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Lost Symbol NYT Crossword

Last week the New York Times featured a crossword puzzle based on The Lost Symbol. You can now download that crossword as a PDF from the official Lost Symbol website. Test your knowledge of the book, and have some fun in the process - it's a good challenge. Thanks to Bill Gates for the heads-up.

Things that Dan Brown Missed

Just musing to myself about a few of the things that Dan Brown missed (or omitted, for unknown reasons) when writing The Lost Symbol. I thought of quite a few while reading the book, I should have written down a list. Here's a couple that I mention in The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol - I'll update it with more if/as I remember them:

  1. The phrase 'Laus Deo': Dan mentions how this phrase is written on the pyramidion of the Washington Monument, translating to 'Praise God'. What he doesn't elaborate on is that 'Laus Deo' is a phrase used in Scottish Rite Freemasonry. It forms part of the rituals and has also been inscribed on jewels of the Scottish Rite (see The Guide for an image).
  2. Edgar Mitchell: Dan Brown explains the strange research and history of the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS), but for some reason omits one of the more fascinating aspects of IONS - it was created by Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell after he had a mystical experience while returning from the Moon. This seems perfect material for Dan Brown to elaborate on in TLS - why didn't he use it (did his research miss this fact)? And, to double the Apollo interest factor in TLS: Edgar Mitchell founded IONS, and another Apollo astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, is a 33° Scottish Rite Mason - Aldrin even took a handmade Scottish Rite flag to the Moon on his famous mission with Neil Armstrong.

Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

Dan Brown and the New New Age

Boing Boing recently featured an article on Dan Brown from Arthur Goldway, author of Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies:

No one has ever accused Dan Brown of being a literary stylist; he's too easy to parody. His narrators natter on like chatty tour guides, bludgeoning us with trivia and heavy-handed exposition. His hero Robert Langdon seems to suffer from a testosterone deficiency; his celibate bad guys, with their bulging muscles and self-mortified flesh, are creepily fetishized. But ANGELS AND DEMONS, THE DA VINCI CODE, and now THE LOST SYMBOL do more than merely lead their legions of readers on merry chases; they exhort them to reconsider their world view. Though the answers he provides may be trivial and sometimes historically inaccurate, the questions Brown asks us to consider are worth pondering. Does the church misrepresent Christianity? Is history filled with mysteries and intrigues that mainstream chronicles elide? Are science and religion converging?

Brown earnestly wants us to expand our view of human potential, to open ourselves up to a whole new paradigm--one that is more capacious and filled with possibilities than either secular scientism or the traditional Judeo-Christian world view.

Some criticism in there mixed up with fascinating discussion about a number of the topics covered in The Lost Symbol. Intelligent stuff for the most part, and worth a read.

Location Map for The Lost Symbol

For those trying to visualize Dan Brown's route around Washington, D.C. in The Lost Symbol, here's a handy little map to show you where everything is at a glance. Click for a larger version (approx. 500kb):

Due to the scale of the map, a few of the less important landmarks aren't included. Perhaps might be worth assembling a set of Google Earth/Maps co-ordinates as well for those that want to fly about the city - feel free to post any location co-ordinates you may have yourself.

Free Download from Guide to The Lost Symbol

In addition to the article on the 'Lost Word' I mentioned last week, you can also read a full chapter from The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol right here on The Cryptex, as a free-to-download PDF in its original typeset format. Titled "Strange Constructions", this chapter takes a look at the sacred landscape and hidden history of Washington, D.C., and takes you deeper into many of the locations found in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

If you like the sample chapter, remember you can pick up the complete Guide to the Lost Symbol from for $9.95, or if in the United Kingdom from Amazon UK for £7.99. Available now.

The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

I'm happy to announce that my revised version of The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is available now from In the Guide I cover everything from the beginnings of Freemasonry, the hidden history of America, the sacred landscape of Washington, D.C., Noetic Science, and the secret traditions which are at the heart of Robert Langdon's journey in The Lost Symbol.

You can read a chapter excerpt from the book over at The Daily Grail. The article deals with the concept of 'the Lost Word', and how Dan Brown has once again challenged 'orthodox religion' in his latest book by discussing this concept - although this time a little more surreptitiously than the Jesus-Magdalene thing! (Warning to those who haven't read The Lost Symbol yet: there are some minor plot spoilers.)

Tom Hanks: "I Hope They Ask Me"

With The Lost Symbol barely on bookshelves, Tom Hanks has let it be known that he is keen to once again play Robert Langdon in the next movie instalment:

just finished it last week. Page-turner. Dan Brown knows how to weave a tale. I was exhausted by the end of it... I'd love to if they're going to do it - I'm not going to walk away from that.... If they make it again, I hope they ask me. If they didn't, what did I do wrong?

Who would be the choices for the supporting actors? Morgan Freeman as Warren Bellamy perhaps, and Linda Hunt as Sato? What about Katherine and Peter Solomon, and Mal'akh?

Dan Brown Primetime Interview

NBC will tonight (Friday, Oct. 16) air Dan Brown's only prime-time interview, in a special feature titled "Secrets of The Lost Symbol":

In a rare and exclusive interview with NBC News' Matt Lauer, Dan Brown talks about his latest book, the power of the human mind and what he thinks this country should know about its founding fathers.

You can watch a preview here - will be interesting to see what DB has to say. Seems Matt Lauer is his man, with this latest feature coming on the heels of the pre-Lost Symbol release interviews with Lauer on the Today show.

Dan Brown Love Letter to Freemasons

Many Freemasons were mighty relieved when The Lost Symbol was released - for months they'd expected Dan Brown to portray the Craft in a negative light. Instead, the novel was a big love-in - a fact that surprised many people, including Maureen Dowd (in the New York Times).

If Brown's admiration for the Brotherhood wasn't overt enough in the pages of his latest novel, now comes a letter he wrote to the Scottish Rite in Washington, D.C. Asked to speak at a meeting of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction (they of the 'House of the Temple' in D.C.), DB couldn't appear in person, but did offer these words (h/t/ to Chris Hodapp's Freemasonry for Dummies blog:

Guests of the Southern Jurisdiction,

It is my great honor to be invited to greet you via this letter. I had hoped I might be able to join you in person tonight, but the launch of my novel The Lost Symbol has me far from Washington.

In the past few weeks, as you might imagine, I have been repeatedly asked what attracted me to the Masons so strongly as to make it a central point of my new book. My reply is always the same: "In a world where men do battle over whose definition of God is most accurate, I cannot adequately express the deep respect and admiration I feel toward an organization in which men of differing faiths are able to ‘break bread together’ in a bond of brotherhood, friendship, and camaraderie."

Please accept my humble thanks for the noble example you set for humankind. It is my sincere hope that the Masonic community recognizes The Lost Symbol for what it truly is…an earnest attempt to reverentially explore the history and beauty of Masonic Philosophy.

Yours sincerely,
Dan Brown

Wonder if they'll make it official one day...

Brownian News Round-up #2

Again, apologies for not being able to post too much lately. Here's a selection of Dan Brown-related links that are worth checking out:

Almost cleared my schedule, so hopefully I'll be around more in coming weeks.

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