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  #31  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:51 AM
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I also think punctuation is a great help. For example, if you come across a solitary comma, you expect the comma to be followed by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet). If you have several commas, then you probably have a list of things, and you would look for your "and" before the last thing in the list. Semi-colons usually signal the start of a new sentence, so you will have a new subject-verb set. If you have a question, you can guess that the second letter of the first word is "h" (works for why, when, what, where). Sometimes this doesn't work, like if you have a sentence that goes like this: "if...., why...? But it can give you a clue if you are stuck. Some of the hardest puzzles for me are the ones with no punctuation to guide and help.

I believe most puzzlels (except for the super hard ones) have an "in:" a way to get into the puzzle. I take my time and scan the puzzle, looking for my "in." This means that I have a good solving percentage (98.7% on about 2300 online puzzles), but my times suck. I just will never be fast. But, since I have returned to online solving, i find that i am a bit faster than I was before--I'll just have to be happy with that.

Apostrophes are also a help. They either signal contractions that end in "n't" or possessives that end in apostrophe "s." If you have 2 letters after the apostrophe that are not the same, then you have a contraction and the second letter after the apostrophe HAS TO BE 'e." You've, You're, They've, They're. If the two letters after the apostrophe are the same, then they MUST BE "Ls" "You'll, they'll, we'll.
The longest contracted word ending in "n't" is shouldn't, so if you have more letters than that, you know that it is a "s" after the apotsrophe. I know people know about contractions,so I am kinda preaching to the choir, but often contractions are my "in" to the puzzle.

i love, love, love cryptograms and I am glad to be back online! (I didn't have my own computer til now, so I had to use school computer labs, which did not allow games). I kept playing, but it was pencil and paper.

Happy "deciphering," everyone!
Kim
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  #32  
Old 03-27-2012, 04:50 PM
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Default double letters & apostrophes

Kimmie, your hints do in fact work for the vast majority of puzzles, and are excellent places to start. I'm just going to give a few exceptions to the rules.

Double letters: There are a couple of puzzles with the words "ally" and "odds", which really mess up the double-letter rule. Also, there is one puzzle with the word "ooze". It's the only word I have found that starts with a double letter.

If you see an Alexander Pope quote with an apostrophe, and you're stuck, try D for the apostrophe'd letter. I hate Pope quotes. Or, it can end in 't, but it's not a word we're used to, like "dip't", where the 't takes the place of ed.

There are a couple of quotes out there where the two apostrophed letters are 'st or 'th. They hurt.

Then there's the a'borrowing quote: "He who goes a'borrowing often goes a'sorrowing." I may have a word or two wrong. Pootie or Lily? First few times I got that, I thought it was in French. Nope, just really hard.
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  #33  
Old 03-27-2012, 06:29 PM
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also beware of o'clock...and the dreaded whoso....Whoso...it starts the quote.

and yes there are two variations of the a'borrowing quote out there. One has an apostrophe
the other doesn't.

Welcome back Kimmie, pleasant solving.
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  #34  
Old 03-27-2012, 07:49 PM
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Thanks, guys!

I think my unfamiliarity with the exceptions you point out is due to the fact that most of the cryptograms I have solved in my life were paper and pencil, put out by Penny Press. They would never give stuff like difficult quotes from Alaexander Pope. Thier puzzles are pretty predictable. I don't think I am ever going beck to pencil and paper puzzles--unless I have no way to solve cryptograms onine (like if I am waiting in the lobby for a Dr. appt, and did not want to bring my computer along).

And it has only been since Dec 2009 that I have been able to do cryptograms without help. So I only have like 28 months of experience. Knowing exceptions to general 'rules', such as what you guys give, separates excellent solvers from the good.

Thanks again,
Kim

Last edited by kimmie : 03-27-2012 at 08:14 PM.
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  #35  
Old 03-28-2012, 12:12 AM
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Hi Kimmie; I too look for the 'in' you describe but sometimes there just doesn't seem to one. No double letters, no single letters, no apostrophes, no 'it is', etc. So it usually takes me quit while and a lot tries to break in. Some times puzzles like this are marked 'easy'. Not for me. I can some times solve a 'difficult' 'gram quickly (at least for me). I have no clue as to how the ratings are arrived at.
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  #36  
Old 03-28-2012, 02:28 AM
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I know how you feel! There have been puzzles marked "easy" or "average" that I have just about given up on! And, yeah, I have done some "difficult" ones quickly (for me). I am just never gonna be a speed solver. Most of my solve times are classified as 'below average."
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  #37  
Old 03-28-2012, 03:39 AM
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I never tried to solve cryptos quickly until I found this site. There was no point; if you have a newspaper or a book, there's a finite number of puzzles available. Here, there are tens of thousands. Solving quickly is one way to get to the next one, so I can learn new quotes and authors.

Plus, I type faster than I can write. And auto-fill is the best invention ever.

As for the difficulty ratings, that is purely based on the length of the quote. It has absolutely nothing to do with how hard it is. The logic is that there are fewer letters - and fewer repeated letters - in a shorter quote, making it harder to solve. Doesn't always work that way in practice.
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  #38  
Old 03-28-2012, 04:03 AM
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I love the auto-fill, too! Many times when doing pencil and paper cryptos, I would make stupid mistakes just filling in the letters. And i know what you mean about a finite number of print puzzles. I ordered a set of 12 books from Penny Press that were only cryptos, but wondered what I would do after those were done, cause you aren't guaranteed to not get repeats if you order more of the sets.
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  #39  
Old 04-11-2012, 04:01 PM
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One thing that aided me, early on, was the first paragraph of Wikipedia entries for authors, which gives you the probable topic of cryptoquotations. These were helpful with obscure U.S. sports personalities. Jerry Coleman ("slides into second with a standup double"). Obscure English clergymen. Etc. Web browsers can be configured to let you select an author's name, right-click, and choose to open the Wikipedia page in a new tab.

The quotations were gleaned from collections, and are the kinds of things that get collected in collections of quotations. Thus, they are chock-full of absolute words: all, none, every, everything, nothing, everyone, no one, always, never, he who, people, etc. Many of these are also pattern words.

Lots of collections are assertedly inspirational. So XGNUFQKINA is friendship. Guaranteed.

Last edited by Lacon : 04-11-2012 at 04:06 PM.
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  #40  
Old 06-28-2012, 04:52 AM
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It would really be helpful if you will be able to go through the options and be able to work through the issues and concerns to help you get everything to work easily.

But in any cue that you are not really familiar with it, I guess that it would just be about being at ease with the options so that it will not constitute in making it all that harder for you.
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