Boustrophedonic cryptogram

Among the contents of Bloom's desk drawer described in Ithaca are three typewritten letters from Martha Clifford to Henry Flower, and, perhaps on a separate slip of paper, "the transliterated name and address of the addresser of the 3 letters in reversed alphabetic boustrophedonic punctated quadrilinear cryptogram (vowels suppressed)." The narrative reproduces Bloom's cryptic writing more or less (different editions vary slightly) as follows: "N. IGS. /WI. UU. OX/W. OKS. MH/Y. IM." Decoding the message is entertaining but not surprising, since the narrative has already disclosed its meaning: Martha's "name and address." And Bloom's effort to encode that information seems ludicrously unnecessary, given how difficult it would be to forget it—raising the question of whether he expects Molly to find the letters and wants her to track down the addresser's identity, or at least be teased by the possibility of doing so.

John Hunt 2021

The reverse alphabet cryptocram. Source:

Some boustrophedonic writing in English. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

2009 photograph by PRA of part of a 5th century BC boustrophedonic inscription from the agora of Gortyn in Crete. Source: Wikimedia Commons.