The Poles had got there first - that seemed to be the message.
Dillwyn "Dilly" Knox was delighted with the Polish copy of an Enigma - a top secret German military cipher machine.
But his meeting with code breakers in Poland in July 1939 - just weeks before Hitler invaded their country - had initially put him in a sour mood. He had been struggling to figure out the machine's wiring - a key part of the complex jigsaw puzzle called Enigma.
Marian Rejewski, a talented Polish mathematician, had guessed correctly that the wiring connections between the machine's keyboard and encoding mechanism were simply in alphabetical order.
Of course, there were numerous other problems to solve, but Rejewski had made a major breakthrough, by devising equations to match permutations in the machine's settings.