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A Brief Demonstration of Crypto!

Cryptogram Basics

A cryptogram (also called "cryptoquip" or "cryptoquote") is text that has been disguised by changing its letters. Crypto! uses a simple substitution cipher, for example all of the A's might be replaced with Q's, all of the B's with W's, etc. To solve the cryptogram, you must figure out which ordinary letter each letter in the puzzle stands for.

Knowing how often each letter appears in the puzzle is a big help, because in English text the most common letters are E, T, O, A, N, I, R, S, and H. (Some sources will give a permutation of the this list, but everyone agrees that E comes first.) Short words and common letter pairings are also clues to help you solve the puzzle.

Screen Layout

The Crypto! screen looks like this:

The main part of the window contains the ciphertext: the cryptogram puzzle to be solved. At the top of the right side of the screen are the plaintext letters that have not yet been used in the solution, and below that is a list showing the number of times each ciphertext letter appears in the puzzle. (Not shown in any of these screen images is the time and hint count section that appears beneath the letter frequencies.)

Making Guesses

In the puzzle above, ciphertext "k" probably stands for "a", because "a" and "I" are the only (common) one-letter words, and this one is not capitalized. To make this guess, click any "k" in the puzzle, then click "A" in the Unused Letters. Click the eyeball to see what this looks like.

Crypto! puts an "a" above every "k" in the puzzle--the beginnings of your solution!

You can also make guesses using the letter frequency panel. Observe that "C" is the most frequent ciphertext character; perhaps "C" stands for "E". Let's give that a try. Click the eyeball to see it.

Now the first word looks suspiciously like "The"; let's fill it in. Click the eyeball to see it.

Getting Hints

If you can't see what to do next, use a hint. A big hint gives you the answer for a commonly-used ciphertext character, while a little hint gives you a little-used one. Let's get a big hint. Click the eyeball to see it. Note that the hint automatically fills in the letter it has given you.

Using the Keyboard

You can use the keyboard instead of the mouse. To make a guess, just type the ciphertext letter (in lower case), then type the plaintext letter you think it stands for.

Undoing Mistakes

To undo a mistake, just point to either the plaintext or ciphertext character and right-click it. To undo a mistake using the keyboard, just type the ciphertext letter (in upper case) that you want to undo.


When you've guessed all the letters correctly, you win! If you've guessed all of the letters but the "Congratulations" box does not appear, there is something wrong--take another look.

Want more information?

You can find more information on Crypto!, including the price, by clicking here.

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