Try your hand at these superb cyphers. Can you crack the codes?
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A cryptogram is a sentence or quotation in which different letters are substituted for the correct ones. The solving of these secret messages has been appealing to many famous people in history. Lord Bacon was one of the most renowned cryptogram solvers in his day and Edgar Allan Poe featured a cryptogram in his story “The Gold Bug.”
Start by searching for short words like “an,” “the,” “a,” “I,” and “is.” Contractions like “can’t,” “didn’t,” and “there’s” are usually easy to spot. Look for the word “people,” which has 2 p’s and e’s in distinctive positions and other words with repeating letters. The frequency of letters in the English language is also a guide: E T A O N S and I are the most common. (Did you know that the letter E is used on average 60 times for every Z in our language?) Be on the lookout for “ing,” “tion,” and “ed” at the ends of words.
Each Crypto-Clan is a list of related words in code. Look at the title and the example. Then, try to identify words in the list by their letter patterns. If the title were “PRESIDENTS,” you’d look for “WASHINGTON,” “TRUMAN,” and “OBAMA,” for example, in the list.