CRpuzzles Cryptograms offer an easy-to-use computer tool to eliminate the sometimes tedious bookkeeping of printed cryptogram puzzle solving. Crpuzzles Cryptograms also add a layer of complexity to traditional cryptogram puzzles by asking the solver to derive the author's name from the recovered Plaintext alphabet.
As with traditional cryptograms, a quotation or saying is enciphered: each letter is substituted for by another letter of the alphabet or, occasionally, by itself. For example,
THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN'S SOULS. could become LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS.
Punctuation is kept in place, and capitals/lower case letters are not distinguished separately.
To decipher a Cryptogram, the solver must find each substitution and replace the Cipher letter with the correct Plaintext letter. For example, in the above, if the solver determines LZR is THE, the result would be
LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. _____ ___ ___ _____ ____ ___ ___'_ _____. becomes LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. THE_E __E THE T__E_ TH_T T__ _E_'_ _____.
as all the Cipher-Plain letter pairs are filled in manually.
CRpuzzles' online cryptogram solving tool allows for easy entry and, if necessary, change or retraction of the substitution pairs. To decipher a Cipher letter, the solver clicks on the blank under any of the occurrences of the Cipher letter and enters the Plaintext letter; the program finds and makes all the other substitutions for the letter pair. In the example of the original Cryptogram above, putting a T under any L would result in
LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. T____ ___ T__ T____ T__T T__ ___'_ _____.
Putting an H under any Z would then give
LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. TH___ ___ TH_ T____ TH_T T__ ___'_ _____.
If the solver decides that L of Cipher should be H of Plaintext, changing any T of Plaintext to H will effect changing all T's to H's; if H has already been entered for another Cipher letter, those entries will change back to blanks. Doing this on the above would result in
LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. H____ ___ H__ H____ H__H H__ ___'_ _____.
If the solver decides that a letter pair is wrong but isn't sure what the Cipher-Plain substitution is, a space can be entered in place of the Plaintext letter and all occurrences will return to blanks; making any H in the above a space will change all H's to blanks and result in
LZRSR MBR LZR LPFRS LZML LBQ FRA'S SNEJS. _____ ___ ___ _____ ____ ___ ___'_ _____.
Solving for the Author's name adds to the difficulty of traditional Cryptogram solution. As substitution pairs are recovered, the Plaintext letters are automatically recorded in the appropriate blanks under their Cipher equivalents; if the quotation is completely recovered, all the Plaintext letters, whether in the puzzle or not, will be displayed under their Cipher substitutes. To complete solution, the solver finds the Author's surname, which occurs in forward sequence in the Plaintext alphabet with repeated letters dropped. For example,
Cipher: JSXPCMHEZUKAWDBYLITNQVGROF MTVQSHAKEPRNDGBFXCJOWYUZLI -------
yields SHAKESPEARE. When Shakespeare is entered in the blanks for Author's surname, (William) will appear in place of (*******) as the Author's first name--and the Cryptogram is solved. As a solving aid, the actual length of the Author's name will be given as the number of blanks provided for entry.
Sometimes, for difficult CRpuzzles Cryptograms, it may be necessary for the solver to try to recover the Author's name to help complete solution of the text. Solvers can enter Cipher-Plaintext substitutions by clicking on the appropriate blank under a Cipher alphabet letter and entering the Plaintext letter; the tool will automatically make the correct entries in the text.
Solvers who prefer to work on CRpuzzles Cryptogram Puzzles manually can print the online page and complete the puzzle in the traditional manner; they can record the substitution pairs under the Cipher alphabet and solve for the Author's name; to verify (and get the first name), solvers can view the Solution page.