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When you substitute one word for another word or sentence, like using a foreign language dictionary, you are using a code.

You rotate the outside ring and substitute the letters in your message found on the outside ring with the letters directly below on the inside ring (see diagram).

Here, the algorithm is to offset the alphabet and the key is the number of characters to offset it.

The Captain Midnight decoder ring (which is an "encoder" ring as well) allows you to do a simple substitution cipher.

It usually has two concentric wheels of letters, A through Z.

After all, you wouldn't want your competitor to know that you were about to acquire their company with a leveraged buy-out.

The study of enciphering and encoding (on the sending end), and deciphering and decoding (on the receiving end) is called cryptography from the Greek κρυπτός (kryptos), or hidden and γράφειν (graphia), or writing.Or perhaps you remember using special symbols to write notes to your "squeeze" in class.If the note was intercepted , your teacher, could learn nothing about your romance.The resulting text of either enciphering method is called the ciphertext.Of course, you can use both methods, one after the other, to further confuse an unintended receiver as well.Now this method only works if you have the proper key to stick in the lock, and your key will be valid only as long as you are the resident of the particular abode.

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