Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

"This is a highly unusual paragraph. Do you know why? If you try to find what is odd about it too quickly, it probably won't occur to you. Study it without hurrying and you may think of what it is. Good luck."

It appears as a problem in the exercise of a book I'm reading in the chapter titled "An Application of Statistics -- The Breaking of Ciphers and Codes".

share|cite|improve this question
out of interest - what is the book you are reading? – Epictetus Nov 20 '12 at 9:57
Mathematics - A Human Endeavor by Harold R. Jacobs. Copyright 1979. – Acid2 Nov 20 '12 at 9:59
@Epictetus It actually from a library in Miramonte High School in the US. I purchased it here in Pakistan in a used book store for something like 25 cents. – Acid2 Nov 20 '12 at 10:03
many thanks. I doubt whether it would be available to me for ~25 pence in the UK! :) – Epictetus Nov 20 '12 at 10:12
By the way, this sort of thing is known as a lipogram. The Wikipedia page lists some incredible examples. – Rahul Nov 20 '12 at 10:18
up vote 7 down vote accepted

HINT: Googl would tll you if you wr to sarch on th obvious.

share|cite|improve this answer
I would hav nvr found it. – Berci Nov 20 '12 at 9:35
If it were written in code, something about the way the paragraph's written would make it difficult to crack... – Acid2 Nov 20 '12 at 9:42
@Acid2: How so? – Brian M. Scott Nov 20 '12 at 9:42
@BrianM.Scott: I don't know. If I knew, I wouldn't be asking here. Something tells me you two don't know what's really unusual either. – Acid2 Nov 20 '12 at 9:45
@Acid2: There are at least six of us who know. I gave you a huge hint in my answer $-$ the misspellings are there for a reason $-$ and I even told you how you could easily find out. Oh, by the way: it’s not enciphered or encoded. It’s plaintext, but plaintext with a statistically very unusual characteristic that would mildly hamper someone attempting to read a version of it enciphered in a simple substitution cipher. – Brian M. Scott Nov 20 '12 at 9:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.