What is a Cryptogram
A cryptogram is a clever method to create and write secret messages. In essence, it is a code that hides a piece of text.
Although the words cipher and cryptogram are often used interchangeably, they are different. While the first may include numbers or other symbols as part of its code, cryptography implied the use of an only-alphabet code.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that cryptograms are easier to solve. It all depends on the rules governing the replacement of the letters. The exchange may follow a sequence, be intertwined, alternative, or completely random.
What are cryptogram puzzles?
Cryptogram puzzles are a type of word game whose popularity has been increasing thanks to the internet and the simple and easy gameplay offered by electronic devices.
As the name already suggests, this word game is based on cryptography, with the players having to solve a code of letter replacement. The game can take different forms. It can contain only single words, a personalized message or be a piece of text from anywhere (e.g. from ads or newspapers). The most popular, however, are the cryptoquotes.
What are cryptoquotes?
Cryptoquote is a combination of the words cryptogram and quote. They are a very specific type of cryptogram puzzle that hide popular quotes or sayings by famous personalities, celebrities, or well-known fictional characters.
In other words, cryptoquotes have a component of trivia associated with them. The puzzles always indicate the author of the quote which may serve as a clue to the subject of the cryptogram if the players are familiar with the person in question. Nevertheless, knowing the author is never a requirement to solve the puzzle.
How to play
In this cryptogram game, the players need to decode several encrypted quotes. They can see the code and the numbers of words and letters in the quote but have no other information. No letter is provided from the beginning. If they need any help, the players can use up to two hints to reveal 2 correspondences.
A letter in the code only has one alphabetical correspondence. Repeated letters will light up in a different color as a warning. For example, if an F is being used as the right correspondence for both an A and a T, then the F will be highlighted.
A victory message will appear when the quote is correctly decoded. If no message is displayed, then there must be an error somewhere in the puzzle. Please recheck the code and reread the cryptoquote to ensure it is grammatically correct and every word is rightly spelled.
You can solve as many cryptograms online as you want on our website. There is no daily limit and all our cryptogram puzzles are free. Additionally, every puzzle is set as a printable cryptogram so you can take it with you anywhere and try to solve it the traditional way, with pen and paper.
How to solve a cryptogram
When trying to solve a cryptogram puzzle it is always good to keep a few strategies in mind as well as your own knowledge of the English language.
Look for contractions and possessives: these can help you reduce your options to decode up to two letters. After the apostrophe, the only options are: ‘t, ‘s, ‘d, ‘m, ‘re, ‘ve and ‘ll.
Search for one-letter words: the only 1-letter words commonly used in English are ‘I’ and ‘A’. Unless the quote is archaic or poetic, these are the only options you need to focus on.
Check for double letters: common double letters include ‘SS’, ‘RR’, ‘OO’, ‘EE’, ‘LL’, so keep these in mind if you find a code with a double.
Consider the digraphs: these are pairs of letters that can be often found together. For example: ‘CH’, ‘SH’, ‘TH’, ‘WH’, ‘PH’, or ‘EX’.
Do not forget about common beginnings and endings: the longer the quote or the words it contains the harder it is to solve the cryptogram. In these cases, it will do well to remember common prefixes (‘DE-’, ‘PRE-’, ‘UN-’; ‘RE-’, ‘DIS-’, ‘EN-’, ‘MIS–’) and suffixes (‘-ING’, ‘-MENT’, ‘-NESS’, ‘-EST’, ‘-ABLE’, ‘-TION’, ‘-LY’, ‘-OUS’.)
Check whose quote it is: knowing the person behind the quote can give you some hints. For example, if you know that it comes from Martin Luther King Jr., then you can make an educated guess and expect to find words such as ‘freedom’ or ‘rights’.
For more detailed strategies to beat any puzzle, be sure to check our blog article on tips for solving cryptograms.