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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cryptograms for the uninitiated
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...
Published on December 18, 2009 by EllenE.

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you might think
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...
Published on October 22, 2010 by Johnbo


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you might think, October 22, 2010
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cryptograms for the uninitiated, December 18, 2009
By 
EllenE. (Chandler, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, November 13, 2009
By 
N. Coleman (Annapolis, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Codes & Cryptograms for DUMMIES, November 17, 2009
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book to Introduce You to the World of Cryptograms and Ciphers, December 28, 2009
By 
Vienna64 (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the smart kids, December 20, 2009
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This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (Paperback)
Oh boy! Where was this book when I was a lad? I would have eaten it up entirely. I was always big on codes, and did my share of counting letters, learning weird alphabets and writing my secret thoughts in my diary so that only I could read them.

I don't have any secrets anymore, certainly not from members of my family, but I've maintained the interest. Two of the most treasured books on my bookshelf are Applied Cryptography and Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945.

This book has it all and cryptic crosswords. There's a short historical and introductory section giving the background to codes and cryptograms, outlining ways of making and breaking them, and then we get into the meat of the action. There are coded puzzles to be solved. Some easy, some more challenging. Hints are provided for those having difficulty, and if you are really, totally stuck, the solutions are right at the end.

But it's not just a list of crypto puzzles. There's three real life and little-known conspiracy stories for the reader to work out, using the puzzles that make up the rest of the book.

I'd like to say that there's hours of fun in this book, but there's not. Days and weeks of fun for a grown-up kid.

Highly recommended for the clever kids. Of all ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners and symbologists alike, December 9, 2009
By 
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (Paperback)
As a person interested in word puzzles but with no historical knowledge of ciphers, I found this book to be very well-balanced. The book introduces several types of cryptograms and ciphers, many of which I was unfamiliar with, and I didn't feel like I needed previous experience to dive right in and start cracking the codes.

A feature I found interesting was the section on conspiracy theories, tying all the puzzles together and using the solutions from the other puzzles to form the complete story.

Having three different difficulty levels for each type of cipher was really helpful in developing my strategies for solving them. The beginning of the book gives you common tips and tricks, and the back of the book has a section that includes a hint for every puzzle. I love that, because if you really get stuck it gives you one extra chance before you look up the solution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind stretching - fun and educational. What a great book!, February 11, 2010
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (Paperback)
This was such a fun book!

Learning about the history and symbology behind many fo the codes meant that the fun bit of code-cracking didn't happen in isolation. I would have loved this book as a child and can hardly wait until my kids are old enough to start working through it.

I imagine teachers will have a ball with this, and their students will be almost learning by stealth. The section on conspiracies was fascinating, and having the different levels for each puzzle made it such fun.

I'll definitely be returning to this one, and looking for more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, July 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (Paperback)
The book provided a variety of codes and revealed interesting stories and historical information through the coded messages. I would highly recommend.
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1.0 out of 5 stars YOU get what you PAY FOR, March 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies (Paperback)
This book is NOT up to its
"DUMMIES" series, and is NOT
worth your time. The price is
FAIR, all it needs is content.
..
Harold P Boushell
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Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies
Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies by Denise Sutherland (Paperback - November 2, 2009)
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