Cryptogram decoder

Jim Hurley jhurley at
Mon Apr 12 20:39:42 EDT 2004

I confess to an obsession with cryptograms. It is the first thing I 
go to in the morning paper.

Once in a while I get really stuck, so I have built a cheat for 
myself in RR. It is a cryptogram decoder utility.

I suspect someone has surely developed a crossword puzzle utility, 
but decoding crytograms is a little different.

For example suppose the encrypted word were


Each capital letter is a stand-in for another. There is information 
here that is useful, namely the first and last letters of the decoded 
word are the same, as are the second and fifth. Suppose one also knew 
from other words in the puzzle that C stands for the letter s. One 
would enter into the decoder:


The decoder recognizes numbers as stand-ins for like letters, and the 
letter  s for a known letter, and the asterisk for an unknown letter.

Running the decoder with this entry would reveal:


as possible candidates. (Unfortunately it also finds: misaim and 
rester. This dictionary contains a great many esoteric words.)

I used a public domain word list of 113,000 words which I found on 
the web. This alone might be useful to someone.

The decoder is on my web site at:


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