Florida Prison Confiscates Newspaper Over ‘Celebrity Cipher’ Word Game
Officials asserted that the puzzle, which appears next to the crossword, “may be used to create coded messages indecipherable by staff.”
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Aug 25, 2023
A Florida prison refused to deliver copies of a local newspaper to an incarcerated subscriber, claiming that a puzzle game in the publication “may be used to create coded messages indecipherable by staff.”
In July, officials at Avon Park Correctional Institution impounded two issues of the Key West Citizen over concerns with the “Celebrity Cipher,” a syndicated word puzzle that appears next to the crossword. Staff asserted that the game violates a Florida Department of Corrections rule prohibiting “publication[s] … written in code,” according to a copy of the impoundment notices shared with The Appeal. The issues were impounded pending a review by the FDC Literature Review Committee, which is scheduled to meet on August 31.
The Celebrity Cipher is a syndicated game that asks readers to decipher a celebrity quote by solving a puzzle in which each letter is replaced by a different letter. The Citizen publishes the Celebrity Cipher on the same page as the Sudoku, daily horoscopes, and “Dear Abby” advice column.
FDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.