Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

June 2009

Cryptogram

Exercise has always been touted. Sit-ups, push-ups, chin-ups, plus running, lifting, stretching, yadda, yadda — great stuff. Always has been. 

But more and more — probably since I’ve been receiving “the world’s largest-circulation magazine” — exercise for the brain is considered a must, along with moderate consumption of good things to eat and drink and strict avoidance of bad things like tobacco.

Therefore, I have doused the smoking lamp with great reluctance, eat about as much fish per month as a small shark, walk, bike, yawn. To keep my great brain atrophy-free, I start the day with puzzles. I do crosswords, Sudokus, up-and-downs, jumbles, and, lately, cryptograms.

Therein lies my problem. Ego crisis, I guess. There is a site featuring cryptograms — tons of cryptograms. You see one in the paper, it typically spots you one clue, as in “P = T,” meaning that when you see a four-letter word coded “PBQP,” it probably is “t-h-a-t.” Maybe “t-e-n-t,” “t-e-s-t,” not likely “t-e-a-t,” “t-o-r-t,” or “t-a-c-t.” Anyway, on this website, the puzzles are longer, but it gives you most of the vowels, so “x-y-z” has to be “y-o-u” if y = o and x = u.

It turns out that most of the puzzles are quotes from little-known proverbs —Ben Franklin, Plato, Einstein, Brits you think you should have heard of, and folks like that. 

Here comes my ego problem. I’m blazing away, solving these bits of wit and wisdom, when all of a sudden, I’m faced, not with some obscure Thomas Jefferson rave, but a quote from Madonna!

Freakin’ Madonna said something worth quoting?

Madonna is, like, equal to Dorothy Parker? Ayn Rand? Ohmygosh! 

What the hey? Why not me? 

Hint: W = P

ZRDAPGDD WGBWKG AD QCGPQM-NAJG MGXED BKH, DB KBPF XD MBR NAFREG AQ DQXEQGH BRQ XD ZRDAPGDD HAFGDQ. JBKRLG IIJA ADDRG 1.

For the translation, mouse over here.