Puzzle Tools and Resources

Stumped by a code? Need to know who won the Super Bowl in 1968? These resources can help you solve the toughest puzzles with ease.

Character encodings

  • ASCII and EBCDIC: LookupTables.com has reference charts for correlating numeric values in decimal, octal, and hexidecimal to characters in ASCII, EBCDIC, and other electronic encodings.
  • ASL: ThinkQuest provides a visual reference for the American Sign Language Alphabet.
  • Braille: Wikipedia has a braille translation chart, as well as general information about the encoding.
  • Caesar cipher: Wikipedia has general information on Caesar ciphers and links to Caesar cipher solvers.
  • Morse code: Wikipedia has a morse code chart, as well as general information about the encoding.
  • Naval signal flags: The Peabody Essex Museum has a visual chart of the International Code of Signals, a system of naval signal flags which use color and pattern to represent letters.
  • Phone Number: PhoneSpell has a great tool to find out what a phone number spells out.
  • Semaphore: The Australian National Botanic Gardens provide a visual reference for the Semaphore flag signaling system.
  • UNICODE: Unicode.org is the official source of all UNICODE encodings
  • Pigpen cipher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigpen_cipher
  • Beale cipher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beale_ciphers



  • Flight Statistics: FlightStats.com
  • Flight Information: flightaware.com
  • Broadway: Internet Theatre Database has a wealth of information on Broadway shows, actors, and theatre
  • Dictionary/Thesaurus: Dictionary.com is a great resource for word related queries. Visca.com is another resource, which also allows searching by regular expression.
  • Everything: Wikipedia contains a wealth of usually-accurate information on almost any subject.
  • Fonts: Windows and Mac OS have character maps tools to view fonts.
  • Movies: The Internet Movie Database has a wealth of information on TV shows, movies, actors, and production staff.
  • Music: All Media Guide has a wealth of information about music artists, albums, and genres.
  • Television: TV.com has a wealth of information about television shows, episode lists, and actors.
  • When all else fails: Bing, Google, and Yahoo!




Puzzle Types

  • Anagrams: Andy's Anagram Solver is a great way to take the word "nagamar" and turn it into "anagram".
  • Crossword puzzle clues: OneAcross can take crossword puzzle patterns and/or clues and find the word needed to fill in the puzzle. Crossword Maestro is also a great tool for visualizing crosswords (and Cryptic crosswords).
  • Cryptic crosswords: Wikipedia has information and links about these types of puzzles. Also see http://www.crosswordtools.com/cryptic-crosswords.php
  • Nonograms: For all you CS gurus, writing code to solve these is always fun. Check out The World of Cryptopics for information on where to get started solving these.



Know of a helpful resource we haven't listed here? E-mail us at cpc@microsoft.com and we'll get a link up.


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