Over time, some encoding schemes have been used so frequently that they've formed a kind of basic vocabulary for puzzlers. Here are some things to look out for as you try to determine how to extract a final answer.

Letter | Morse Code | Semaphore | Braille | Maritime flags |
American Sign Language |
Letter | Morse Code | Semaphore | Braille | Maritime flags |
American Sign Language |

A | N | ||||||||||

B | O | ||||||||||

C | P | ||||||||||

D | Q | ||||||||||

E | R | ||||||||||

F | S | ||||||||||

G | T | ||||||||||

H | U | ||||||||||

I | V | ||||||||||

J | W | ||||||||||

K | X | ||||||||||

L | Y | ||||||||||

M | Z |

Letter | A to Z index |
NATO Phonetic Alphabet |
Binary (base 2) |
Ternary (base 3) |
ASCII uppercase (hexidecimal) |
ASCII lowercase (hexidecimal) |
Letter | A to Z index |
NATO Phonetic Alphabet |
Binary (base 2) |
Ternary (base 3) |
ASCII uppercase (hexidecimal) |
ASCII lowercase (hexidecimal) |

A | 1 | Alfa | 00001 | 001 | 0x41 | 0x61 | N | 14 | November | 01110 | 112 | 0x4E | 0x6E |

B | 2 | Bravo | 00010 | 002 | 0x42 | 0x62 | O | 15 | Oscar | 01111 | 120 | 0x4F | 0x6F |

C | 3 | Charlie | 00011 | 010 | 0x43 | 0x63 | P | 16 | Papa | 10000 | 121 | 0x50 | 0x70 |

D | 4 | Delta | 00100 | 011 | 0x44 | 0x64 | Q | 17 | Quebec | 10001 | 122 | 0x51 | 0x71 |

E | 5 | Echo | 00101 | 012 | 0x45 | 0x65 | R | 18 | Romeo | 10010 | 200 | 0x52 | 0x72 |

F | 6 | Foxtrot | 00110 | 020 | 0x46 | 0x66 | S | 19 | Sierra | 10011 | 201 | 0x53 | 0x73 |

G | 7 | Golf | 00111 | 021 | 0x47 | 0x67 | T | 20 | Tango | 10100 | 202 | 0x54 | 0x74 |

H | 8 | Hotel | 01000 | 022 | 0x48 | 0x68 | U | 21 | Uniform | 10101 | 210 | 0x55 | 0x75 |

I | 9 | India | 01001 | 100 | 0x49 | 0x69 | V | 22 | Victor | 10110 | 211 | 0x56 | 0x76 |

J | 10 | Juliett | 01010 | 101 | 0x4A | 0x6A | W | 23 | Whiskey | 10111 | 212 | 0x57 | 0x77 |

K | 11 | Kilo | 01011 | 102 | 0x4B | 0x6B | X | 24 | Xray | 11000 | 220 | 0x58 | 0x78 |

L | 12 | Lima | 01100 | 110 | 0x4C | 0x6C | Y | 25 | Yankee | 11001 | 221 | 0x59 | 0x79 |

M | 13 | Mike | 01101 | 111 | 0x4D | 0x6D | Z | 26 | Zulu | 11010 | 222 | 0x5A | 0x7A |

In general, numbers in the following ranges can represent ASCII codes:

- The range 48–57 (0x30–0x39) represents digits, where 48 is '0' and 57 is '9'.
- The range 65–90 (0x41–0x5A) represents uppercase letters, where 65 is 'A' and 90 is 'Z'.
- The range 97–122 (0x61–0x7A) represents lowercase letters, where 97 is 'a' and 122 is 'z'.

Sometimes, pictoral encodings will just use letters for A = 1, B = 2, etc. with a prefix to show that they're numbers and not letters.

For example, is the sign for a number in semaphore, and is the sign for a number in braille.

For example, is the sign for a number in semaphore, and is the sign for a number in braille.

Letter | Telephone digits |
Morse Code | Maritime flags (ICS) |
Maritime flags (NATO) |
American Sign Language |

0 | |||||

1 | |||||

2 | ABC | ||||

3 | DEF | ||||

4 | GHI | ||||

5 | JKL | ||||

6 | MNO | ||||

7 | PQRS | ||||

8 | TUV | ||||

9 | WXYZ |

The following diagram is a handy way to quickly decipher Morse code letters. From the node labeled "start," travel downward across dotted or dashed lines accordingly. For example, following the dotted line twice and the dashed line once will lead to the letter U, which is represented by "dot-dot-dash" in Morse code. (Missing nodes indicate invalid Morse code letters.)

The following chart can be used to help decode semaphore quickly. If the two flags form a straight line, use the smaller circle on the left to determine the correct letter. Otherwise, find the appropriate pie slice among the other six circles corresponding to the two directions.

The Pigpen cipher, developed by the Freemasons for secret communication, encodes each letter as a symbol. The encoding is described by the grids below: each letter is encoded by replacing it with the symbol corresponding to the part of the grid that contains the letter.

For example:

The ancient Romans used letters to represent numbers and had specific rules for combining them:

# | Value |
---|---|

I | 1 |

V | 5 |

X | 10 |

L | 50 |

C | 100 |

D | 500 |

M | 1000 |

Sometimes, letters will be subsituted for other letters, and you'll need to figure out what the mapping is. One common method is a Caesar cipher, or rotation cipher, where every letter in the alphabet is "rotated" or moved down a certain number of letters. For example, rotating by 1 gives:

Input: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Output: BCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZA

Rotating by 5 gives:

Input: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Output: FGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDE

Or, rotating by 13 gives:

Input: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Output: NOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLM

Rainbow order is the order that colors appear in the color spectrum. If you see these colors in a puzzle, try reading partial answers in rainbow order. A common mnemonic to remember the order is Roy G. Biv.

# | Color |
---|---|

1 | Red |

2 | Orange |

3 | Yellow |

4 | Green |

5 | Blue |

6 | Indigo |

7 | Violet |

Electrical resistors use color bands on them to indicate their resistance values. This can serve as a good way to convert colors to digits.

# | Color |
---|---|

0 | Black |

1 | Brown |

2 | Red |

3 | Orange |

4 | Yellow |

5 | Green |

6 | Blue |

7 | Violet |

8 | Gray |

9 | White |

When using pigments like paints, adding colors together makes them darker.

Light, on the other hand, combines to create white.

Here are some other symbols you may see and need to figure out how to use.

Sign | Name |
---|---|

♈ | Aries |

♉ | Taurus |

♊ | Gemini |

♋ | Cancer |

♌ | Leo |

♍ | Virgo |

♎ | Libra |

♏ | Scorpio |

♐ | Sagittarius |

♑ | Capricorn |

♒ | Aquarius |

♓ | Pisces |

Sign | Name |
---|---|

子 | Rat |

丑 | Ox |

孜 | Tiger |

卯 | Rabbit |

辰 | Dragon |

巳 | Snake |

午 | Horse |

未 | Goat |

申 | Monkey |

酉 | Rooster |

戌 | Dog |

亥 | Pig |

Sign | Name |
---|---|

☉ | Sun |

☽ | Moon |

☿ | Mercury |

♀ | Venus |

🜨 | Earth |

♂ | Mars |

♃ | Jupiter |

♄ | Saturn |

♅ | Uranus |

♆ | Neptune |

♇ | Pluto |

Letter | Symbol |
---|---|

A | |

B | |

C | |

D | |

E | |

F | |

G | |

H | |

I | |

J | |

K | |

L | |

M | |

N | |

O | |

P | |

Q | |

R | |

S | |

T | |

U | |

V | |

W | |

X | |

Y | |

Z | |

# |

Symbol | Letter |
---|---|

Α α | alpha |

Β β | beta |

Γ γ | gamma |

Δ δ | delta |

Ε ε | epsilon |

Ζ ζ | zeta |

Η η | eta |

Θ θ | theta |

Ι ι | iota |

Κ κ | kappa |

Λ λ | lambda |

Μ μ | mu |

Ν ν | nu |

Ξ ξ | xi |

Ο ο | omicron |

Π π | pi |

Ρ ρ | rho |

Σ σ | sigma |

Τ τ | tau |

Υ υ | upsilon |

Φ φ | phi |

Χ χ | chi |

Ψ ψ | psi |

Ω ω | omega |