world's most advanced scientific research facilities". In the 'Wetpod', an area for marine animals, Lauer says one of the animals housed there is "involved in a pivotal moment in the book", a scene which will "haunt you for a long time to come"...the facility is a "big part of the book". The answer to where Matt was is the Smithsonian Institute's Museum Support Center in Maryland - view here for a map. (Solution was first posted on Twitter by master puzzle-solver @bgates87, links are courtesy of his research) **Note: Be careful not to be caught by this Malware attack being linked to 'Death Star' internet searches**
- Thursday morning's clue (#2) found Matt walking through a tropical forest. In addition, three anagrams were offered on the Today website: "CHOROID HUES, PERVADING REALM, ANTIPODAL PAN TAT". Using an anagram solver we would suggest solutions of "Orchid House, Primeval Garden, Plant Adaptation" (there are other options, e.g. 'Primeval Danger', but these seem likely candidates given they are related and high-ranking results...to test, put the answers in the Anagram solver and work in reverse to see how they are high-ranking). Doing a search of these topics, including "Washington" in the search, then suggests the U.S. Botanic Gardens, with its conservatory directly to the south-west of the Capitol building - and which has areas known as the 'Orchid House', the 'Garden Primeval', and also a 'Plant Adaptations' space. Looks like we have a winner. The plant Matt references is probably the "travelers palm". (Malware warning: Search results for "Traveler's Tree" are loaded with nasty websites trying to infect your computer with malware)
- The next clue - which can be viewed early via Amazon (see the PDFs for download on their Lost Symbol page) - says "Houses the remains of this CONFEDERATE: CHOEPSLTGE". The capitalising of "CONFEDERATE" suggests this is a keyword, so using it in a keyed caesar the phrase CHOEPSLTGE deciphers to ALBERTPIKE. Albert Pike was a Confederate general who is very important to Scottish Rite Freemasonry - a topic sure to be covered in The Lost Symbol as its seal is on the front cover (see the articles "Codes on The Lost Symbol Cover" and "Dan Brown and the Ku Klux Klan for more information on these topics). Pike's remains are housed in the Scottish Rite 'House of the Temple' in Washington, D.C. - a perfect location for a Dan Brown story, and one which I predicted 5 years ago in my book!
- Monday morning's clue is a no-brainer - the structure is obviously the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The object hidden behind the curtain (an anagram of 'Contact for Heaven') is the 'Arc [sic] of the Covenant'. Now if you check out the background image on my Lost Symbol Twitter page, or read the sample chapter from my Guide to TLS, you'll find that I've already considered them as likely plot devices in The Lost Symbol.
Further updates will be made as they become available.