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CryptoQuote - A quick and fun cypher solving game Pick of the Week
CryptoQuote imageThe macosxhints Rating:
10 of 10
[Score: 10 out of 10]
I was Googling for something completely unrelated the other day, and (as is often the case), wound up finding something I wasn't even looking for. In this case, that something happened to be CryptoQuote by John Haney, whose utility Backdrop was a previous Pick of the Week selection.

Back in the day when I still had most of the hair on top of my head, my workday didn't start at 4:30am, and there was no "Kylie factor" involved in my leisure time, I used to enjoy solving cryptoquotes in the daily paper. (A cryptoquote is a simple letter-substitution cypher, with each letter of the alphabet randomly replaced by some other letter.) But then, times changed, the paper dropped the cryptoquotes, and I generally lost interest in them. Until I stumbled on John's wonderful CryptoQuote app.

This isn't an overly complex application, given the relatively simplicity of cryptoquotes. Still, the interface is well thought out. You can play the game entirely from the keyboard, for instance. Type a letter you see in the puzzle, and then type its replacement, and you see it appear. Undo a selection by hitting Delete. Stuck? Get a hint, and those letter appear in another color, letting you know just how lame your brain was for that particular puzzle. Need some help with letter counts? You can slide out a drawer showing the distribution of most-commonly-used letters for both English in general and the puzzle being played.

In the free version, there are 75 puzzles to solve, along with the daily puzzle and monthly 'big one' from cryptoquote.com. You can also enter a custom puzzle (if you've got one in print, for instance), or convert a quote into a cryptoquote (see the Pick of the Week box, for instance!). For your $5.00 registration, you gain access to 1,524 puzzles, as well as any historical daily or monthly puzzle from cryptoquote.com. Not a bad deal for $5.00. Perhaps best of all, CyrptoQuote is easy to fire up and play for a few minutes, and obviously doesn't tax your CPU or graphics card -- it's a perfect PowerBook game for travel, in other words. And at only $5.00, it was a pretty painless purchase decision...
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