Tag Archives: anagrams

Puzzle 585: Double Shifts. Shift into another gear.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the Harder PDF here!


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Happy Fourth to all my American solvers, and Happy Friday to everyone else! You can do lots of interesting stuff with anagrams, as you know, and as you know that I know. The reason this is called “Double Shifts” is because the principle of this puzzle is manipulating words twice. In this case, I’m taking common two-word phrases, anagramming each one of them, and replacing the anagrams with synonyms. The example I gave inside is DIVINITY SPUD: I took “dog treat”, anagrammed the words to “god” and “tater”, and changed them to their respective synonyms “divinity” and “spud”. It was harder than you think to find two-word phrases in which (a) both of the words have anagrams, and (b) the anagrams themselves each have rock-solid synonyms. The difference between the Easier and Harder versions is simple: the Easier version contains the lengths of each word in the object phrases, and the Harder version does not.

I never underestimate my solvers, and I don’t usually arrange by difficulty, but be forewarned: the last few of these are tough as nails. I will be very duly impressed with anyone who gets all of these, but I know you all are up for the challenge.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 481: Anagram Crossword 8. Make arrangements to solve this.


Last Friday’s Star Shifts solution

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With the amount of time I’ve spent curating a word list for this kind of grid, I don’t think you can blame me if I come back to this format from time to time. Not that you would anyway. Not that I make the clues too hard, but I have a rule that I try to follow. The more anagrams an answer entry has, the easier I make the clue. Take that as you will.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 473: Shift Changes. Toss around a few ideas.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Good to mix it up every now and then, as I say, right? You know that I like anagrams, and a lot of the variety stuff I post on here has to do with anagrams in some form. You know I never play it straight up here, though… you have to do something to the words and phrases before anagramming them. What it is, I’ll leave up to you to click the link!


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 451: Anagram Crossword 6. I encourage you to twist your words.


Last Friday’s Sumwords solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 78
Mean word length: 4.72


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I got some positive feedback about the anagram crossword a couple of weeks ago, so I was feeling another one today. I’m thinking of making this a semiregular feature (every month, or however… not sure about the frequency), which is good, because I really enjoy making these.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 449: Sumwords. A little from column A, a little from column B.


Last Friday’s Wordominoes solution

** Read below before deciding which version to open **

Get the “Easier” PDF here!

Get the “Harder” PDF here!

Get the “Expert” PDF here!


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I’m on a bit of a variety puzzle kick. I don’t know if this will continue, but I came up with this idea and wanted to implement it, so here it is. As you know, I like anagrams more than a person probably should. The crux of this puzzle is that you take two words with a common letter between them, remove that common letter from one of the words, and anagram the result to make another one. You’ll see clues arranged in three columns, and the premise is that you use one word clued in column A and one clued in column B and anagram them as I just described to form one word clued in column C. To decide which version you want to try your hand at, here are what each of them entails:

Easier: The clues in column A and B and its corresponding word in column C are each in the same row. Column C clues contain the length of the object word in parentheses.

Harder: The clues in column A, B, and C are listed in random order, and the puzzle is to piece together which one from column A goes with which one in column B to make which one in column C. Column A, B, and C clues all contain the length of its object word.

Expert: Same as the Harder version, except there is no length hint for the clues in column A and B.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 445: Anagram Crossword 5. Time for a lot of rearrangement.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22


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I haven’t done one of these in a long while. So I figured it was time to mix it up (heh heh) a bit and throw in one of these. I hope it doesn’t upset (heh heh, again) you that I’m throwing in a variety puzzle today. The twist (OK TIM, STOP WITH THE ANAGRAM PUNS) here is that the clues point to not their corresponding entries, but the anagrams of the entries. Unlike my first four, I decided to see if I could make one of these like my other freestyle grids — 72 words or less. Now, of course, the point of this grid isn’t the sparkly fill but the puzzle of anagramming. Hopefully it’ll take you all a little while to wrestle with this thing.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 353: Before-and-Aftergrams. A twisted product of a twisted mind.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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How about a variety puzzle for some… well, variety? I promise, though it’s Friday the 13th, the nothing freaky will happen to you when you do this puzzle. Before you decide which version to open up — because opening the easier version could give away some things that you wouldn’t want given away if you wanted the moderate or harder version — I’ll explain the difference between the versions. (That’s why the links are below the explanation in this post today, unlike other posts.) Like quite a few of my previous variety puzzles on this site, they involve anagrams, but this one doesn’t involve straight-up anagrams. Here’s how I developed the premise for this puzzle. I discovered that there are some words whose letters both end some words and start some other words even though they aren’t really etymologically related to them (ok, not exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but work with me here). For example, the word ADO ends the unrelated word AVOCADO and starts the unrelated word ADORABLE. So I blended the two words together to make AVOC(ADO)RABLE. I took all the remaining letters outside those parentheses, AVOCRABLE, and anagrammed them into a two word phrase, VOCAL BEAR. Now, here’s the difference between the versions.

In the easiest  version, you would get the three-word set VOCAL BEAR ADO. (The “common” word could be the first, second, or third word.) You would then need to figure out that ADO is the word that ends one word and starts another, and rearrange VOCALBEAR, combined with ADO, into the words AVOCADO/ADORABLE.

In the moderate version, you would get the two words VOCAL BEAR with the notation (7,8) (indicating the first solution word to be 7 letters and the second solution word to be 8 letters) in the left column, and you would need to figure out which word in the right-hand column (whose words are arranged randomly) goes with the phrase to be able to be anagrammed in this fashion. In this case, you would find that right-hand column word to be ADO, and the first word (which is always the word that ends with the “common” word) would be AVOCADO and the second word (always the word that starts with the “common” word) ADORABLE.

The hardest version is the same as the moderate version, but there is no notation giving the lengths of the solution words.

I think, no matter which version you choose, that there are some tips and tricks that you’ll figure out as you go along to untangle this puzzle. I’m willing to give you some if you really get stuck (just email me), but I have faith in you!

Get the easier version PDF here!

Get the moderate version PDF here!

Get the hardest version PDF here!

Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.

Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.

As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

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

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

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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?

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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.

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 53: Anagram Crossword 3. It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up grid.

Last Friday’s meta puzzle solution and explanation

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Get the PUZ here!

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The Anagram Crossword has been the most popular of the variety puzzles I’ve posted on this site. Here are the first one and the second one in case you’ve missed them. Hey, give the people what they want, right? It’s been fun and a lot of time cultivating the word list I use to make these grids, and I’m going to keep adding to the list for future puzzles like this.

I’ll be back with another freestyle crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle 32 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?

As always, share this link! Pass it around!