Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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CryptoSnip puzzles

Several cryptograms cut in half that you must reassemble
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(Background: a Cryptogram puzzle, or CryptoQuip, is a witty sentence where each letter has been replaced by a different letter of the alphabet throughout the sentence. To solve it, you must look at letter frequencies and common patterns to determine which letter is which, and gradually decode the whole sentence. For example, the word JXPJ could mean "that", indicating that J = T, X = H, P = A, throughout the whole puzzle.)

In CryptoSnips, three cryptograms are created, each with its own substitution code, then each one is sliced in half and the six halves presented to the reader in a random order. There is no indication whether any piece is the beginning or the end of a sentence. (e.g. no punctuation.)

This will be very challenging to solve because each piece is less statistically useful than a full sentence. Counting which letter appears most frequently will be tougher, as pairs of fragments might have to be considered together and the code for letter "E" (for example) might be most frequent in one half but rather infrequent in the other.

Once the solver has decoded a few words, new skills will come into play, such as looking for compatible-looking words between two of the six pieces. For example, if you have "_EO_LE" at the beginning of one fragment, you might decide it's "people" and look for another piece _ending_ in a word that could be "most".

You might try looking for code words or word endings that appear in two different fragments, e.g. two different fragments that both have QHVIV in them.

But beware! An evil puzzlemaker might put the same-looking code text in two incompatible pieces with different meanings (e.g. two pieces contain DZH but in one part it means "And" and the other it means "The".)

Kupxb ojg.

phundug, Feb 11 2009




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