Category Archives: Today Show

Matt Lauer’s Exclusive Interview with Dan Brown

Dan Brown gives Matt Lauer a tour of his home.

Dan Brown gives Matt Lauer a tour of his home.

The Today show ran its exclusive interview with Dan Brown this morning.

Matt Lauer was given a tour of Brown’s home, in Rye Harbor, N.H, including a look inside the Fortress of Gratitude, a room filled with foreign language editions of Brown’s books as well as movie props such as the cryptex from The Da Vinci Code and antimatter from Angels and Demons. Here’s what we learned:

  • Brown’s best time of the day to write is 4 am.
  • The Lost Symbol took six years to complete because of the pressure of repeating the Da Vinci Code success and because the subject matter, Freemasonry, was so complex that Brown “needed time to understand it.”
  • Brown’s fame gives him access to places other people struggle to see.
  • Nevertheless, he sometimes goes undercover to research his novels by using an alias and joining a tour group, wearing a baseball cap pulled low.
  • The UK plagiarism trial, which Brown won, was an ordeal. “As J.K. Rowling says, it’s like somebody showing up at your door and pointing at your child and saying, ‘That’s mine.’ It’s not a pleasant thing to go through.”
  • Brown has become more spiritual in recent years.
  • He admires the Freemasons because they allow people of all faiths to come together.
  • The legend that Brown owns gravity boots and will hang upside down for inspiration is true: “You think differently upside down.”
  • He chose Washington DC as the setting for The Lost Symbol because he believes its architecture is as interesting as London, Paris and Rome.

Today Show interview with Dan Brown.

Advertisements

Today’s Search For The Lost Symbol Is Over

The Today show competition is over. Tomorrow morning, in place of clues, Matt Lauer will be interviewing Dan Brown.

We’re proud to say we got three out of four clues right. And we tip our hat to Simon Cassidy, who beat us to the correct answer this morning: the GW National Masonic Memorial!

Where We Expect to See Matt Lauer on Monday

Continuing our series of posts second-guessing the Today Show, we believe Matt Lauer will be at Union Station in Washington tomorrow morning.

As we revealed last week, someone has been posting the clues to the Today show’s Search for the Lost Symbol” competition, one day early, on Amazon.com.

Therefore, we can fairly confidently say that tomorrow’s clue will be:

Location 4:
40.750305, -73.993156
89 Palmetto
Count the Hills of Rome

Secrets of The Lost Symbol editor Arne de Keijzer instantly worked out that “40.750305, -73.993156” is the latitude/longitude of New York’s Penn Station, “Palmetto” is an Amtrack train, and “#89” goes south.

Meanwhile, members of our Secrets team and the band of Twitterers we have been following, reasoned that the seven hills of Rome probably had a correlation to the seven Amtrak stops between Penn Station and Union Station in Washington.

Secrets’ investigative reporter Dave Shugarts is particularly convinced because many of the landmarks revealed so far have been within jogging distance of each other and because there are many elements of Union Station, such as its statuary, that could be of interest to Dan Brown. We’ll find out in the morning.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Dan Burstein interviewed on The Takeaway

When Dan Brown writes about big ideas, such as the early days of Christianity, the centuries-long tension between science and religion, or the alternate history of Mary Magdalene, readers want to know more.

In this interview, broadcast on NPR’s The Takeaway this morning, “Secrets” editor Dan Burstein explains that’s why our “Secrets” books have sold more than three million copies since Secrets of the Code was first published in 2004.

We don’t personally know all the answers. But we do go out and find the best minds–the world’s leading historians, philosophers, theologians, writers and thinkers–to try to separate fact from fiction.

Dan Brown’s latest novel, released this Tuesday, will explore American history set against the backdrop of Freemasonry. Now, what could be a more fascinating topic for us to investigate than that?

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Secrets of the Lost Symbol Continues its 100% Record vs. Matt Lauer

house_of_the_templeSo, we were right again, predicting the answer to the Today show clue–The House of the Temple–a full 12 hours before it aired!

If you want to see how we did it, read on here.

And if you want to know more about the House of the Temple, stay tuned for future posts about the building, its history, and the man whose remains are stored there: Albert Pike.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Tomorrow’s “Search for the The Lost Symbol” Answer Today – Part II

Will we see Matt Lauer at The House of the Temple tomorrow?

Will we see Matt Lauer at The House of the Temple tomorrow?

This is where we believe you will see Matt Lauer tomorrow morning for the third installment of the Today show’s “Search for the Lost Symbol” competition.

Each day, Lauer is reporting from a different “secret” location, in Washington D.C., that figures in the plot of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

These locations are supposed to be revealed in a carefully controlled manner. But, as we said yesterday, someone appears to be posting the clues that go along with the video reports one day early in an innocuous pdf document on The Lost Symbol Amazon’s page.

According to that document, tomorrow morning’s clue will be:

Houses the remains of this CONFEDERATE: CHOEPSLTGE

Our first instinct was that the answer is: ALBERT PIKE. After all, we are convinced he will play a key role in The Lost Symbol and he is the only Confederate general to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington. But we could not figure out how to get the answer we wanted.

The solution came with the help of @bgates87, who, as we said yesterday, has been one of the leading Twitterers chasing down these riddles. William confirmed our hunch and supplied the evidence to prove it:

The clue is encrypted with what’s called a Keyword Cipher. It’s a substitution cipher that uses an altered alphabet to encrypt the plaintext. With a Keyword Cipher you use a keyword to rearrange the alphabet, moving all of the letters in the keyword to the front and omitting repeated letters. In this case, the keyword is CONFEDERATE, hinted at by the fact that it’s written in capital letters. So, the rearranged alphabet is:

C O N F E D R A T B G H I J K L M P Q S U V W X Y Z

You use this alphabet to encrypt the plaintext or decrypt the ciphertext. For decryption, it’s easiest to set it up like this:

C O N F E D R A T B G H I J K L M P Q S U V W X Y Z
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Now, to decrypt the message “CHOEPSLTGE,” you simply substitute each letter in the ciphertext with the letter it corresponds to in the plain alphabet. So, substitute the ciphertext letters for their plaintext counterparts…

So, Albert Pike it is! And why the House of the Temple? Well, Pike was one of the leading Masons of the 19th century. After his death, in 1891, he was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. But shortly before the end of the Second World War his remains were moved the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Southern Jurisdiction—aka the House of the Temple.

We’ll be writing about both Albert Pike and the House of the Temple a lot more in the coming weeks.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

We Were Right!

So, it looks like we were right. Today’s Lost Symbol clue for the Today show (see below) was exactly as we predicted last night. The question is, will the clues continue to leak out on Amazon? As of now, only the puzzle for Location 2 is showing. But we’ll check back later in the day, just in case.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.