Cryptogram Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Cryptogram Quiz
Image: Evening Standard/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Cryptograms have been used for centuries by world leaders, clandestine lovers and anyone wishing to keep something under wraps. Test your knowledge of cryptograms as well as your skill at solving them.
What does the prefix 'crypto' mean?
stolen
betrayed
hidden
The word cryptogram comes from the Greek words "kryptos" meaning hidden and "gram" meaning written or drawn.

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Which of these terms refers to searching a cryptogram to determine how often a letter or cluster of letters occurs?
graphic estimation
frequency analysis
Identifying the most common letters in a cryptogram (frequency analysis) is often the first step toward solving it.
alphabetic interpretation

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Using a 13-space substitution cipher, what city is named in this cryptogram? ARJ LBEX
San Juan
New York
Solving numeric substition cryptograms requires knowing the number of spaces in the substitution pattern. In this example, the entire alphabet is shifted 13 spaces to form the word New York.
San Jose

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What is the most common three-letter word in the English language?
but
and
the
Once you've identified the word "the," look for the "th" pattern throughout the cryptogram.

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Which of the following mnemonics represents the most common letteres in the English language?
ATILON
ETAOIN
The letters in ETAOIN are organized according to their frequency in English, with "E" being the most common, followed by "T," etc.
ETARIN

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Which of the following literary figures frequently created cryptograms?
Mark Twain
Virginia Woolf
Edgar Allan Poe
Poe famously called for cryptograms to be sent from his readers, all of which he solved in short order.

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Which of these is a type of cipher designed to create cryptograms by shifting each letter of the alphabet by between one and 25 spaces?
Brutus cipher
Caesar cipher
The Caesar cipher is so named because legend Julius Caesar used it to communicate with his allies.
Henry VIII cipher

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Using the Caesar cipher, which of the following cryptograms means HELP?
KHOS
KHOS is an example of a three-space shift Caesar cipher.
ILON
MHNR

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How many one-letter words are there in the English language?
2
3
There are 3 single-letter words in the English language: A, I, and O (usually used in poetry, O is able to stand alone in the English language).
4

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Which of the following means two letters that together form a single sound?
dipthong
dialect
digraph
Digraphs (example "th") are very useful in solving cryptograms.

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Which of the following words would be the easiest to solve in a cryptogram?
All
I'm
I'll
I'll is a cinch to solve for two reasons: 'I' is the only single letter that can come before a consonant and the only possible double letter possibility to follow it is 'L.'

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Which of these terms refers to a cipher in which one letter of the alphabet is substituted for another?
Halabash
Atbash
An example of an Atbash cipher is substituting the letter 'A' for 'Z,' 'B' for 'Y,' and so on.
Hashtag

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One of the most famous cryptograms is the Zimmerman Telegram. During which war was it sent?
World War I
During World War I, the Zimmerman Telegram was sent by the German Foreign Minister to Germany's ambassador to Mexico urging him to bring Mexico into the war against the U.S. The telegram was written in code.
World War II
Korean War

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Which country decoded the Zimmerman Telegram?
Canada
France
Britain
The U.S. entered World War I within weeks of learning the contents of the Zimmerman Telegram from the British.

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Which of the following is an example of a cryptogram?
antonym
acronym
anagram
An example of an anagram and its cipher is EARTH and HEART.

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What is the meaning of the Shugborough Inscription in Staffordshire, England?
The king will die
Rest in peace
unknown
The meaning of the Shugborough inscription has confounded scholars since the 18th century.

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Which of the following academic institutions hosts an annual puzzle hunt that commonly involves cryptograms?
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The annual MIT Mystery Hunt often includes solving clues based on complex mathematical equations, pop culture trivia, and cryptograms.
California Institute of Technology

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Which of the following English monarchs survived an assasination plot organized in part by cryptograms?
Queen Elizabeth I
The assasination plot against Queen Elizabeth I was devised by Mary, Queen of Scots and her supporters.
Queen Victoria
Queen Anne

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What was the fate of Mary, Queen of Scots, once her insurrection was uncovered?
excommunication
hanging
beheading
Mary was beheaded while several of her co-consirators were hanged for their roles in the plot.

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Using an Atbash cipher, what is the solution to the following cryptogram? GSRH JFRA RH LEVI
THIS QUIZ IS HARD
DON'T FAIL AT THIS
THIS QUIZ IS OVER
Atbash ciphers are simple to solve once you identify the substitution pattern. Once you've done so, THIS QUIZ IS OVER!

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You Got:
/20
Evening Standard/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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