ACA and YOU: Chapter 4

How to send your solutions for credit

When you produce a solution ("sol"), you are encouraged to send it in to the Solution Editor. Credit is given for proof of solution, i.e. the first five words or so of the recovered plaintext, or the recovered keyword.

Solutions are due at the Solution Editor's desk on the first day of the fourth month following publication. All solutions for one issue should be on the same sheet of paper, and preferably should be submitted together.

Late updates obviously make more work for the Sols Editor.

Each issue of The Cryptogram contains a Solvers List for the third issue previous, a table of Solvers List Statistics, and the solutions for the issue two issues previous.

In the Solvers List, the headings of the columns reflect the various departments:

  AA for  Aristocrats, 
  PP for Patristocrats, 
  CC for Cryptarithms, 
  XX for Xenocrypts, 
  EE for Cipher Exchange, 
  SS forSpecials.  

The figures in each column show the number of successful sols in each class for that issue of The Cryptogram. The last column is the running Year-To-Date total for the calendar year. The maximum score possible is shown at the end. together with the number of persons submitting sols. An asterisk in a column means all ciphers in that particular department have been solved; an asterisk against the name or nom means that all departments have been completed, except Specials. The latter don't count toward an asterisk, being somewhat unusual. The Table of Statistics will show you how many solvers solved each problem, giving you an idea of which ones were found to be easy and which difficult. (In each department, the problems increase in difficulty from beginning to end.)

It is possible that you may get stuck on a cipher, and require help. Feel free to write to the department Editor for a further hint. Whether you then enter the sol for credit is entirely up to you. The scores in the Solvers List reflect your own personal pleasure and standards; we do not ask whether yours is a joint effort, nor whether you used dictionaries or computers to help. The scores are not meant to be any more competitive than you want them to be. While it is true that you may gain more satisfaction from solving a tough cipher than from solving one with a generous tip, each contributes its own solving pleasure. Your score is your record of your progress. Not everyone has the skill, time, or energy to scale the heights.

You may also claim credit for problems submitted and published in The Cryptogram (see Chapter 5). In this case, just add the solution to the rest of your sols being claimed for the issue in which your problem is printed.

An annual Honor Roll is published showing those with 300 or more sols for the year, and Certificates of Achievement are given after each 1000 sols. As there about 100 cons in a typical issue, it may take you some time to get your first Certificate.

The submitted sols also give us some idea of Who is doing What. They help all the Editors. They also add up over the years. If you dislike some, or can not spend limited time on those requiring extra effort, there is no shame in a blank or a single entry in a department.