# Puzzle 205: WordKen.

Last Friday’s Synograms solution

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Before I say anything else, I’d like to call your attention to something I did in last Friday’s variety puzzle. I got an email suggestion that I create a version of Synograms that contains the number of letters in each city’s name. I liked that suggestion so much that I did just that. So, if you’ve been having trouble getting started with last Friday’s puzzle (or you missed last week’s post), click the above link to check it out.

This week’s variety puzzle is a sort of hybrid. I love the daily KenKen puzzles on the New York Times puzzle section and on this website. If you’re not familiar with KenKen, click on the link — it’s a brilliant puzzle invented by a Japanese math teacher that’s sort of a combination of sudoku and math. As you might deduce from the title, WordKen is a sort of adaptation of KenKen for words. The letters of the words to be put in each of the “cages” must be placed in such a way that no letter is repeated in any row or column.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

# Puzzle 203: Synograms. Moving around the world, in more ways than one.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the “hard version” PDF here!

Get the “easier version” PDF here!

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If I made a Venn diagram of “people who like anagrams” and “people who like world geography”, how big would the intersecting area be? I guess we’ll find out a bit of that with this puzzle, no? The challenge is to take a pair of words, figure out which one to change to its synonym, and pair that word with the other word to anagram it into a well-known US city or world city.

The “easier version” gives the length of each city; the “harder version” does not.

If I had to do a self-assessment, I would say that this is on the tougher side, but I know that not a single one of you likes to back down from a challenge, right?

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

# Puzzle 199: Split Decisions Two Ways 4. When you come to a fork in the words, take it.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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WHAAAAT? No standard freestyle crossword today? Surprise! Well, actually, I got an email message through the website saying that they liked these puzzles and hadn’t seen one in a while. I guess that message stirred something in me, because I did something I hadn’t done in a LONG time on this site, and that’s making a variety puzzle instead of a crossword. If you’ve missed the first three (which I won’t blame you for having done, since I published the last one in the Reagan administration), here’s a link to them. I’ve been on a roll with freestyle crosswords for a … long … while, so I guess it’s good to break up the landscape every once in a while, no?

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

# Puzzle 95: Schrödinger’s Words. A crossword with superfluous letters… sort of.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Hey, look! A variety puzzle! Ironically enough, actually, I came up with this idea as I was writing clues for a freestyle crossword that you’ll see soon. I was typing in a word pretty fast on my tablet and must’ve made a typo, because autocorrect kicked in. It wasn’t a groundbreaking discovery, for sure, but I noticed that the word to which the typo was autocorrected had the same spelling as the original word I wanted, but minus its first two letters. So, just like that, I had my idea!

If you’re familiar with Schrödinger’s cat, you’ll understand the title for this puzzle. I’ve given you a grid of interlocking with the only clues inside the grid itself: a bunch of letter pairs. The puzzle is to fill in the grid such that each word is a word whether it’s spelled with or without the given letter pairs. The example I gave inside is this: if you’re given __ __ __ __ (IT) __ within the grid, you could fill in GRAVITY, since it’s also a real English word without the IT (GRAVY). There are multiple ways to fill in some of the words, but the interlock is such that there is only one unique correct solution.

I would call this puzzle on the tough side, but I’ve been wrong before. I think it’s a good challenge for all of you wordsmiths out there.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 66 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

# Puzzle 73: Anagram Crossword 4. Add letters and stir.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!

In case you missed my first three Anagram Crosswords, they can all be found right here. The hardest part of constructing these was building up the database. That’s still going on. After that, constructing it is the same as constructing any other crossword for me, but with a much narrower word list… except, when cluing, sometimes I catch myself thinking of a clue for the actual entry instead of the anagram for that entry. (Don’t worry, I checked them all… there aren’t any “regular” clues here.)

I’ll be back with another freestyle crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle 46 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better?

# Puzzle 69: Word and Variations. Your chance to play “word detective”.

Last Friday’s Freestyle 42 solution

Get the “easier version” PDF here!

Get the “harder version” PDF here!

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Did you ever have one of those “déjà vu” moments where you come up with an idea, but you swear you’ve seen something like that before and yet you just can’t place it or even find it on Google? Anyway… whatever it is, wherever the idea came from, I’ve got what I think is an interesting puzzle for you. The crux of the puzzle is this: I’ve thought of 25 “mystery words”, each one of which has an anagram, a synonym, and a rhyme. I’ve given the anagram, synonym, and rhyme of each of the 25 individual words (not in sequence, of course) and your goal is to figure out each of the 25 mystery words.

There are two versions, an “easier” and a “harder” version. In the “easier” version, 75 words are split off into three columns, with each column arranged in alphabetical order. Using your linguistic logic, pick the one word from each column — one of them is the anagram, one the rhyme, and one the synonym, whose order is for you to determine — that leads to each “mystery word”. In the “harder” version, the same 75 words are all arranged in alphabetical order, not with any particular columnar arrangement. That is, instead of picking one word from each column as in the easier version, you’ll have to find the three words for each “mystery word” somewhere in the list, in no particular order. In both cases, each word listed will be used exactly once. The directions for each will explain in more detail… I just want you to know what you’re getting into before you choose “easier” or “harder”.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 43 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

# Puzzle 65: Double And Nothing. The score of this puzzle is two to nothing.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!

It’s another one of these puzzles that tests a different area of the brain from the crosswords. We’ve got the “two missing words” style of puzzle here again, and the relationship between the words this time is that one of them is the other minus its pairs of double letters (like, in the example I gave inside, SUppREss and SURE). The pair that I was most amused in finding was the one in #10; I was also particularly amused that the pair in #21 could be used in either order with the meaning of the sentence unchanged.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 40 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.