August 2, 2013 | | Add a Comment

CryptogramPuzzle solving is good way to sharpen one’s logical senses. There are many kinds of puzzles like jigsaw, Sodoku, a Rubik’s cube, crosswords, anagrams, and cryptograms. Nowadays, it is very easy to gain access to puzzles online, including the classic game Cryptogram. You can play it online or download it so you can easily access it on your Apple device.

What is a cryptogram?

A cryptogram is a puzzle that is composed of encrypted text and the words of the text are replaced with blanks or blank boxes with a letter or number under each one. To solve it, the original lettering must be restored. For example, A becomes P while B becomes V. So blanks above the letter A should be filled with a letter P and the blanks over B should be filled with the letter V.

Originally, cryptograms were used for military purposes and conveying personal secrets. They began to be used for entertainment purposes in the Middle Ages by monks who opted to play intellectual games in their spare time. It was also discovered that people who visited the king of Gwynedd in Wales were presented with cryptograms which could be completed by interchanging Latin and Greek letters. In the 13th century, an English monk came up with a book containing 7 cipher methods. In the 19th century, cryptograms were popularized thanks to Edgar Allan Poe who wrote a lot of magazine and newspaper articles about them.

The app Cryptogram was developed by Norman Basham and it was released by Apple in August of 2011. It is one of the top downloaded games for the iPad.

How to play

In Cryptogram, you need to solve encrypted quotes by figuring out the proper letter substitutions. Every letter stands for another unique letter. At the beginning of a game, you may be given a few letters as hints to help you decode the quote as quickly as you can. You can also tap the hint button to reveal more letters or you can start making guesses. However, guessing incorrectly results in adding more time to the clock, so it’s best to carefully decipher the message. The longer you play the game, the lengthier and the more difficult the puzzles become. To enter a letter, you can tap the blank you wish to fill and enter the letter you believe to be the equivalent of the one under the blank.

Making educated guesses is a must when playing Cryptogram. One thing you can consider is the frequency of the letters as well as word and letter combinations. A mnemonic you can memorize is ETAOIN SHRDLU. It may sound like nonsense but if you memorize this, you now have a close approximation of the twelve most frequently used letters. Try recognizing letter patterns in words, like for example one-letter words can either be an A or an I. The article “the” and the conjunction “and” can also be easily formed once you get the hang of things. Double letters like ll, ff, tt, ss, pp, rr, dd, nn, cc, oo, and ee are also helpful in deciphering the quote as well as words with apostrophes. Some other common words are “of,” “is,” “are,” “to,” “in,” “it,” and “can.” Moreover, it is also helpful to study the most common letters that end a word, such as D, E, N, R, S, T, and Y.

Puzzle difficulty

Due to constant updates, you can actually pick the puzzle difficulty of a Cryptogram game. You can choose from three: easy, medium, and hard. These levels were determined by hundreds of thousands of puzzle scores from players located in different parts of the world. If you’re a beginner, then it is advisable to start playing in easy mode and work your way up to the medium and hard levels. Challenging yourself to constantly improve your time record is fulfilling, so never give up!

Other features

The design of this game is like an old school typewriter. You can play over 800 puzzles and you can purchase more puzzle packs at only $0.99 cents each. The puzzle packs include Potpurri, Great Movie Lines, The Spirit of Asia, Simple Inspirations, and Wit, Wisdom, & Humour. If you’re really a hard core fan of the game, you can print, email, and share your puzzles and the quotes you decipher on Facebook! You can also review and replay your puzzles to improve your time.

Cryptogram is definitely a game that can keep your brain productive even during your spare time so make sure you have it on your iPad, iPhone, or iTouch!

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