Cryptoquotes are fun word puzzles, but how did these brain games get their start? Take this quiz to test your knowledge about cryptology and how to solve cryptoquotes.
While cryptoquotes always consist of a popular saying or a quote by a famous person, this puzzle originated from cryptograms, which can be any message.
President George Washington is credited with successfully using cryptograms during the Revolutionary War to learn valuable information about the British armies.
Cryptography is the practice of secret writing, while cryptology is the science of secret writing.
Cryptographers are experts who write hidden messages. In modern communication, cryptographers might work for the government or in finance, where encryption of software or personal information is essential.
You need a cipher in order to solve (decipher) cryptoquotes.
Julius Caesar created a cipher by shifting the order of the alphabet. This cipher is relatively easy to decode for today's puzzle enthusiast, but it confused Caesar's enemies at the time.
Thomas Jefferson created plans for the cipher wheel (a cylindrical disc that, when aligned a certain way, would spell out hidden messages).
In 1922, the U.S. Army began using a cipher wheel similar to the one invented by Thomas Jefferson, and the other branches of the military soon implemented the cipher wheel in their own operations.
Signal Corps was solely responsible for all secret communications. Its members were experts at both writing and translating encrypted messages.
With a transposition cipher, the letters have been moved, but the characters themselves haven't changed.
The Zodiac Killer began terrorizing residents of San Francisco during the late 1960s with encrypted messages to local newspapers. This case still remains unsolved.
The typewriterlike machine, called ENIGMA, was capable of creating elaborate cryptograms that the Germans used during World War II to send classified information. Another machine, called the BOMBE, was invented to decipher ENIGMA messages, which helped shorten the war.
The most commonly used ciphers in cryptoquotes are called "substitution ciphers," which contain simple letter substitutions.
Puzzle experts recommend thinking about commonly quoted people to help decipher a few letters in cryptoquotes.
Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," along with his follow-up "The Lost Symbol," are credited with sparking an interest in the art of writing and deciphering secret messages.
The American Cryptogram Association promotes cryptography as a hobby for puzzle enthusiasts. A convention is held annually for those with a passion for all types of crypto-puzzles.
Criminals can face additional charges if they do not turn over requested ciphers in the United Kingdom.
CryptoQuip is the name of the cryptoquote puzzles found in most newspapers in the United States today.
Frequency analysis is used to solve ciphers by noticing letter patterns, or how often letters are repeated, in words.
The plot of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Gold Bug" centers on a cryptogram that must be deciphered to find a buried treasure.