"A cryptogram is a communication written in code, using a scrambled alphabet that substitutes one letter for another. Breaking it is an exercise in logic, imagination and perseverance. Logic, as you search out the patterns and structure of the words and sentences you're trying to uncover. Imagination, as you intuit words from the jumble before you. Perseverance, as you stick with the trial and error search." (Moll 6)
Things you should know:
- Every cryptogram is coded differently, but in any single message, the code is consistent.
- No letter ever stands for itself.
- Common 3-letter words include the, and, but, for, and are.
- Common 2-letter words are it, is, of, and in.
- Long word endings include ing, ion, est, and ied.
- Start by tracking down these patterns, and with the letters you detect you'll soon clue into other formations that will eventually reveal the message.
- The order of frequency of the most used letters in the English language is:
E - T - A - O - I - N - S - H - R - D - L - U
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Citation: Moll, Louise B. Clever Cryptograms. Sterling Publishing Co, NY, New York. 1994.