Break the Code: Alphanumeric Codes!

Ministry of Magic

Let’s have another try at code breaking.  Last time we figured out the words above the Mirror of Erised (Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi).

Today we are going to discover what the number 6—2—4—4—2 means.  These are the numbers Mr. Weasley dials when they go to Harry’s trial in the Order of the Phoenix—and the number Harry later uses to get in to the Ministry of Magic with his friends to rescue Sirius.

To get into the Ministry of Magic for Harry’s trial, Mr. Weasley takes Harry to the visitor’s entrance, which is “an old red telephone box, which was missing several panes of glass.”  (OP 125)   Mr. Weasley reaches over Harry and dials in “six . . . two . . . four . . . and another four . . . and another two . . .” (125).  It works and Harry and Mr. Weasley gain entrance to the Ministry of Magic!  (126)

And later on, when Harry flies to the Ministry of Magic with his friends on the thestrals, they land at the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic (767). All six rescuers squeeze into the telephone box and enter the code Harry remembers the number (62442) and Ron, at Harry’s direction, has him dial in the number.  A friendly sounding female voice asks them to state their names and purpose, and badges arrive stating their names and the purpose of their visit, and after doing so they are allowed to enter (768).

So, what do the numbers mean?

Time for code breaking!

ANALYSIS: Why 62442? Time to use logic! Let’s first try assigning letters of the alphabet to the numbers: 1 being A, 2 being B, and so on. Do we get anything?

A B C D E

1 2 3 4 5

6        F

2        B

4        D

4        D

2        B

 

Applying 62442, we get F B D D B. Not much there.

Let’s think some more. Any ideas?

Let’s apply situational analysis. Where are they?

At the visitor’s entrance. Yes, yes. But what are they physically in?

A phone booth! Very good!

So what do you think?

Any thoughts on how to break the code?

Phone numbers, you say? But phone numbers usually have seven numbers, like 555–5555.

What’s that? Oh! You want to apply the letters that are on each number key on the phone itself! Sure, that makes sense!

Any readers out there who have texted someone by using the numeric keys?

Let’s add to our list the letters assigned to each number:

6        M N O

2        A B C

4        G H I

4        G H I

2        A B C

See anything?

6        M N O

2        A B C

4        G H I

4        G H I

2        A B C

 

MAGIC!

Isn’t this great? J. K. Rowling never tells us how to break the code, but by using logic we can decode the password for the Ministry of Magic visitor’s entrance!

Code breaking, you see, is very much like magic!

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