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Free Word Puzzle: Cyber Cypher

Updated on August 29, 2012

Word Puzzle Games Are Fun for All Ages

Some younger kids may be ready to start noticing the kinds of patterns that will make them a successful cryptogram solver.
Some younger kids may be ready to start noticing the kinds of patterns that will make them a successful cryptogram solver. | Source

Is your Tiger Mom a cryptogram solver?

A favorite one of the word puzzle games that Tiger Moms like to teach to their smart little Tiger Cubs is commonly known as a substitution code. Technically it is a cipher or cypher and is also sometimes called a cryptogram or cryptograph. (In some instances, you or your Tiger Mom might be a cryptoquip solver or a cryptoquote solver.)

In this puzzle, each letter has been replaced with a different letter of the alphabet. Within one puzzle, a given letter will always be replaced by the same letter. (However, there are more advanced ciphers for which that is not true.) Experienced decoders rely on their sense of the language to figure out a cypher, without any kind of hints at all. They usually will look for familiar clusters of letters or repeated letters within a word or a sentence.

For example, if you see encoded letter groups like the following in a sentence, what could you probably guess about them?

BLPDP - - - - - BLP - - - - - BLPS - - - - - BLPC - - - - - BLPKP

The context is important, of course, but you could very easily guess that "BLP" is "THE"; two of the other words are they and them, and the other two are these and there. Recognition of these words may even be hastened by another good one to watch for, in this example BLQB (=that). That specific pattern can also represent another familiar word (else), but used in conjunction with the above encoded words, it should be easy to decide which of these possibilities is correct.

Another fun cluster to watch for has a couple of repeated letters in it: XCUXDC. See the position of the two X's and the two C's? What everyday word has the same pattern of repeated letters within it? (The answer is below, just above the comment box.)

Word Puzzle Games More Interesting than Pizza?

Some cryptogram solvers can hardly tear themselves away from their addiction to free online puzzle games.
Some cryptogram solvers can hardly tear themselves away from their addiction to free online puzzle games. | Source

More Tips for Solving

When the cipher is made up of sentences (such as sayings, proverbs, mottos, and even jokes), you can use your understanding of the language and the way words flow to help you figure out some parts of the saying that are not easy to decipher.

Another type of substitution code is a group or list of words and phrases all relating to a particular topic. These are sometimes called Crypto-Families. In this case, a hint is usually given to help guide the thought process, since a list will not have the filler words that can make a sentence easier to figure out.

The very newest of beginners probably need even more help than just a hint, sometimes in the form of an actual list of the letters of the real alphabet and the encoding letter for each one. Rather than provide that much help here, an intermediate form of help is provided for the puzzles below - giving just enough help for a beginner, but not too much - and that hint is listed right after the first list. Scroll fast, if you wish to skip over it.

These following lists all belong to the same topic or "family"; they are grouped by experience level and shown in the form of tables, to provide a space directly above each encoded word to write the guessed-at letters. The last two rows of each puzzle give two complete sets of the letters of the alphabet - one set is for correlating the actual letter with its cypher representation. The other alphabet set can be used to see quickly which letters have not been decoded yet.

So, for example, when you decide to replace the letter Q (in the Cyber Cypher) with your guess at the actual letter, you can write above the Q in the first alphabet which letter you have guessed. In the second alphabet, cross off that (guessed) letter. Then, when you have deciphered many of the letters of a word, but not all of them, and still can't guess what the word is, you can look at the uncrossed-letters in the second alphabet to see whether any of them might solve the word for you.

In case you haven't figured this out already, it's a good idea to use pencil to work a Cyber Cypher, until you have become a very confident cryptogram solver. Enjoy!

Level 1 Cyber Cypher

 
 
 
 
 
F O N P F  
 E P Q I P
E P H E N P  
E H N N 
G Q F F X H
 
 
 
 
 
E H E O N Q I P
P N P I A X H C  
 G Q N N H A
 E Q A F X H A X I
F P E O G N X I
 
 
 
 
 
C Q A X H C
I X A D
I H O C A D
I H O C A F D
N X G P F A D
 
 
 
 
 
A B C D E
F G H I J
K L M N O P
Q R S T U
V W X Y Z
A B C D E
F G H I J
K L M N O P
Q R S T U
V W X Y Z
One word in this list, when deciphered, is Republic.

Level 2 Cyber Cypher

 
 
 
 
 E H E O N Q A X H C
 C Q A X H C Q N
Z P C Q A H F
Z A Q A P
 
 
 
 
F P E F P Z P C A Q - A X M P
 M H A P
G F Q M P
Z O F M P D
 
 
 
 
M X N N Q B P
B H M P F C H F
              F P B X Z A F Q - A X H C
Q N N P B X Q C I P
 
 
 
 
E F P Z X L P C A
E N P L B P
              X C L P E P C L - P C I P
N P Q L P F
 
 
 
 
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M
N O P Q R S
T U V W X Y Z
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M
N O P Q R S
T U V W X Y Z
The same substitutions work for these words as for the words in the table up above. If you need help, decipher a few of those words and then carry the same code over to this list.

Level 3 Cyber Cypher

 
 
 
 
          I H C Z A X A O - A X H C
        I H C B F P Z -        Z X H C Q N
         X C W Q G X A - Q C A Z
B W P A A H
 
 
 
 
 E Q F X Z W
 I X A X J P C Z W X E
 Y N Q B
Y P L P F Q N
 
 
 
 
Y F P P L H R
W H R P N Q C L
Q R P C L R P C A
E F X R Q F D
 
 
 
 
B H M P F C R P C A
I H R R O C X A D
R Q D H F
E F H V P I A Z
 
 
 
 
N Q K
A H K C
A Q T Q A X H C
V O L X I X Q F D
 
 
 
 
A B C D E F
G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z
A B C D E F
G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z
The topic that joins all of the words in these lists is "people together." The encoded word XCUXDC in the explanatory text up above represents the word "people."

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