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smoochie222 08-17-2008 07:31 PM

Help for Newcomers
Gypsy: First, look at the staistics column. The most frequnt letters are "e" and "t" in most cryptograms. Watch for words like "experience" and "little" and "success." If the cryptogram is a quotation, think about the person being quoted, and ask yourself what that person would be likely to say. A quote from Shakespeare would have different words in it from a quote from a modern politician or sports figure.

Flutefish says look for word patterns to solve ciphers like short words with double letters in the middle - you know if a 4 letter word has double letters in the middle, the middle letters are prob 'o' or 'e; I also look for 'the', 'that, etc - really common words that can help me get started

Gypsy: words ending with s single letter followed by double letters usually end in "ess," but if the cryptogram a quote from a sports figure, they're likely to be "all."

this is a pretty good website for beginners

Laura 08-17-2008 09:25 PM

If you can solve the first few words, that might be the key to the rest. For example, I look for the following patterns:
It is
We are
No man
He who
Do not
He has
Those who

Another really good clue is "No one." The first 2 letters ("no") are switched ("on") in the second word.

What I usually look for right away are words like "never" and "there" If "there" doesn't work, it might be "these"

The other thing I look for right away is "it's." Once in a while, but not too often, it can be "he's," "he'd" or "we'd." Look also for "don't," "won't," or "can't." If these don't work, it might be "God's" or "one's." A dead giveaway is "didn't"

Look also for ever and even. If not one of these, it might be eyes, rare or none.

Don't forget that a one-letter word can also be "O." Especially if the author is James Joyce, Keats, Shelley, Frost, or another poet.

kat 08-17-2008 09:53 PM

more patterns
I usually can also catch words like "which, truth, people, always (same pattern as except)" relatively quickly because of the letter pattern. "Usually" and "really" are pretty easy to spot as well. Hope that helps at all!:)

Laura 08-17-2008 10:06 PM

More tips
I just remembered a few more...:)

In addition to "never" and "there" look for every. Once in a while, it might instead be again or total.

What looks like "never" might be "state."

Also, look for these word combinations that are not always at the beginning of the quote:
  • a man
  • does not
  • they are
  • it isn't

A long word with the same first and third character could be everything, everybody, everyone. "Opportunities" is a give away. Civilization is also a good one.

These are just some of mine. You'll come up with your own, and it might be a good idea to create a list on paper with groups of words that are similar (like modest, honest, borrow, sorrow, follow, common, "you cannot," etc.) Do enough cryptograms and you won't need it anymore.

Laura 08-17-2008 10:08 PM

Good ones
Kat, those are great. I love usually and also generally.

kat 08-17-2008 10:28 PM

Oh, and "nothing" and "perhaps" are ones I catch occasionally. And "remember" and "tomorrow". It's strange how many patterns you start to see...

I wish I was computer literate to put up the red and blue letters, Laura.:o
Someone showed me how a long time ago, but I've forgotten.

smoochie222 08-17-2008 11:02 PM

Watch out for
Benny the Frank uses words like canst and doth He ruins my speed every month (*.*)

Laura 08-17-2008 11:35 PM

Colored Letters

Highlight the letter you want to color and then in the tool bar at the top click the drop-down arrow to the right of the large A with the black bar beneath it. Then choose the color you want from the palette that displays. It will look really terrible in your message...something like the following surrounded by square brackets instead of parentheses..... (COLOR="Blue")abc(/COLOR).

When you preview the post it will show the colored letters. You can also do the same with bold, underline, and italics, or different font and size. The markup tags will show in the message editor but won't display when you preview.

Hope that helps...:)

kat 08-17-2008 11:58 PM

I guess that makes sense. I just never tried to figure it out on this site! LOL! Thanks Laura! :D

Laura 08-18-2008 12:11 AM


You're very welcome!!


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