April 24, 1912
It Costs the Newspapermen
$100 To Learn They're Stung
The joke is on those wise New York newspapermen, and it cost them just $100 to find it out. One of the enterprising journals of the metropolis dispatched a tug to meet the liner Carpathia as it neared New York with survivors of the wrecked Titanic.
On its way the press boat caught this wireless code message directed at Carpathia:
"If any rurhuman alegroness pessimabe herkeluaur buauing nbonrd claiming have alforjin from me ospiinylle false overgordel to orbing with all compnrsero consistent with procedidng nestilvitas minde sinturnus ipsuillees modify entedrntess and eninbindo procedure and ditifico egogue enerveinis or enerveront.
Scenting mystery, the newspaper promptly printed the dispatch and offered $100 reward for a correct translation. Manager Sumner of the Cunard Line, which owns the Carpathia, telephoned the paper to send a representative and $100 to him.
"I think I can translate the cipher,"he said,"as I wrote it myself."
Then he informed the paper that the message merely warned the Carpathia not to let any newspaper boats send reporters aboard, and ordered the Captain to rush to New York.
The joke was all the funnier when it came out that the press boat in question relayed the code message to the Carpathia, thus killing its own chances to board the rescue ship and interview survivors.