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Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-59100-0
342 pages
November 2009
Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (0470591005) cover image
The fast and easy way to crack codes and cryptograms

Did you love Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol? Are you fascinated by secret codes and deciphering lost history? Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies shows you how to think like a symbologist to uncover mysteries and history by solving cryptograms and cracking codes that relate to Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, the Illuminati, and other secret societies and conspiracy theories.

You'll get easy-to-follow instructions for solving everything from the simplest puzzles to fiendishly difficult ciphers using secret codes and lost symbols.

  • Over 350 handcrafted cryptograms and ciphers of varying types
  • Tips and tricks for cracking even the toughest code
  • Sutherland is a syndicated puzzle author; Koltko-Rivera is an expert on the major symbols and ceremonies of Freemasonry

With the helpful information in this friendly guide, you'll be unveiling mysteries and shedding light on history in no time!

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Foreword ix

Introduction 1

Part I: Code and Cryptogram Strategies 7

Chapter 1: Clueing You In about Codes and Cryptograms 9

Chapter 2: Cracking the Codes 21

Part II: Secret Stories, Codes, and Cryptogram Puzzles 47

Chapter 3: Solving Three Conspiracies 49

Chapter 4: Letter Substitution Cryptograms 95

Chapter 5: Number Substitution Cryptograms 123

Chapter 6: Symbol Substitution Cryptograms 155

Chapter 7: Caesar / Shift Ciphers 177

Chapter 8: Masonic Ciphers 197

Chapter 9: Rail Fence Ciphers 219

Chapter 10: Keyboard Codes 235

Chapter 11: Assorted Ciphers 251

Chapter 12: Anagrams and Cryptic Clues 261

Chapter 13: Double Level Puzzles 269

Part III: Hints and Answers to the Cryptos and Codes 277

Chapter 14: Hints to Help Crack the Cryptograms and Puzzles 279

Chapter 15: Answers to All Cryptograms and Puzzles 295

Appendix: Historical Background to the Conspiracy Stories 323


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Denise Sutherland is a syndicated puzzle author. Her puzzles appear in a range of publications, including the Reader's Digest Mind Stretchers series, and she is the author of Word Searches For Dummies.

Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, PhD, is a 32degree Freemason and expert on the major symbols and ceremonies of Freemasonry. Using this expertise, he analyzed prepublication clues to uncover and blog about key elements of The Lost Symbol. He co-hosts the weekly podcast Masonic Central.

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November 16, 2009
Step into a Symbologist's Shoes with CRACKING CODES & CRYPTOGRAMS FOR DUMMIES®

In The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown capitalized on society's love of conspiracy and took millions of readers through the journey of revealing the secrets and clues left by some of the world's most powerful and enigmatic secret societies. In his latest book The Lost Symbol, Brown uses cryptography, keys, symbols, and codes to help his characters reveal the truth piece by piece, puzzle by puzzle. Now, the For Dummies series allows readers to step into the shoes of symbologist-hero Robert Langdon, uncovering mysteries and history by solving cryptograms and deciphering codes that relate to Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, the Illuminati, and other secret societies and conspiracy theories.

Cracking Codes & Cryptograms For Dummies features more than 300 different puzzles of varying skill levels, from the simplest substitution puzzles to fiendishly difficult ciphers. The book is unique in that there are three conspiracy stories, set in the times of the American Revolutionary War, American Civil War, and the present day, which are encrypted through the book - to uncover the stories you need to crack the ciphers!

The types of puzzles include:

  • Cryptograms with letter substitutions, number substitutions (A=1, B=2, etc.), and symbol substitutions (A=2666, B=263c, etc.).
  • Caesar Ciphers—also called Shift Ciphers, where there is a shift of number of letters in the alphabet
  • Masonic Ciphers—a collection of real symbols and ciphers used by Masons for hundreds of years, including the substitution cipher exchanging letters for symbols based on a grid design (also known as the Pigpen Cipher).
  • Rail Fence Ciphers—in this type of transposition cipher, a message is written along a zig-zag path, across two to five lines (or rails), and then broken into sets of letters.
  • Caesar Box Ciphers—messages are written down the columns of a grid, and transcribed by row by row. 
  • Keyboard Ciphers—using cell phones and computer keyboards to create ciphers.
  • Twisted Path Ciphers—the message is written into a grid, along a winding path, and then transcribed row by row.
  • Anagrams and Wordplay
  • Double level Ciphers--by solving one cryptogram you get a keyword, which then allows you to crack the encryption on a different kind of puzzle.

Cracking Codes & Cryptograms For Dummies is perfect for anyone who is a fan of word games, mysteries, Dan Brown novels, and secret societies. It is also for game enthusiasts who are looking for challenging puzzles that tax not only their logic, but their imagination as well!

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