I am trying to postpone senility by following the experts who say that people my age should do word puzzles. What a great excuse to waste time! My favorite puzzles are cryptograms. Those are the ones that give you a phrase or paragraph coded by substituting letters of the alphabet for other letters. So PERFECT PEOPLE DON’T EXIST might be written GXLMXSW GXFGQX BAR’F XHUVW. The G is the substitute letter for the P and so on. Folks like myself can spot words like “people”easily by the arrangement and repitition of the letters. And a letter after an apostrophe is usually a T or S. A four letter word that begins and ends with the same letter is often THAT. If there is a three letter word that starts with the same as the first two letters of THAT, it is surely THE. And then you are on your way because there are almost always a lot of E’s in the puzzle. Anyone who is not into word puzzles has probably deleted the blog by now. Goodbye. You will never be selected to be on “Wheel of Fortune”.
There is a little known secret about cryptograms – it is a good way to educate people who are not generally interested in being educated. For example, I often see cryptograms in puzzle books that have messages about famous places. These will give you the name of a city and its state, for example, SLGGRFWXLT, SLGGRTXYC. Then it will give you a whole paragraph about that place. When you unscramble it, you might learn that this city is the birth place of Charles Schultz, originator of of the comic trip Peanuts. I happen to already know this because the city is the largest one in the state in which I live and the citizens make a big deal out of their association with Schultz.
Most of the time, cryptograms are meant to inspire or amuse with the quotes that they have selected. This is what I love most about them. Actually, the thing I love most is the doing of them. The quote is like the creamy middle of a Hostess Ho Ho.
I hit the jackpot about a month ago. I found a puzzle book that had nothing but cryptograms in it – 300 of them! I completed number 78 before my nap today. I thought I would share a few of the quotes that I discovered after I did my cryptomagic:
“Your most brilliant ideas come in a flash, but the flash comes only after a lot of hard work. Nobody gets a big idea when he is not relaxed and nobody gets a big idea when he is relaxed all the time.” Edward Blakeslee
“In high school, my sister went out with the captain of the chess team. My parents loved him. They figured that any guy that took hours to make a move was okay with them.” Brian Kiley
“It is far better for us to possess only a few maxims of philosophy that are nevertheless always at our command and in use than to acquire vast knowledge that notwithstanding serves no practical purpose.” Demetrius.
Demetrius is right, but I still like the maxims I get when I do cryptograms.