Are Crytoquip the Same as Cryptograms? A Look at These Word Puzzles


crytoquip and cryptograms are two similar types of word puzzles that involve deciphering encrypted text to reveal a hidden message. Both puzzles are popular among puzzle solvers looking for a fun mental challenge. But what exactly are cryptoquips and cryptograms, and how are they different from one another?

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This article will take an in-depth look at these encrypted word puzzles to understand their similarities and differences. We’ll also discuss the safety of solving these puzzles from a cybersecurity perspective.

Defining Cryptograms

A cryptogram is a puzzle where a short piece of encrypted text needs to be deciphered to reveal a famous quote or phrase. The encryption is done through a simple letter substitution cipher. Each letter of the alphabet is replaced with a different letter or symbol. For example, ‘A’ could be replaced with ‘X’. The same substitution is used throughout the puzzle.

Cryptogram puzzles frequently appear in puzzle books and newspapers alongside crosswords, word searches, and sudoku. They provide an engaging cerebral challenge for teens, adults, and seniors looking to exercise their logic and pattern recognition. Solvers must analyze letter frequency and word patterns to crack the code and solve the cryptogram.

Defining Crytoquip

A crytoquip is a type of cryptogram that also uses a substitution cipher to encrypt a quote or phrase. However, cryptoquips have a few distinct features that set them apart from regular cryptograms:

  • The encrypted quote is witty or humorous in nature, often involving a pun or play on words.
  • The quote is attributed to the author/celebrity at the end.
  • Once deciphered, the result should read like normal text and make sense.

Cryptoquips are commonly seen in newspaper and magazine puzzle sections. The most famous examples appear in the American magazine Reader’s Digest under the heading ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’. Solvers must decipher the punny quote to get the laugh.

Similarities between Cryptograms and Crytoquip

While cryptograms and cryptoquips have some differences, their core encryption method and solving techniques are the same:

  • Both use a simple letter substitution cipher to encrypt text.
  • Solvers analyze letter frequency patterns and deduct probable words to break the code.
  • Logic and patience are needed to decipher them correctly.
  • Provide a mental workout and hours of entertainment for puzzle fans.
  • Appear alongside other word puzzles like crossword and sudoku.
  • Feature hidden messages as the final solved text.

Essentially, a cryptoquip is a specialized cryptogram with its own formatting conventions. The fundamental encryption and solving methods are identical.

Differences between Cryptograms and Crytoquip

The main differences between standard cryptograms and cryptoquips are:

  • Text type – Cryptograms can hide any type of short quote or text. Cryptoquips always encipher humorous puns or witty jokes specifically.
  • Attribution – Cryptoquips credit the quote to a celebrity or fictional character at the end once solved. Cryptograms may or may not provide an attribution.
  • Legibility – The deciphered text of a cryptoquip should read like a proper sentence and make sense. Cryptogram solutions don’t necessarily have to be legible phrases.
  • Wordplay – Crytoquip often involve clever wordplay and puns. Regular cryptograms can have any type of hidden message.
  • Difficulty – Cryptoquips are generally tougher to crack than standard cryptograms due to the wordplay and expectation of a legible phrase as the final solution.

So in short, while cryptograms and cryptoquips both use encryption codes to hide messages, cryptoquips follow specific formatting conventions that set them apart as a distinct genre of word puzzles.

A Brief History of Cryptograms and Crytoquip

Cipher puzzles have been used throughout history to send secret messages. But recreational cryptograms emerged in the 19th century for entertainment purposes. Publisher and puzzle creator Aristides Sousa Mendes is credited with pioneering the modern cryptogram in the late 1800s. crytoquip, on the other hand, were popularized in the 1920s by the legendary puzzle inventor Helen G. Mittwer. She devised a weekly cryptoquip column filled with puns and zingers for the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1922. The puzzles were an instant hit with readers. Cryptoquips went national when Reader’s Digest launched its first installment in 1928. Funny cryptoquips have since become the magazine’s signature puzzle feature for almost a century now.

So while cryptograms have been around longer, cryptoquips emerged in the 20th century and distinguished themselves as a unique pun-based cryptogram format. Both continue to have a dedicated following among recreational solvers.

Helpful Tips for Solving Cryptograms and Crytoquip

Here are some useful strategies for cracking cryptograms and crytoquip:

  • Search for 1 or 2 letter words which are likely ‘A’ or ‘I’. This gives you a foothold to start deducing other letters.
  • Identify commonly repeated letters as probable ‘E’, ‘T’, or ‘O’.
  • Look for word patterns and frequent letter combinations like ‘ING’ ‘TION’ ‘TH’ etc.
  • Try out the deciphered letters in probable words and phrases to check if they make sense.
  • For cryptoquips, think of puns, homophones, and play on words that might match the deciphered letters.
  • Use online tools like to help if you get stuck on longer puzzles.
  • Don’t get deterred by failure. These puzzles involve trial and error. Rework the letters and keep trying.

Starting with the most commonly used letters in the English language is a good way to begin breaking the code. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be cracking cryptograms and cryptoquips like a pro!

Are Cryptograms and Crytoquip Safe to Solve?

Cryptograms and Crytoquip themselves are completely harmless puzzles to solve. In fact, regularly solving them has cognitive benefits including improved critical thinking, concentration, and pattern recognition. However, one must exercise caution regarding puzzle sources, especially when accessing or downloading online.

Here are some tips to safely enjoy cryptograms and crytoquip:

  • Only download puzzle apps and software from authentic providers like app stores or official websites. Avoid third party sites.
  • Check app ratings and reviews before installing on your device. Be wary of apps that require unnecessary permissions or seem suspicious.
  • Solve cryptograms and cryptoquips from trusted print sources like Reader’s Digest or reputed puzzle books.
  • Never enter any sensitive personal data if required by a puzzle app. Restrict permissions if possible.
  • Use a reliable antivirus on devices used to access online puzzles as an added precaution.
  • Avoid clicking random web links promoting free cryptograms or crytoquip as they may harbour malware.

By being careful and selective regarding your puzzle sources, you can safely enjoy the rewarding mental stimulation of cracking cryptograms and cryptoquips. It provides hours of edifying entertainment with no risks if basic cybersecurity precautions are followed.

Fun Variations of Cryptograms and Crytoquip

While classic cryptograms and crytoquip are already challenging and engaging, some exciting variations provide a fresh new twist:

  • Double cryptograms – The same ciphertext conceals two different messages depending on how it is deciphered. Solvers must crack the code two different ways.
  • Progressive cryptograms – Later encryption rounds build upon the previous ones. You carry forward your cipher deductions to the next stage.
  • Themed cryptograms – These special cryptograms hide quotes related to a specific theme like movies, books, politics etc adding an extra contextual layer.
  • Cryptogram crosswords – The across and down clues are encrypted. You solve the crossword and decipher the cryptogram together.
  • Numeric cryptograms – Instead of letters, the text is encrypted using only numbers 0-9 adding an extra decoding dimension.
  • Geometric cryptograms – Symbols, shapes and emojis instead of letters are used to encipher the text in these visual cryptograms.

Whatever your skill level, there’s a unique cryptogram or cryptoquip out there to challenge your wits and provide fulfilling entertainment.


Cryptograms and crytoquip are engrossing textual puzzles that have delighted solvers for generations using simple letter substitution ciphers. While similar in their fundamental approach, cryptoquips distinguish themselves through their humorous pun-based format with attributed quotes. Both puzzles provide excellent mental stimulation and satisfaction when solved through logic and pattern recognition. As long as basic cybersecurity precautions are taken regarding puzzle sources, solving cryptograms and cryptoquips is a harmless and rewarding hobby for all ages.

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