And the winner is...
Alas, the time has come to end the "cryptic message" Bookmooch contest. Eleven participants came up with correctly coded responses. They were (in order of qualifying comments):
peter (South Korea)
Aline M (Norway)
Jon Maloney (USA:SC)
GarethM (United Kingdom)
autumnrose (2-for-1) (Canada)
The solution of the puzzle is as follows:
1. As mentioned in the paragraph, there are two hidden messages. The first is found by looking at the first words of each line. This message reads, "Look at the third letters after the keys to find the next hidden message".
2. Written in the second sentence, it mentions that the third line in the paragraph is "of note"...especially the part about "punctuation is key". Hence any and all punctuation marks are then considered "keys" to finding the next hidden message (as written above).
3. By looking at the third letters after each punctuation mark, you come up with the following message: "The name of the author of QBVII"
4. If unknown you then just have to look up the answer (Leon Uris). Then, send it as a comment using the same code. All of the responses were very imaginative...I encourage you to go back and read some if you haven't already. Also, I made a note to answer each correct response, and used the same code to send another short little message to each correct respondent. Take a look if you have some time.
I really enjoyed doing this..it was a lot of fun for me...I have another puzzle in the works if there is any interest (it should be a little harder than this one), but the prize will likely be smaller...I will be down to just over a point after I send out the winnings.
That being said, let me announce that the winner (determined by the ultra-scientific method of drawing numbers from a hat)...lucky number 7 was drawn, granting the prize to GarethM, our poetic participant living in Britain. 10 points have now gone to him and 5 to his choice of charity, Hercules Invictus . As for my copy of "The Da Vinci Code"...for the time being I am still burdened with it. Thanks to everybody who played...hope you had as much fun as I did!