Thursday, May 14, 2009

A new drug

Okay, here's a reason it's actually a good thing that I've been out of work for a while: because it gives me more time to devote to my latest addiction, online cryptograms. The Puzzle Baron's site,, makes the mechanics of solving them much simpler and more straightforward than it is with a pencil and paper. If you fill in one letter substitution, it automatically changes every occurrence of that letter to match. If you decide you've made a mistake, you just change or delete the letter you and the same change appears throughout the entire puzzle. If you decide you've messed the whole thing up entirely, you can just hit "reset" and it will delete everything and give you a blank slate again. You can even set it to show letter frequencies (so that if you aren't sure where to begin, you can just try guessing that the most commonly occurring letter is "E" and see where that gets you) and to advance the cursor automatically (moving ahead to each new unassigned letter as you type).

All this makes it possible to solve a single medium-length quotation in roughly one minute. And since that was so quick, you feel perfectly justified in clicking "Try another cryptogram" to move on to another. And another. And another. And before you know it the entire bag of Oreos is empty.

I'm going to have to figure out some way to ration my use of this site once I actually have paid work to do again. Otherwise, I'll keep logging on for a five-minute work break and emerging again two hours later.

1 comment:

Amy K said...

I really wish I hadn't clicked on that link. You pusher, you! :-)