Gift that keeps on giving

Panorama has served me for many, many years. For a hobby I solve different ciphers - not just the simple substitution you sometimes see in the newspaper. A group, the American Cryptogram Association, puts out a publication every two months and sometimes includes a novelty. The cipher I was working required solving a Sudoku, then using the numbers in the Sudoku grid to pull out letters in a similar grid. A complication was the letter grid was less than 9 x 9 and given a string of letters, some rows would have six letters, some 7 and you didn’t know which ones.

I am simplifying things a little but you had to investigate the resulting columns of letters which changed depending upon which rows had 7 letters and which had six. That would be a lot of writing to see all the candidates.

I have tools, like Xojo, and FORTRAN. But time was getting short (a deadline) for my solutions submission. So I launched good old Panorama, filled a variable with the cipher letters, and wrote a quick procedure to pull them off either 6 or 7 to a row, depending upon a check box on the form I used for display.

So I just had to click a box to see the overall result of 6 or 7 letters in any particular row. The human can recognize patterns pretty quickly so I just had to look at the resulting letter grid to see a potential solution. Just took a click to check the next configuration of letters - so much easier then filling in grid after grid by pencil.

Panorama is so useful for many, many things - not just storing data. Its text handling is amazingly flexible.

Oh yes, the cipher solution was, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, it is imagination.”