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Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies Paperback – Nov 2 2009

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Not what you might think Oct. 22 2010
By Johnbo - Published on
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book looking to get something that would give me basic understanding of many different types of codes and cryptograms. But what I ended up with instead was more of a workbook made almost entirely of puzzles using various different cryptology methods. Out of 336 pages, there are exactly 37 pages on history and code descriptions. The rest of the book consists of puzzles that have to be figured out by using what was written in the first two chapters.

If you are wanting something simply to add to your collection of sudoku and crossword books, you might enjoy this for a decent mental workout. But if your goal is to learn a little something about all the different codes that are out there, you may wish to look somewhere else.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Cryptograms for the uninitiated Dec 18 2009
By EllenE. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I thought I was familiar with cryptograms--you know, those letter-substitution puzzles found in the paper. And I wondered how one could produce an entire book dedicated to those puzzles. Well, turns out those are just the tip of the cryptogram iceberg. This book has some of those, but also nine more types of cryptograms and ciphers for your puzzling pleasure.

The book starts with a very brief history of cryptograms, ciphers, and codes, and their used throughout history. I do wish there had been a bit more on codebreaking.

But this book is really about solving these types of puzzles, and it has plenty of them. They make up the bulk of the book. From substitution cryptograms to Masonic ciphers to keyboard codes and beyond--this book will keep even the fastest solver busy for months (and those of us who are a bit slower--probably years!). And if you get stuck, there's a section that offers clues to the puzzles.

There's also a twist to all the puzzles: they're all part of a broader story solved by inserting the completed cryptos into the text. This not only gives an incentive to solve all the puzzles, but also adds an element of difficulty: rather than each puzzle being a famous quotation (like the newspaper version), it's instead a seemingly random sentence or phrase.

If this really whets your appetite for the world of cryptography, the authors give a few references for further study. If you'd like to read a good fiction book on the subject, I highly recommend Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great book Nov. 13 2009
By N. Coleman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book. I bought it so I could write messages to my students in code and found that it is sooo much more. It is very easy to read and really hooks you in right from the beginning.

There is a lot more to this book than first glance. It explained a lot about how to do codes & cryptograms and write them as well for me (at a beginners level), but it was also really interesting for my husband who has studied formal logic & loves these sorts of brain twisters.

This one is worth buying - I'm thinking of buying another one so we aren't fighting all the time over who gets to read it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Cracking Codes & Cryptograms for DUMMIES Nov. 17 2009
By David S. Brockman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having read "Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies" I believe that the book has a great deal of historic information. It also gives a lot of general information on how ciphers are made and used from when to now. The book also has a large amount of practice ciphers to help with understanding. I found the book to be extremely enlightening and would recommend it for anyone interested in cryptology.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Great Book to Introduce You to the World of Cryptograms and Ciphers Dec 28 2009
By Vienna64 - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book does provide background on codes and their history and explains how to go about decoding them. However, the book is also a collection of great codes and related puzzles (351 of them) to tackle, providing many hours of challenging fun. The puzzles are all excellent and the difficulty rating provided with each one is a fairly accurate guide. To add to the challenge there are links between the puzzles and also a story to complete based on the answers to the puzzles which I thought was a good idea although as a non-American I found the setting of the story in the US both unnecessary and a little irritating.

The puzzles not only vary in difficulty but also in type. There are cryptograms with various substitutions (my favourites), shift ciphers, masonic, rail fence and keyboard ciphers as well as anagrams and cryptic riddles. This variety kept the puzzles interesting and challenging as I worked through the book and was also educational as some of these were new to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and it was the first book I reached for when I wanted to relax.