Creating an interactive cryptogram solver (Part II)


Execute Interactive Solver

In Part I of this series we started creating the framework for our solver by creating the Cipher and Aristocrat classes. You are probably thinking “This is a series about interactive solvers but this is all code!” Well, the classes inheriting from Cipher will be the ones doing all the work in our solver. In this part of the series we will finally create the CipherSolver class that will work with the Cipher classes to interactively get the work done. So lets just jump right into the code so we can finally get to our first working solver, the AristocratSolver class!

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Creating an interactive cryptogram solver (Part I)


Execute Interactive Solver

In this post we’ll first analyze what we are trying to accomplish and then begin to create an extensible framework that will allow us to adapt our solver to many different kinds of ciphers.

Building the framework

Our main goal is to create an extensible interactive solver, so lets break down the similarities that all ciphers have.  You’ve got to think really generic here. All ciphers have the following similarities:

  1. They manipulate some kind of text.
  2. They have an encryption algorithm.
  3. They have a decryption algorithm.

Continue reading “Creating an interactive cryptogram solver (Part I)”

Creating an interactive cryptogram solver (Introduction)


Execute Interactive Solver

I’ve been a member of the ACA (American Cryptogram Association) for about a year now.  I started out solving Aristocrats and Patristocrats with pen and paper.  It was definitely a slow start as trial and error created a lot of eraser dust on my desk.  Being a programmer by trade, my brain instantly sees how I could speed up the process using computers and programming.  Now, I didn’t want to ruin the sense of accomplishment that I got when I solved my first Aristocrat by hand by making the computer just do all the work for me.  It has taken much constraint for me not to write an automatic solver.  The happy medium I found was with computer assisted solving.  Let the computer do all the tedious manual labor and let my mind work on the actual solving process and techniques.

I started writing my own interactive solver about a month after I joined the ACA and I wanted to share my experience with others.  Hopefully, someone will find this information useful or it might inspire them to delve into cryptography or programming.

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Portable Google App Engine For Windows


Update: An enhanced version of this tutorial has been published that is a lot more efficient and more powerful.

Recently, I’ve been playing with Google App Engine.   It is a neat platform and I wanted to take it around with me so I could develop anywhere. To get a portable version of Google App Engine for Windows you need to download the following:

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Python 2.6 on the eeePC


Recently, I purchased an eeePC because they were on sale and I wanted a small netbook that I could use as my primary solving computer for Cryptograms.  I’m new to Linux so starting out was a little rough.  I really wanted to get Python 2.6 running so that I could use the latest features of the language (Native SQLite support). Below are the steps I took to get everything working the way I wanted it to.

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