Decryption is a type of puzzle extraction method, often turning non-letters into letters, sometimes turning letters into different letters, and very rarely turning non-letters into different non-letters.

Codes and ciphers are the heart of decryption-based extractions, but not everything that falls into this category is something invented for the purpose of obscuring information. Some things we consider to be decryptions are just communication methods for specific circumstances that aren't common enough for the majority of people to be fluent in them. As such, most decryption extraction methods can be described as a code or cipher (encryption developed to purposefully hide/obscure information), or a communication (system invented to optimize particular types of communication rather than hide meaning).

Codes and Ciphers[edit | edit source]

  • Alphanumeric, a.k.a. A1Z26 - The representation of letters as number based on their position in the alphabet. Example: CIPHER --> 3-9-16-8-5-18
  • Beaufort Cipher - Uses a key and plaintext system similar to Vigenere, but simpler.
  • Book Cipher - Numbers indicating a combination of chapter, page, paragraph, line, word, and/or letter in a particular book. All you need to do is find the right book.
  • Caesar Cipher - The whole alphabet gets moved forward by a number of spaces (often 13). Example: ABC --> NOP
  • Commercial Code - Words, phrases, and entire sentences reduced to single "words" (note: not always actual words).
  • Dancing Men - Invented for a Sherlock Holmes story, it replaces letters with stick figures in various poses.
  • Pigpen - A picture-based cipher, changing letters into angular shapes with or without dots in the middle of them.
  • Simple Substitution Cipher - A catch-all for any one-to-one substitution-based ciphers that aren't prominent enough to have their own page.

Communications[edit | edit source]

  • American Sign Language (ASL) - Intended as a method of communication of letters, words, and phrases for deaf individuals, it's gained popularity as just a useful skill for anyone to have.
  • ASCII - Numerical code used by computers to represent letters, digits, spaces and punctuation marks. Considered obsolete for real use (no support for non-English languages) but alive and well in hunt puzzles.
    • Unicode - Numerical code used by computers to represent all sorts of letters, digits, symbols and squiggles from every language under the sun. (Even emoji!)
  • Binary - An integral part of computer programming, binary represents numbers as a series of 0s and 1s, which means it works well in conjunction with an alphanumeric cipher.
  • Braille - Arrangements of raised bumps to convey information to the visually-impaired.
    • Moon Type - An alternative to braille that uses lines meant to resemble the letters they represent, making it easier for people who lost vision after learning the alphabet
  • Flag Semaphore - Holding flags at particular angles to send messages, often over large distances.
  • Maritime Flags - Colorful flag designs representing letters and digits, commonly attached to ship masts.
  • Morse Code - Dots and dashes! The original telegraph cipher, it's been in and out of use since the 1830s.

Other Decryption-based Elements[edit | edit source]

Not all decryption elements are codes or ciphers. Some are special ways to use those codes and ciphers, for example.

  • Layered Encryption - When multiple encryption methods are applied to the same string and decrypting just one doesn't result in anything useful. To get anything, solvers have to identify everything that's being used and decrypt in the correct order.
  • Variety Encryption - Puzzles sometimes apply multiple different types of encryption methods across multiple strings, meaning solvers have to be able to identify and deal with several different ones on the fly.