Login:

Password:





Not yet joined our word puzzle community? Then REGISTER NOW >>>
Who's online? | Login | Leaderboard | Anagrams

Code Puzzles And Letter Frequencies

If you are interested in tackling the codewords on Wordy Puzzle, but are not sure how to get going with the puzzles, then here is one of many tactics you can use to help you crack open the puzzle: letter frequencies.

You will no doubt know that some letters appear a lot more often in English than other letters. Trivially you can see just by reading this page that the letter E appears a lot more times than the letter Q.

So how can you use this to help you solve codewords? Well, the way that many people start solving codewords, when the E isn't given, is by trying to work out which number represents the E. The best way to do this is to look at which number appears the most times in the codeword puzzle - and this is often, although of course not always, the E.

For those who play games such as Scrabble, you'll know that some letters have a higher score than others - this is because they are harder to play, and the reason they are harder to play is because they appear in less words - they have a lower occurrence frequency in English.

So what are the overall frequencies of letters in English? One way to find this out is to take a large amount of text from a variety of sources in English, and then simply count how many times each letter occurs. Of course, over time some letters may come in and out of fashion, and it may also vary depending on which version of English you look at: most people in England use -ise and -ising forms of words, whereas in the US it might be -ize and -izing, making 'z' more frequent than in British English.

As a guide to the overall letter frequencies, here is a list of them, with the most common letter (E) in pole position - NB some positions may vary a little depending on what your sample source is and how many words it contains, but generally this is directionally correct:

E, T, A, O, I, N, S, R, H, D, L, U, C, M, F, Y, W, G, P, B, V, K, X, Q, J, Z.

If you can work out where the 'E' is in a codeword, then often that is all you need to break the back of the puzzle and to solve it. This is why codewords where the E is given - and more generally a vowel - are often a little easier than those where they are not given, or where there are of course less given letters at the start of the puzzle.
Date written: 17 Mar 2015



Comment on this post

You must be logged in to comment - please Register or Login

Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...

Solving Double Definition Cryptic Clues
One of the main types of cryptic crossword clue is called the double definition. With this clue type, as the name suggests, you will be presented with two different clues that both lead to the same answer. Unlike many cryptic clues, both of the...
Added: 15 Apr 2015


Writing A Themed Kriss Kross Puzzle
Writing a themed puzzle is generally more difficult than writing a non-themed puzzle. This is usually because there are relatively few words on a theme, and therefore this will restrict the options for the particular puzzle type you are creating. This...
Added: 28 Jun 2015


How Much Can You Sell Crosswords For?
One of the most common questions that people have when they start writing crosswords, is what the going rate is. However there is no clear answer, as it varies on so many different factors. These include: - The grid size: generally the larger the...
Added: 24 May 2015


Introduction To Points And Awards
Welcome to this introduction to the points and awards system here at Wordy Puzzle. When you complete a puzzle, you'll get more than just the satisfaction of completing the puzzle! As long as you don't use the 'show solution' button to reveal the...
Added: 14 Mar 2015


Computers And Cryptic Crosswords
One of the debates that pops up from time to time is around cryptic crosswords and computers - and specifically whether a computer program can be written to create a good cryptic crossword. Now, in this debate it is generally assumed that what is...
Added: 19 Mar 2015




Back to Puzzle Blog


Puzzle Types:
Arrow word Puzzles
Pangram Puzzles
General Knowledge Crosswords
Quick Crosswords
Wordwheels
Word Ladders
Word Fit
Skeleton Crosswords
A to Z Puzzles
Codewords
Cryprograms Online
Every Letter Counts