Cryptogram he1p

How to play

The red rectangle around one cell is your cursor. You can move the cursor with arrow keys and with the mouse. Press a key on your keyboard to write under the cursor. All other cells by the same number will be written to as well. When all cells are filled correctly, you will have solved the puzzle.

Use space bar or delete key to erase mistakes.

At some point you may find that the keyboard has gone unresponsive. This occurs if the game window has been in the background. Click the game with the mouse, and the keyboard will function again.

How to solve a cryptogram

1. First take a look at the hint if one is provided. Hint is a word or words that are written in plain letters. If you can guess a word next to the hint, you will have cracked those numbers. For example, if there is CHEWING 123, you might guess that 123 is GUM. Sometimes the hint word is repeated somewhere in the cryptogram. See if you can find a word with the same pattern of characters as in the hint.

2. Short words can sometimes be guessed, because there are not too many possibilities. Here are some common short words:
one letter: a, i, (o)
two letters: of, to, in, is, it, be, as, at, an, by, he, on, or, so, if, no
three letters: the, and, for, are, but, not, you, all

3. See if you can recognise some of the partially solved words. Let's say there is a DIS4. That might be either DISH or DISK. Now take a look at other words. If you find one where substituting 4 with either an H or a K makes any sense, then that's probably it.

4. You can try a technique called frequency analysis. "E" is the most common letter in the English language. If you count the numbers and find that 21 is the most frequent one, then 21 probably signifies "E". You can then do the same with other letters. However, since the secret messages are not very long, this method may be inaccurate, and you will have to try other letters of similar frequency as well. Complete order of letter frequencies is: E T A O N I R S H D L U C M W F Y P G B V K J X Q Z.

More precise guidelines have been researched by Pete Wiedman.

How to design your own cryptogram

Pressing the "Create your own" -button will put you in the edit mode. Write and edit your cryptogram. Use capital letters for hints. Text written in capitals will not be crypted. (Remember not to capitalise the first letter of sentences and names.)

You can also use the hint feature to make the cryptogram harder. Write one and two-letter words in capital, so they can't be used to solve those letters.

When your cryptogram is ready, press the "Done"-button. You will be given the address of the cryptogram you've just designed. Select and copy it. You can test it right away by pasting it to the address line of your browser.

To share the address with your friends, post it to a discussion group, publish it on your web site or e-mail it. If an address sent by e-mail does not work, it may have been cut to lines and should be fixed by editing manually.

Game doesn't work?

Cryptogram game has some requirements:

  1. You will need flash 6 -plugin. It is usually included when you install a new browser. You can also get it from computer magazine cover CDs or from Macromedia website.
  2. Each cryptogram resides in a separate file on the server and is fetched when needed. Some firewall settings may prevent this from working. Similarly, if you disconnect from internet, you will no longer be able to load new cryptograms.
  3. Faster than a 500 MHz PC is preferable, not because the game is computationally intensive, but because the scripting language in flash is very slow. Flash plugin 7 hastens the game somewhat.
Cryptogram game is maintained by Teppo Pihlajamäki.