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.
The word cryptogram comes from the Greek words "kryptos" meaning hidden and "gram" meaning written or drawn.
Identifying the most common letters in a cryptogram (frequency analysis) is often the first step toward solving it.
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.
Once you've identified the word "the," look for the "th" pattern throughout the cryptogram.
The letters in ETAOIN are organized according to their frequency in English, with "E" being the most common, followed by "T," etc.
Poe famously called for cryptograms to be sent from his readers, all of which he solved in short order.
The Caesar cipher is so named because legend Julius Caesar used it to communicate with his allies.
KHOS is an example of a three-space shift Caesar cipher.
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).
Digraphs (example "th") are very useful in solving cryptograms.
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.'
An example of an Atbash cipher is substituting the letter 'A' for 'Z,' 'B' for 'Y,' and so on.
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.
The U.S. entered World War I within weeks of learning the contents of the Zimmerman Telegram from the British.
An example of an anagram and its cipher is EARTH and HEART.
The meaning of the Shugborough inscription has confounded scholars since the 18th century.
The annual MIT Mystery Hunt often includes solving clues based on complex mathematical equations, pop culture trivia, and cryptograms.
The assasination plot against Queen Elizabeth I was devised by Mary, Queen of Scots and her supporters.
Mary was beheaded while several of her co-consirators were hanged for their roles in the plot.
Atbash ciphers are simple to solve once you identify the substitution pattern. Once you've done so, THIS QUIZ IS OVER!