Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a cryptogram?

A cryptogram is a block of text which has been rendered unreadable through the use of what is called a "substitution cypher". This means that each letter used in the original text has been substituted with another (G becomes A, F becomes P, etc.). Letter/word positions, spaces and punctuation remain unchanged.

Cryptograms have been used as a means of protecting sensitive information for thousands of years, though today computers and more advanced cryptographical methods have made simple substitution cyphers much less practical. Still, they live on in newspapers and puzzle books as a popular form of brain exercise.

Why another cryptogram website?

There are a lot of other websites out there which offer cryptograms, but I wanted to offer a new type of online cryptogram software which could be played exactly as you would play it on paper. Cryptograms.org requires no special keypunches, pull-down menus, or dragging-and-dropping. You can play these puzzles just as you would with pencil and paper - enter a letter anywhere in the puzzle, and the software will automatically copy it for you across all companion positions.

How do I solve a cryptogram?

Cryptograms are solved primarily by two methods. First, pattern recognition. The easiest to recognize are single-letter words, which generally can only be A or I (or, rarely, O). Then there are a limited number of two-letter words such as IN, IS, IT, TO, AN, AT, AS, WE, HE, US, etc. One trick in particular is to look for the common TH- words, i.e. THE, THAT, THEN, THEY, THERE, THEIR.

Secondly, the successful cryptogrammer will use letter frequency to help suss out a difficult puzzle. The twelve most frequently-used letters in the English language are ETAOIN SHRDL, in that order. The least common letters are JXQZ. If you notice a certain letter being used again in again in any given cryptogram, at a frequency much higher than any other letter, its a good bet that its unencrypted form will be one of the ETAOIN group.

Finally, when all else fails, simple trial and error can generally fill in the gaps.

For a much more in-depth overview of the various hints, tips and techniques used by seasoned solvers to crack cryptograms, read our online solving tutorial.

How do I solve these cryptograms?

Unlike other cryptogram websites, there's no learning curve on Cryptograms.org. You can play these cryptograms as you would any paper-and-pencil version. In fact, our version is a bit easier as it does most of the grunt work for you. Simply enter a letter anywhere on the board, and the software will automatically copy it to every corresponding match found on the playing board. If you change your mind, remove the letter anywhere on the board, and it will be removed automatically from every corresponding square. If you've made a bit of a mess and want to start over, click "Reset" and all squares will be emptied. And if you think you've solved the cryptogram, click "Check It!" and the software will let you know if you've made any mistakes.

How do I center each puzzle vertically on my screen?

Players with smaller screen resolutions can avoid time-consuming scrolling on the game play pages by clicking the small red arrow next to the author's name. You can also replicate this function simply by pressing the equal ( = ) key on your keyboard. Hitting the equal key will move the puzzle vertically to the top of your screen and automatically place the cursor in the first box of the puzzle, to help get you started.

How many cryptograms are available on Cryptograms.org?

We currently have a database containing more than 42,391 unique proverbs, quotes and anecdotes, with more being added every week. The chances of you playing the same puzzle twice are extremely slim - and even in the off chance that it does happen, each puzzle solution is given a unique encryption cipher every time its served. This means that there are literally millions of unique puzzles which can be played on Cryptograms.org. (For you math geeks, an estimated 11530352 unique puzzles are currently available).

How do I get the solution to a cryptogram I can't solve?

Unfortunately, due to the competitive nature of the site, we don't offer solutions to puzzles you can't solve. If you'd like some assistance while you're solving, you may prefer to play while logged out of your account (i.e. as a "Guest") - guest players will be able to get up to five different hints for each puzzle, to help you along if you get stuck. You can also try our sister site, Printable-Puzzles.com, where we offer more than a dozen new cryptograms each morning, each with hints and solutions available online.

Can I print these cryptograms?

Absolutely! Each cryptogram has a "Print" link at the bottom of the grey Stats box on the far right of the page. Click this link and a new window will open with your printer-friendly cryptogram on a nice clean white page, perfect for printing and playing the old-fashioned way with paper and pencil.

If you find you actually prefer to print your cryptograms, you may also want to visit our sister site, Printable-Puzzles.com. We make more than a dozen brand new, print-quality cryptograms available on that site each morning, complete with online hints and solutions for each puzzle.

Can I use your cryptograms on my website?

You sure can - in fact, your web site visitors can play our cryptograms directly from your web site! We provide a simple syndication code snippet which you can copy and paste into any HTML document on your blog or web site. Once that's installed, we'll serve you a brand new cryptogram every day, 365 days a year. Not only will you get more repeat visitors with this dynamic content, but you'll also attract more first-time visitors looking for a cryptogram fix!

If you're interested in other uses of our cryptograms, please drop us a line and let us know what you need. We're always happy to help.

Why are you giving away thousands of cryptograms for free???

Because I can! Seriously though, I love cryptograms, I know I'm not alone, and there just didn't seem to be any other Cryptogram sites out there which really scratched my particular itch. So there you are. Consider it my gift to my fellow crypto-junkies out there. All I'd ask is that if you really enjoy the site, provide a link back to us on your own blog or website, or spread the word to your friends and family over email.

You'll notice we also participate in Google's AdSense program, hence the list of sponsors and businesses at the right-hand side of every page. That provides just enough revenue for us to cover our server and bandwidth fees each month, so it all comes out even in the end.

I work for a newspaper or magazine. Can we syndicate your cryptograms?

We offer an affordable subscription service for publishers who want a steady supply of cryptograms for their print publications. Each puzzle is guaranteed to be unique, and can be provided on a regular schedule via email, CD-Rom, or through paper post depending on preference. Please contact us for more information.

 

About Puzzle Baron

The Puzzle Baron family of web sites has served millions and millions of puzzle enthusiasts since its inception in 2006. From cryptograms to acrostics, logic puzzles to drop quotes, patchwords to wordtwist and even sudoku and crossword puzzles, we run the gamut in word puzzles, printable puzzles and logic games.

Questions or Comments?

The word 'problems' has how many letters in it?