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Paperback Cryptorunes : Codes and Secret Writing Book

ISBN: 0764912518

ISBN13: 9780764912511

Cryptorunes : Codes and Secret Writing

This description may be from another edition of this product. This book is for thinkers of all ages who want to enter new mental worlds, stretch their intellect and imagination, and solve fascinating mysteries. Its one hundred language puzzles are rendered in an...

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Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Challenging and Thought Provoking!

I purchased this book after I had first gotten interested in Cryptograms. I found the puzzles to be a lot more fun than the standard Cryptograms just involving english characters because there are a number of twists in the codes which add a unique challenge. For example, some of the cyphers involve symbols that stand for more than one letter. This adds additional challenge to the cyphers because the same symbol may stand for M or D and a different symbol for I or Y. Hence, you have to try to determine in each instance which letter the symbol represents. As someone who is still improving at cryptograms, I have not solved all of the puzzles in this book. Nevertheless, that means that there are challenges that I can come back to solve at later times as I get better. Also, the history of different cryptograms and some of the stories that he shares are fun in satisfying some of my intellectual curiosity about the history of cryptograms.

An interesting collection of puzzles

In this book, Clifford Pickover creates a collection of substitution ciphers where the characters to be replaced are original to Pickover, appeared in literature or are from ancient languages. Runes are stick like figures used in Northern European countries into the sixteenth or seventeenth century. More than just characters in an alphabet, they were also used for magic and divination. Many of the problems are expressed using runes, which makes them appear more difficult than they are. The core of the book is a series of 100 quotations or expressions encoded via a substitution cipher. While some are challenging, after you do a few, many become rather easy. An unencrypted, explanatory message appears with most of them, and in the case of quotations, the message reveals who the author is. Since that persons name is coded at the bottom, once you know the name and how the attribution appears, the problem is half solved. Nevertheless, the book did keep my interest, although in many cases, I found myself converting the given characters into the English alphabet before attempting to solve the problem. There is also a chapter containing seventeen puzzles that together make up a contest. The first five who solve all seventeen will earn a set of small prizes. If you are a fan of puzzles, you are always on the lookout for new ones. While most are not true stumpers, the use of the unusual characters does make them more difficult and it held my interest throughout. Solving these problems will keep everyone but experts involved for some time. If you find yourself overwhelmed, solutions to all but the contest problems are in the back of the book.

Pickover's puzzling nature strikes again

Clifford Pickover truly seems to be a Renissance man. His previous forays into conundrums and puzzles have ranged from time travel to hyperspace to infinity.This time, its cryptography. While some of the aspects of these puzzles might be hard for some novices, and I could wish for room and space to more easily work on the puzzles, the puzzles themselves are a joy to play with.If you like cryptographic analysis, enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, or want to try a brain teaser of a different sort, then you might want to delve into Cryptorunes.

An entertaining book of mind puzzles and exercises

If you have time to spare and a desire to exercise your mind in an entertaining way, then take a look at this book.It is not *just* a puzzle book, there is plenty of fact and anecdote to interest you as well. The main theme of the book is simple cryptography, as described in the works of Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe. Obviously you cannot decipher relatively modern cryptograms such as those produced by the Germans in the last world war without a lot of time and a computer, but in previous times when the average person was a lot less well educated many simple codes were baffling to most readers and could maintain secrecy.Understanding how these simple cyphers work and may be "broken" is the first step to understanding modern cryptography.

Cliff Pickover is making me stay up late!

Cliff Pickover is making me stay up late with his new book Cryptorunes. This book is a wonderful and remarkable collection of puzzles, stories of cryptography and a history of Runes. This is not an average puzzle book of cryptograms. Cliff goes many steps further and brings the reader an added level of difficulty and an added dimension of enjoyment. The variety of puzzles that the reader can solve range from the simple one symbol equals one letter to much the much tougher where more than one symbol can equal a letter or one symbol can equal more than one letter. Cliff also offers the reader very challenging puzzles with no solution in the back of the book. Be the first to crack those codes!
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