Thursday, 19 February 2015

Finish This Book: Code Cracking

I remember when I was at primary school and we had one of those book fairs come. You know the ones, you get a little brochure of all the books you can buy to take home for your parents to look at to see what looks suitable, and you’re allowed to go down there in the middle of the school day to look at all the really cool books, then you get to disagree with your parents about what they want to buy and what you think they should buy you. I imagine these days they have plenty of books about loom banding and One Direction alongside all the easy readers and classic books with pictures which make them look attractive to children.

Well, at one of these book fairs they had a book that looks like a brown briefcase with Top Secret all over it and I wanted it. It was a guide to being a secret agent and was full of all sorts of techniques that you could use to spy on people and identify criminals. There were little puzzles in it as well as tips and tricks to tell whether or not someone had broken into your office (or bedroom). This led to me stretching hairs across my doorframe when I left and sprinkling liberal amounts of talcum powder on my bedroom floor to tell if anyone had been in while I was out.

(I had a bit of a talcum powder infatuation when I was younger as I also used to use it when I played ‘A Little Princess’ and had to ‘dust’ and clean all day).

Anyway, one of the things that the detective book had in it was using codes to pass on secret messages. As I didn’t have anyone to pass these secret messages with, this was a little bit tricky for me, but I did enjoy it. So when I came to the Code Cracking section of Finish This Book I couldn’t help but be reminded of my detective book.

We’ve got a few of different types of code breaker. One’s a ‘Substitution Cipher Wheel’ which you cut out from the back and can use to figure out what a coded sentence means, provided you know what the ‘key letter’ is. The other is a ‘Diagrammatic Cipher’ which is where symbols are used instead of letters. The last one is a ‘Transposition Cipher’ which is written in a particular format, like a grid, which when rearranged reveals the message. Once these are explained and some examples are given then it’s your turn to have a go at figuring out some messages over the page.

And I had good fun with it. Though I think there are either some deliberate mistakes or I did something wrong because some things didn’t quite make sense. I’m sure that all will be explained later in the book. In the meantime I’m just going to have fun playing around with my Secret Intelligence Training.


  1. what is the name of this book please?

  2. There have to be mistakes in this because A does not equal R. I got really frustrated with the first code.

  3. I also got really frustrated with the A=R codes:(


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