Some unusual transit-themed street art has appeared around the city recently. Perhaps you’ve seen it? For example, I spotted this odd BART ticket (actually a sticker) a while back:
Today I stumbled across this unofficial ad at a Muni stop:
A little googling revealed that these are the works of “Nuni,” who apparently goes by @therealnuni on Instagram.
The street art clearly contains some kind of hidden messages, seemingly written in an alien language. Obviously I had to crack the code.
My “aha!” moment was when I remembered playing Commander Keen as a kid, deciphering the Standard Galactic Alphabet on a piece of paper as I went. The Nuni “cipher” works the same way: it’s English words written in a different alphabet.
Cracking it is only a matter of finding a few common words and applying your hangman and/or Wheel of Fortune expertise to work backwards to discover the whole alphabet. The first thing to decode is the word “Nuni” itself:
Many of the messages are exactly what you’d expect them to be. For example, what does it say on a BART ticket in the blue box at the top? Yup, that’s what the encoded message says too.
I’ve managed to crack 21 out of 26 letters in the alphabet so far. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but if you get stuck feel free to shoot me an email — my address is in the sidebar.