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Puzzling Oswald Impersonations

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“ICO” stands for “Igor”, “Case”, and “Oswald”, and I think I’ve encountered enough ICO puzzles embedded in the pre-assassination Oswald impersonations to start a dedicated thread. I will be merely introducing these puzzles, and not necessarily completing them. Stay tuned.

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“ICO” stands for “Igor”, “Case”, “Oswald”.

The following excerpt is from John Armstrong:


“From September 25 through October 5th, Oswalds can be found in New Orleans, Mexico City, Houston, and a number of small towns near Alice, Texas at the same time. These multiple sighting have confused researchers for years and continue to confuse us today. The available evidence simply does not allow us to accurately pinpoint which Oswald was at a particular location at a given time. What is obvious from the multiple, concurrent, Oswald sightings is the unseen hand of covert operations....”

Question: Why would this “unseen hand of covert operations”, arguably the best in the world, arrange for nearly simultaneous, yet far-ranging, impersonations of their assassination patsy? I can think of at least two possible reasons:

(1) The brain operating this “unseen hand of covert operations” was very stupid, or:

(2) Part of this “unseen hand” belonged to a group of low-level spooks calling themselves “ICO”. Richard Case Nagell voluntarily took himself out of ICO’s activities on September 20, but according to plan, the other members carried on with Nagell’s scenario; to prevent the assassination, to create enigmas associated with Oswald’s patsy bona fides, and to embed their informing puzzles in all of their activities.

Today’s ICO puzzle has something to say about one these puzzling Oswald sightings. Again, from John Armstrong:

“George Ryan, manager of the Stop-N-Go drive-in grocery in Houston, told the FBI that Oswald tried, on three successive days, to cash a $65 check at his store. He told the Houston Press that he was under orders from the FBI not to discuss the case.”

Why would a guy claiming to be Oswald try to get the same store manager to cash a rather large check on three consecutive days? An obvious answer is that so the guy claiming to be ”Oswald” wanted to be remembered - and he is. But it’s entirely possible that the FBI silenced George Ryan because the Oswald stunt occurred during the period when Oswald was supposed to be in Mexico, and these dates appear to have gone down the memory hole.

Other than the missing dates, this is great puzzle and, one at a time, we will deal with three pieces of information we have.



(3) “STOP-N-GO”

Starting with the check, we first have to figure out what the exact puzzle phrase is, and there are two competing possibilities:



Number one is 13 letters, and number two is 17 letters. Thankfully, anangramming number one instructs us to use number two - the 17-letter version. “65 DOLLAR CHECK” anagrams to:

“65 CHECK, DO ALL 17”

Notice that I translated an “R” to its equivalent, “17”, using the number/letter device below. Since this puzzle deals with the Carcano serial number, we will be using it now and then:


Now for the 17-letter version, “CASH 65 DOLLAR CHECK”, which can anagram to:

“FAKE ROD C-276....CALL ‘HS’”

We are being told to “CALL” the “HS” letters on our telephone to see what numbers they yield, and we get the numbers, “4 7”. These numbers do not supply our missing number “6”, but they translate to the letters, “EH”, Edgar Hoover’s initials, and we can re-anagram our puzzle answer thus:

“FAKE E.H. ROD C-276...”

Although I think this tentative solution was intended, it will not give us the number "6" we need to complete our “FAKE” Carcano’s serial number. So we need to find the right anagram of “CASH 65 DOLLAR CHECK”, and here it is:

“FAKE C-276...CALLS ‘O’. HD-17”

There are a few interesting things in this anagram: First, when we call “O” on the telephone, we in fact get the “6” we need to complete our serial number, "C-2766". Second, the expression “HD-17” is sending us to Oswald’s Historic Diary to check out puzzle #17 for supplemental information (It should be noticed that not only are we being sent to puzzle #17 in Oswald’s Diary, but the puzzle we are solving is “17” letters. We’ll get to "HD-17" in a moment).

(A subtlety: Notice the “S” at the end of “CALLS”, which makes it a verb, which seems to imply that it is the “FAKE C-2766” that “CALLS ‘O’". Please refer to post #5 at the “C-2766 - a puzzle” thread linked below. “C-2766" does "CALL O". It '"calls" out in musical notes, the signature chorus notes, of “O sole mio”)


So in a few short steps, “CASH 65 DOLLER CHECK” puzzled out to “FAKE C-2766. HD-17”. The puzzle itself talked us through the process, and ordinary discourse simply does not do this in an informative, consistent, and, clever way.

The name “RICHARD CASE NAGELL” can be regarded as ordinary discourse, and in a recent post, we puzzled out “C-2766” from Richard’s name in a manor similar to the solution we just accomplished - the last number, a "6", came from dialing the telephone. But there is a difference; Richard's creation/fabrication of the specific serial number C-2766” appears to have originated within a naturally occurring cluster of anagrams inside of Richard's full name. He and his crew appear to have seized on and taken advantage of characteristics like this. I think they created an art form worthy of study. See post #1 at the link above, and I’ll also summarize this in footnote #2 at the bottom.

We still need to check out “HD-17” for more information, but first let’s look at the remaining Oswald clues from our original list:



(3) “STOP-N-GO”

There are a few anagrams that can be made from “HOUSTON”, and a couple of them appear to suggest that this stunt was not an impersonation, but conducted by Oswald himself. There is a short explanation in Footnote #1.

"Stop-N-Go" is quite interesting. First, here are three simple anagrams of “STOP-N-GO”:

(1) “STOP! NO 6!”

(2) “P.S. - TO NO. 6”

(3) “OPT SN 6. O”

It’s very often instructive to look at the primary letters of a puzzle, and the primary letters are the first letter of each word plus any numbers present. The primary letters of “STOP-N-GO” are “SN G”, and once the "G" is translated to “6”, we can anagram:

“SN 6”

And that’s exactly what we were looking for in the first puzzle above, the “Serial Number ‘6’” to complete our answer.

But it gets even better when we take a look at all of the primary letters in our original three puzzle possibilities created by the Oswald check-cashing incident in Huston. Here's our original list, and watch closely, this is impressive:

(1) “Cash 65 Dollar Check”

(2) “Houston”

(3) “Stop-N-Go”

Next, we’ll look at only the primary letters and numbers:

(1) “C65DC ”

(2) “H”

(3) “SNG”

Five of those nine characters create the serial number “C-2766”. First I’ll line them up in a row.

“C 6 5 D C H S N G”

Next I will translate some of the letters to numbers, and vice versa:

“C 6 F D 2 7 S N 6”

Next we can make a tentative anagram these:

"D.F. SN: C-2766"

Once again, all five characters of the Carcano serial number exist within the nine primary letters of the only three clues this Oswald sighting intentionally left us with. Using only the primary letters is a major ICO puzzle technique, and in fact the label on the Undeliverable Package is based on this technique.

So notice what just happened: Not only did the primary letters from our three clues yield "C-2766", but our first clue, "Cash 65 Dollar Check", easily puzzled out to the same result.

However, we need to fix up our last puzzle answer, "D.F. SN: C-2766". “DF” obviously can stand for David Ferrie, and we can make better sense of the above answer when it’s remembered that the puzzle designation for Nagell’s assassination prevention program, etc, is “N”, and “N” is often used as a verb. Our better anagram is:

“C-2766 'N's D.F.”

This puzzle has a lot in common with the first puzzle on the “C-2766 - a puzzle” thread. The genesis for Nagell creating the fake Carcano C-2766 came from his own name. A Carcano “Ringer” to be switched for the Carcano ordered from Klein’s with a different serial number that matched Hoover’s depended-upon trail of evidence. I have a quick summary of that post in footnote #3 at the bottom.

As an aside, here’s an anagram of “RICHARD CASE NAGELL” that I don’t think I’ve posted before:


And Nagell’s “cache” includes two kinds of “Ringers”: “Ringer” Carcanos, and “Ringer” Oswalds.

Now we’ll get back to our earlier answer: “FAKE C-2766. HD-17”. The complete list of “88” puzzles in Oswald’s Historic Diary can be found in post #14 at the link below (one might also recall that “HISTORIC DIARY” anagrams to “RICHARD’S ’88’ TOY”):


Historic Diary puzzle #17 is:

“my friend”

As pointed out in some of my other posts, several puzzle answers tell us that the Historic Diary puzzles often require the use of ICO’s “DT” cypher shown below:



When the “DT” cypher ("DT" stands for "Double Talk") is applied to “MY FRIEND”, it looks like this: “MYFRIEND + WIPBSOXN”, and this anagrams to:


We are being told to deal with the puzzle embryo, “WPN”, in order to “FIND SIX”, and there are only two possibilities: We can translate the letters to numbers, which turns out to give us absolutely no help, or we can apply “WPN” to the “DT” cypher, and this yields:


We have found the “SIX” (“6”) that our puzzle wanted us to “FIND”, and we also have a chore - "ZX". Those that have been following my posts will know that “Z” is ICO’s puzzle term for their code work. Since we are being told to "Z" a solitary letter, “X”, our only option is to use the “DT” cypher. This yields the letter “H”, and we can now re-anagram “FIND SIX. EMBRYO ‘6’ ‘H’” to:


Using ICO’s 6-bit binary code, “DESIGN FIX BY MR H.O.”, decodes and anagrams to (#1):

“17 CODES J.H.. ICO”

Note that two separate “17” puzzles brought us to this point, and “17” also translates to the letter “R” for “Richard”.

I’m going to end this post here, however, because our answer "DESIGN FIX BY MR H.O." appears to fork into several other puzzle possibilities that could take me weeks to unravel, if at all ("DESIGN FIX BY H.O." implies an alternative, "FIX DESIGN BY H.O." which implies an arithmetic problem "F x I", which equals, "40", which translates to, "EH", which anagrams to a new puzzle, etc.).

Except for some possibilities in Footnote #3 below, this leaves us not knowing if this check cashing incident was staged by Lee Harvey Oswald, his friend IGOR, or some other associate of ICO.

But the puzzle did yield two entirely different "C-2766" results, and the puzzle sent us to Oswald's Historic Diary for an interesting conformation.

If I find the answer I'll let you know. Even better, you could work this out.


Footnote #1 - DESIGN FIX BY MR. H.O.”

DESIGN FIXBYM = 100001 101100, and, 011110 010011, plus tags RHO

Yield “JCRHO

OHRMYB XIFNGI = 011001 101100, and, 100110 010011, plus tags SED

Yield: SECICO. Total yield: JCRHOSECICO, anagram: “17 CODES J.H.. ICO”

Footnote #2

In the first post on the “C-2766 - a puzzle” thread, Richard Case Nagell also had us looking for the the final “6” to complete a puzzle in his name. “Richard Case Nagell” anagrams to:

(1) “C-276..., RN SERIAL DEAL”


(3) “R DANGLE A SERIAL C-27...”

(4) “A L SERIAL READ ‘C-276... N”

(5) “C-27... SERIAL END ALA ‘6’. R”

Finally, we get closure when we find this anagram of “Richard Case Nagell”:

“C-276...CLOSURE: DIAL A ‘N’. R”

When we “dial a ‘N’ on the telephone, we get our ‘6’, and we can re-anagram our final answer to:

“C-2766 CLOSURE. R”

Footnote #3 - "HOUSTON"

In my view, it’s likely that “HOUSTON” was chosen for the three-day check cashing event for puzzle reasons. I see two anagrams of “HOUSTON” that appear to suggest that this stunt was not an impersonation, but conducted by “H” himself.

“HOUSTON” anagrams to:

“20’s NOT HO”, or, “HO’s NOT ’20’”

What might be concluded from these two anagrams is that the person being referred to as “20” was not “HO’s” impersonator in Huston. My candidate for “20” is this tangle of “20” letters, “IGOR VLADIMIRS VAGANOV”.

And “HOUSTON” anagrams to:


One might assume that "US" is the two puzzle makers, Richard and Igor, in which case the would-be check-casher is "HO". I will continue looking for a more definitive puzzle answer.

Edited by Tom Hume
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I think today’s puzzle is going to tell us who posed as Lee Oswald in the test driving orgasm at Downtown Lincoln Mercury. My favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, liked to say, “Screw suspense - tell the ending at the beginning....” Okay, I think the driver was Igor Vladimirs Vaganov, and I’ll ask your opinion at the end.

Before we puzzle out the wild driving stunt by the supposed Lee Oswald, take a long look at this anagram of “IGOR VLADIMIRS VAGANOV”:


In the world of name-anagrams, this one is breathtaking. I believe this is because “Igor Vladimirs Vaganov” was a name made up by master anagrammer Richard Case Nagell, a name he created that would anagram to some very specific things. Also consider this anagram of “IGOR VLADIMIRS VAGANOV”:


“ICO” stands for “Igor”, “Case”, Oswald”, and although the length of ICO puzzles can sometimes run to 24 letters, shorter puzzles are the norm, and 13 letters is by far the most common. This is especially true for ICO stunts where the puzzle solver must supply the exact intended puzzle-phrase. I believe this stunt's 13-letter puzzle-phrase is:


But before we set about to solve “TEST DRIVE MERC”, there is some substantiation for my obvious 13-letter puzzle choice. While “Igor Vladimirs Vaganov” was a made up name, Richard Nagell had nothing to do with creating the name, “Downtown Lincoln Mercury”, but being a master anagrammer, he saw that the name would puzzle out to instructions that puzzle solvers would appreciate and wonder at. Watch closely.

“DOWNTOWN LINCOLN MERCURY” is 22 letters, and as the ICO puzzles go, it’s a little long to anagram. ICO gives us a couple of tools to reduce the number of letters in a long piece of discourse, and one of them ICO calls the “ONION”. We are to “PEEL” the “ONION” by removing all the duplicate letters. The word “ONION”, for example, would become “ONI”.

But before we cut “DOWNTOWN LINCOLN MERCURY” down to size, let's look at an instructional anagram that uses all 22 letters. "DOWNTOWN LINCOLN MERCURY” anagrams to:

“MR RC YELL: ‘CUT DOWN 22!’ ‘ONION 13!’”

("MR RC" is "Richard Case". As you can see, some of the letters above were translated to their number equivalents - the letter/number translation device is in footnote #1)

And when we use the “ONION” to "cut down" the "22" letters of “DOWNTOWN LINCOLN MERCURY, we do in fact end up with “13” letters: “DOWNTLICMERUY”, and this 13-letter reduction anagrams to:


Very cool. Now we can re-anagram the above answer to:

“YOUR 11/22 ’13’: i.e. ‘TDM’. C”

So here’s a pretty good indication that our “13” letter puzzle is “TDM” ("Test Drive Merc") as I indicated above:


The anagram that literally falls out of the above expression is:


Now we not only have some confirmation of who the Oswald actor was, but what color the Merc was - “RED”. The above answer decodes and anagrams to (#2):


("I.B." = "Igor Baganov") I'll end this post here for now, because at this point the ICO puzzle spits into separate puzzles and becomes difficult to follow for the casual reader

Marina’s husband was someplace else at the time, and Marina’s husband supposedly didn’t drive. We’ve been puzzling over enigmatic events like the Mercury test drive for over 50 years - dozens of events. To some extent, study and debate about the assassination has been fueled and kept alive by these enigmas, these mysteries, these puzzles.

For you Harvey and Lee folks, I think the man known as Igor Vladimirs Vaganov was your “Lee”, at least in the year leading up to the assassination. However, he was acting totally in consort with his ICO crew when he used Lee Oswald’s name to create a memorable show of test driving a red Mercury Comet at Downtown Lincoln Mercury. He was creating just one of ICO's many assassination enigmas for us to notice, ponder, and solve.

What do you think?


Footnote #1 - number/letter translation device:


Footnote #2 -IV TEST RED MERC

IVTEST REDMER = 011001 101001, and, 100110 010110, plus tag “C”

Yield: ICORF

CREMDE RTSETV = 010010 110011, and, 101101 001100, plus tag “I”

Yield: IBTAT. Total Yield: ICORFIBTAT

Edited by Tom Hume
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  • 2 weeks later...

The following paragraph from John Armstrong:

“Cliff Shasteen operated a barbershop less than a mile from the Paines’ house in Irving. Shasteen, an Irving city council member, was Lee Oswald’s barber. He saw Oswald at various Irving locations including Williamsburg’s Drug Store, Hutchison’s Grocery and the Paines’ house. Every other week Oswald drove the Paines’ station wagon to his shop for a haircut. Shasteen thought he lived with the Paines.... Shasteen and his fellow barbers cut Lee Oswald’s hair twice a month beginning in the summer of 1963. FBI Agent Bardwell Odum told Shasteen that his memory of cutting Oswald’s hair in the summer of 1963 was during the time Oswald lived in New Orleans; Shasteen replied, “I can’t help what it contradicts, that’s just the fact and that’s it. He remembered Oswald had “nearly black hair” as well as “hairy arms,” also with black hair. He remembered that Oswald always wore either long-sleeve or short-sleeve coveralls that buttoned up the front; yet no coveralls were found among Oswald’s possessions, nor was Oswald known to wear coveralls. Shasteen noticed Oswald’s yellow shoes, which Oswald said he had purchased in Mexico for $1.50. Oswald said he frequently traveled to Mexico. Shortly after the assassination the FBI was trying to find evidence of Oswald’s visit to Mexico. The yellow shoes noticed by Shasteen would have helped the FBI place Oswald in Mexico. Yet no yellow shoes were found among Lee Harvey Oswald’s Possessions...”

If all you had to go on was the paragraph above, who would you guess was the Chevy-driving Irving resident with "nearly black hair" posing as Lee Oswald?

“ICO” stands for “Igor”, Case”, and, “Oswald”, and there appear to be several key words or phrases, red flags if you will, embedded in the behavior of this apparent Oswald imposter. Here are a few:


(2) “$1.50 YELLOW SHOES”



(5) “HAIR CUT”

“YELLOW SHOES” is “11” characters and anagrams to:




The apostrophe "S" in the first anagram shows possession, and the apostrophe "S" in the second shows a contraction (elision).

Notice the slightly redundant letter “O” at the end of the anagrams above. "O" translates to the number “14.”




In typical ICO fashion, it appears that we are being instructed to expand “YELLOW SHOES” from “11” characters to “14”, and the obvious “14” character starting point is:


“1.50” translates to the letters, “BFA”, and the easy anagram of “BFA YELLOW SHOES”, is:


“A B.F.” = “A Buell Frazier”, but the intended anagram for “BFA YELLOW SHOES” is probably this one:


Using ICO’s 6-bit binary code method, “WES BOY, FALSE L.H.O.” decodes and anagrams to (footnote #1):

“i.e. B.W. HOOFER”

"i.e. H.O. ROBE W.F."

"i.e. B.F. WORE H.O"

"i.e. B.W.F. HERO. O"

Study the four anagrams above. When you finish this post, you might agree that B.W.F. was posing as Lee Harvey Oswald at the Irving barbershop, and that all four statements above appear to be true. I'll list them again at the bottom.

The 14-letter puzzle-clue we’ve been working with is “$1.50 YELLOW SHOES”, and this could be expanded again to this 21-letter monster: “$1.50 MEXICAN YELLOW SHOES”. However, it would be nice to have an instruction to do this, and we don’t have far to look for it. “LEE HARVEY OSWALD” anagrams to:


It looks like we might have permission to try and puzzle out, “$1.50 MEXICAN YELLOW SHOES”, but for good measure, here are a couple more anagrams of “LEE HARVEY OSWALD”:



Okay, so the “21” letter puzzle is “$1.50 MEXICAN YELLOW SHOES” (BFA MEXICAN YELLOW SHOES), and this can anagram to:


Here's a more productive anagram of "$150 MEXICAN YELLOW SHOES":


I take the “X F” to mean, "get rid of the 'F', Frazier had no role in Mexico". Once we dispose of the "X F", "ICO EMBASSY HALLOWEEN" re-anagrams to:


As I said in the introduction to this thread, I’m not going to try to finish many of these puzzles. I have several pages of notes for the 21-letter monstrosity, “$1.50 YELLOW MEXICAN SHOES”, and unless I spend considerable time I won’t get to the bottom of it. I think the huge labyrinth of interconnecting ICO puzzles deserve to be tackled by a team of experts. I wouldn't make the team - I'm too slow and I know I often miss some of the best intended anagrams.

Moving on, then, the Oswald impersonator at the barbershop wore yellow Mexican shoes, and he also always wore, according to the barber, “Coveralls”. But that was the barber’s term; the actual word should be “OVERALLS”, because like the “YELLOW SHOES”, the genesis for the “OVERALLS” trait came from Richard and Igor anagramming “LEE HARVEY OSWALD”, which anagrams to:



And so forth, but I might as well add this one:


The next possible puzzle is “HAIR CUT”, which anagrams to:



Here’s one final easy puzzle that sends us to Oswald’s Historic Diary for confirmation. “LEE HARVEY OSWALD” anagrams to:


Puzzle HD-21 in Oswald’s Historic Diary is:


“NOT FOR INSANE” anagrams to:


(Not to be confused with "Burnt Sienna" which is redish-brown)The complete list of “88” puzzles in Oswald’s Historic Diary can be found in post #14 at the link below:

http://educationforu...he oswald code"

So far, it looks to me like the primo puzzle that was given to us by the Lee Oswald barbershop imposter was “$1.50 YELLOW SHOES”. This anagrammed to “WES BOY, FALSE L.H.O.”, and decoded to the four anagrams below:

“i.e. B.W. HOOFER”

"i.e. H.O. ROBE W.F."

"i.e. B.F. WORE H.O"

"i.e. B.W.F. HERO. O"

And for now, this finishes my short take on the possibilities listed at the beginning of the post.


Footnote #1 - WES BOY, FALSE LHO

WESBOY FALSEL = 000100 101001, and, 111011 010110, plus tags HO

Yield: HORFE

OHLESL AFYOBS = 011001 010010, and, 100110 101101, plus tags EW

Yield: IOBEW. Total yield: HORFEIOBEW anagram: “i.e. B.W. HOOFER”

Edited by Tom Hume
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