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Ted Cruz just killed the Zodiac Killer meme

It was fun while it lasted.

Ted Cruz is obviously not the Zodiac Killer – an infamous uncaught serial killer who was active in California during the 1960s and ’70s – but that’s never stopped the internet saying he is.

Since sometime in 2013 there’s been a joke that the Republican senator is the Zodiac Killer – a person whose last confirmed murder was in 1969, one year before Cruz was born – for no reason other than it’s a bit funny.

The joke reached its peak during the 2016 Republican primaries, with Cruz spending a lot of time in the spotlight. But on Wednesday night he acknowledged the joke for the first time, and killed one of the truly great memes.

Cruz, who Donald Trump branded “Lyin’ Ted” during the US election build-up, replied to a tweet with one of the cryptograms sent to the police by the Zodiac Killer.

The killer sent four letters taunting the police, each of which included a cipher, and only one of which has been solved.

But despite being aware of the joke, and ignoring it publicly until this point, it was a tweet by Republican senator Ben Sasse that caused Cruz to acknowledge it for the first time.

Sasse had tweeted about accidentally spilling a drink in Cruz’s lap during a Senate hearing, to which someone responded “if I were sitting with the son of the guy who killed Kennedy I might do worse than spill some Dr Pepper” – referencing an old claim by Trump about Cruz’s father having known Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Nebraska senator joked that he was wearing a T-shirt suggesting Oswald, the man convicted of assassinating President John F Kennedy, was framed.

And amazingly, after all this time, that was what caused Cruz to break his silence on the Zodiac Killer.

He’s also making sure Sasse no longer has access to the Dr Pepper fridge at their office… (who has one of those?!)

The fact that the meme was finally referenced was too much for some people.

People did think it showed good humour on Cruz’s part.

But also wondered whether he’d just given his true identity up.

And of course, the death of a really good meme had to be mourned.

The Zodiac Killer is still unidentified.

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