Cryptograms: Torture or Teacher?


2014-0708 rosetta_stone_hieroglyphsI am not affiliated in any way with the British Museum or the company that created the puzzle in this post. I did not, and will not, receive any compensation for linking to the British Museum, using the puzzle in this post, or linking to the company that shared the free, downloadable puzzle. My motivation for featuring the puzzle is to provide survivors and caregivers a sample of the type of puzzle I found helpful during my recovery from brain cancer, surgeries, chemo, and radiation. Solving a cryptogram is difficult for me, but simply attempting to solve a cryptogram is a fantastic cognitive exercise.


According to the site Wordles, a cryptogram is a “phrase or quote that has been encrypted by simple letter substitution.” For example, “the phrase ‘This is a cryptogram’ might turn into the encrypted phrase:

Cryptogram Example

In this cryptogram you can see that throughout the phrase the letter ‘T’ has been replaced by the letter ‘F,’ the letter ‘A’ has been substituted with ‘U,’ and so on. Caution: the letter substitution in the example may or may not help you solve the puzzle in this post or any other cryptogram puzzle. The example is for information and clarity only.

One final rule – a letter can never be substituted with itself.”


2014-0708 Cryptquote 8

Tips and Strategies

Do not read anything in this section unless you are absolutely certain you need help solving the puzzle. The following tips and strategies apply to all cryptograms which have  a solution in English. The tips and strategies are not specific to the puzzle in this post.

  • Common English words include at least one vowel.
  • Common single-letter English words are “A” and “I.”
  • Common two-letter English words are”AT,” “BE,” “BY,” “DO,” “GO,” “IN,” “MY,” “NO,” “ON,” “SO,” “TO,” and “UP.”
  • Common three-letter English words include “ARE,” “ONE,” “THE” and “YOU.”
  • Common four-letter English words are “THAN,” “THEN,” “WHEN,” and “YOUR.”
  • Common four-letter patterns in which the first and last letter are the same, such as “BACB” at the word “THAT” in a cryptogram with an English solution.
  • Common English letter combinations are “CH,” “OO,” “TH,” and “SH.”


Although the puzzle featured in this post uses English letters as the cypher for an English solution, that is not always the case.

  • Solutions could be written in any language.
  • Puzzles may use an English cypher.
  • Puzzles may use a foreign-language cypher.
  • Puzzles may use a numeric cypher.
  • Puzzles may use a symbolic cypher.
  • Puzzle may use some or all of the cyphers listed above.


Click here to read another post in the Torture or Teacher puzzle series.

Thanks to the British Museum which houses the Rosetta Stone; Wordles for providing the instructions and example ; CryptoQuote whose puzzle I used in this post; Robert Orben whose quote was turned into a puzzle; Wikipedia for providing a bio of Robert Orben; Google for helping me find the puzzle I wanted to use in this post; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to use the picture, puzzle, and text that appears in this post.

Click here and scroll to the 2nd page to view the puzzle solution.


    1. Nancy, thank you for the feedback. I have now written several posts about different types of puzzles that I found helpful during my journey of recovery. The list includes cryptograms, word ladders, ABCD puzzles, fill-in puzzles, hidden objects, Mind Benders, and Sudoku. I am currently writing a jig saw puzzle post. What type of puzzle am I missing? What type of puzzle works best for you? ~ Scott

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