You Are Games:
Letters In Boxes #4


You Are Games

Letters in Boxes #4

ArtbegottiWhat if the letters in our Letters In Boxes puzzles took second priority, after the boxes they're in? How would your view of the puzzles change? It's like trying to imagine eating a hot dog when you can only taste the bun, or driving a car while sitting on the roof (which I suppose is what riding a motorcycle is). The letters themselves are problems enough, but what about an extra layer of complexity, brought to you by the very containers they're delivered in?

In this week's Letters In Boxes challenge, your task is to tackle those puzzles from the outside in. Each puzzle is a "common" logic puzzle, although not necessarily one you might have seen before. Your first goal is to determine what type of puzzle you're facing, then solve it. Even then, you still have to sort out where to get the letters for your next clue. It's a logic/word puzzle sandwich! Which are exactly like motorcycle/hot dog sandwiches. The first puzzle might look eerily similar to something you've seen before, but after that, you're on your own. (Okay, a hint: Here is a good place to search around.)

You can spot your first puzzle below. Click on it to open the puzzle in a new window. Once you solve it and extract an answer from the spread of letters, switch your attention to your address bar (in this case, http://images.jayisgames.com/lettersinboxes/4thlibstart.gif). Change the filename of the image (namely, "4thlibstart") to your answer (be sure to stay within the same directory, and use all lowercase characters) to see if you're right. If you're successful, you'll see your next puzzle. If you're wrong, you won't see much of anything, but you can hit the back button on your browser to try again.

Letters in Boxes #4 - Puzzle 1This batch of puzzles contains five, yes, five puzzles to solve. On the fifth puzzle, you'll find the email address for sending your final answer. We'll hand out a prize to the first correct entry we receive, plus ten additional randomly-selected correct entries. Please include your Casual Gameplay account display name with your entry. You must be at least 13 years of age to enter. Only one submission per participant, please. Offer void where prohibited. Your deadline for submitting your answers is Monday, June 20th at 11:59 PM (GMT-5:00). If you can dig your way to the depths of this daunting dilemma, you might have a dashing diversion delivered to your door! (Which is to say, you could win a prize of some sort.) Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to these 11 winners! :D

  • homero ...First!
  • Ravrius
  • Chaos
  • m5rammy
  • Seraku
  • nerdypants
  • Grizix
  • han519
  • snickerless1
  • nightsoil
  • sillyme2
All eleven winners were given a choice of prizes or an entry into a GRAND PRIZE drawing to be held at the end of August! Congratulations and thanks for playing with us! Look for another Letters in Boxes again soon!

101 Comments

First one was very easy!

...And the second one has me completely stumped.

More? :)
How many letters in boxes puzzles are planned?

Third one makes baby kittens cry.

Just a slight complain/request: Couldn't you save those puzzles as .png instead of .gif? I use MSPaint to solve and scribble over them and gif files makes a bunch of noise which makes it laborious to fill those boxes in a color.

Am I eligible to enter?

I'm done! Gonna go submit now. I hope I'm eligible; do you think I solve these puzzles for fun?

Puzzle 2 has me stumped.

I thought it was a Shirokuro puzzle, and found a solution for it (no idea if it is unique), but that didn't lead me to any kind of word that I could enter as a URL.

Puzzle #1 was extremely easy (I even took the time to fill in all the boxes even after I figured out the answer just because I love this kind of puzzle :D). Puzzle #2 I managed to solve mostly by accident (I'm still not quite sure how that puzzle works O_o).

Just one question about puzzle #3:

Does the solution involve cutting out things and moving them around? Because if so, I need to make a trip to a library...

No, puzzle #3 does not involve cutting and moving things.

Nice puzzles this time around! Hardest part was often figuring out which logic puzzle type to use.

So wait; are the black boxes in #2 supposed to be filled in circles?

[Yes. I couldn't figure out how to get a black circle behind a white letter in Excel, so I had to settle for shading the whole cell black. --Steve]

It seems most likely to me that Puzzle 3 is

A Ripple Effect puzzle

but if so, I'm at a loss for any techniques apart from raw brute force to go about solving the thing.

Fun set this week! Currently #4 has me puzzled as to what to do. The basic setup looks a lot like #3, and I had a hard enough time figuring out what concept to apply to that one.

I have to concur with -jS on #3. As Charlie Brown put it when going for a punt, AAAAAAAARGH!

Could someone please drop me a hint on how to solve #2?

One thing I've noticed, and I bet I'm stating the obvious, about #3 is that

the letters in each outlined section anagram into a word. Here's what I've found so far:

Work
Count
Nine
Field
Flat
Patella
Gift
Flashy
Blemish
Critiques
Acrostic

Does the solution have anything to do with these words?

Onyx Mouse,
I noticed the same thing. I then proceeded to play around with the fact that that last item on your list is

Acrostic. Can you get an acrostic from the rest of the list? I couldn't. (Also, field=filed=flied.)

Hey Steve, I have a 'fixed' version of #2 then if you want.

Been staring at number 2 for a long while now. Any hints? Stumped as!

Like Jade, I solved #2 by accident. I have no idea how to reach the solution the normal way :P

@Onyx Mouse

No, those words don't mean anything. In fact, about the letters:

I'd ignore them until you figure out which kind of puzzle you're trying to solve.

Power of posting. My idea (above) on #2 was incorrect.

On puzzle number three, is the line betwen the G and the T in the first column supposed to be missing?

The last one is killing me here... and I have to go back to work, which sucks. Will come back to it later.

Yeah, I really need a hint for #4.

I'm hoping/trusting that the puzzle type isn't something really obscure like Country Roads, since I can barely find anything about it and Steve promised they're all "common" puzzles. Is the puzzle type listed on the Wikipedia page, at least? I've been through the list and couldn't find anything that really fit, but maybe I missed something.

Hint for #2:

The puzzle type involves drawing a loop.

Hint for #3:

Each section has at least 4 blocks. This is important for the puzzle type.

Power of posting again. I had never seen the puzzle type for #3 before, but I really like it!

The logic puzzle portion of #3 actually has two solutions, but only one of them gives a word for the final solution.

Isi, for #4:

ALL the puzzle types are listed on the page. Notice that one of the cells has a 5 in it instead of a letter.

For those who want to know how to solve number 2 properly (or are totally stuck)

Personally I find the improper way a little easier!

I've solved the puzzle on 2 three times, but the resulting letters don't seem to mean anything?

Am I supposed to use the leftover letters? Are they supposed to spell something?

Am I an idiot? I can't get #1. I'm trying to solve it like

sudoku, but I have 10 different letters instead of 9. I'm doing something wrong.

Can't figure out what puzzle type I'm looking at with number 3. I've looked through pages and pages of images of grid-based puzzles, and nothing looks like that one. Any more hints?

I need help with #2

Someone wrote that it is a Shirkuro puzzle.
I tried to solve and only managed by trial and error, and the "I" in the bottom right corner can go either way.
Also, I really don't understand what I see there after I solve it.
It looks like many things are there to throw me off, like long words, and "next" and "file" "name" "dot" "gif", but most of them aren't unicolored at all.

Yup. I'm an idiot. Got it. Then made my own word puzzle using only the string of profanity that came out of my mouth when I realized what I did wrong.

Finished. Half the difficulty is figuring out what the latter puzzles actually are - I had two false starts on the final one before I clued in as to which one it was.

A clue:

Wikipedia and Nikoli don't call it the same thing!

still stuck on #2. i tried solving it like

hitori, but that means there are two black circles next to each other, which isn't allowed

help please!

Chibidani:

Why'd you go with hitori? That doesn't have black and white circles.

#1:

Sudoku, but the puzzle itself is just a distraction. It's the letters used in the puzzle that are important.

#2:

Masyu. Follow the loop to reveal the hidden message. Note that not all tiles are used, but all circles are.

#3:

LITS. The answer is spelled out in the unshaded squares.

#4:

Ripple Effect. When you're done, the answer is spelled out by the letters in the squares with even numbers.

#5:

Kuromasu (a.k.a. Kurodoko). The answer is spelled out in the shaded squares.

@Ryusui - thanks for #5. I thought it was that one, just hadn't quite figured out the trick to it as I have never encountered that type of puzzle before. It's a good one, though.

AH! Got it! Thanks!

Hint for anyone else that's stuck:

Alexey Pajitnov

LITS is much easier than it looks once you understand the rules. As An Onyx Mouse hinted, it helps if you're familiar with Tetris and know the tetramino shapes by heart.

Each shape will have precisely four squares shaded - no more, no less. Those shaded squares will form a tetramino. There are three rules for forming these tetraminos that must be observed:

1. There must be no 2x2 blocks of shaded squares in the solution (no O-blocks!)

2. Similar tetraminos cannot be adjacent, except diagonally. "Similar" counts rotation and mirroring; that is, you can't have L-blocks and J-blocks adjacent, nor S-blocks and Z-blocks.

3. The shaded squares must all be contiguous; that is, they must all form a single shape.

I need a clue for #2. I get the whole

Masyu

thing, but i don't understand all the rules and i don't know where the pattern starts... can someone help??

Argh, I am not liking this week's puzzles at all. I've never heard of any of these puzzles except for the first one. I like it much better when the puzzles are self-contained, so you don't have to spend hours on Wikipedia trying to figure out how to solve them.

I'm currently stuck on #4. From what other people are saying it's

a ripple effect puzzle.

I've read the rules on Wikipedia, I just have no clue how to apply them to all those letters.

The more I look at #4, the more impossible it seems.

Am I really supposed to complete the puzzle with just that one number as a given?

#3 is hard! I've made it work logically, but I didn't come up with a useful word.

Do all of the tetrominos spell a word? Also, does one of the tetromino spell a very very dirty word?

amanda:

It's not the tetrominoes that spell out the words.

I hate to say this in regards to #4, but I just plain give up. I can't make sense of this variety of puzzle at all. D:

#2:

Masyu's rules can be a little confusing.

The loop must pass through every circle in the grid, adhering to two rules:

1. If the loop passes through a white circle, there must be a turn in the loop immediately before or after the circle.

2. If the loop passes through a black circle, it must turn in the black circle, but it must also pass through at least one cell before and after without turning.

That is, there will always be a turn in the loop on at least one side of each white circle, and there will always be an L-shaped bend in the loop at every black circle.

#3:

Read my previous post for more info about LITS.

#4:

Ripple Effect is trivial. Like LITS, the board consists of multiple walled-off sections of squares. Ignore everything that's already in the boxes except for the 5 - that's a hint.

The boxes in each shape will be filled with the numbers 1 up to the number of boxes in the shape. This gives us a freebie: every single walled-off box has a "1" in it, no questions asked. On the opposite side, that six-box shape with the 5 already in it will have the numbers 1-6 in it when we're done.

Now, here's the second rule of Ripple Effect: for any number X, it cannot appear in another box within X boxes of itself. That is, two 1s cannot be orthogonally adjacent (that is, sharing a side - diagonals are OK). Two 2s cannot appear within 2 boxes of one another (again, counting only up-down-left-right), two 3s cannot appear within 3 boxes of one another, etc..

The puzzle practically solves itself. Just look at each shape individually and work out which numbers can and can't appear in each square - it's almost like Sudoku.

#5:

I'll admit, Kurodoko is the one I had the hardest time wrapping my head around. The object here is to place black squares so that the "view" from each of the numbered squares is blocked. The numbered squares each indicate how many squares are visible in a straight line (up-down-left-right) from that position, counting the square itself. No two black squares may be adjacent to one another, and the white squares must all be contiguous (that is, forming a single shape).

For example, the top-left square says "6". This means that there are six squares visible in a straight line from that position, counting the square itself. No more, and no less. Therefore, you'll need to figure out where to place the black squares so that only 6 squares are visible from that position. One possible way to do it would be to place a black square down immediately below the 6...this is just an example, not a hint!

For a more direct clue, I suggest you direct your attention to the 9 in the bottom-right and the 4 on the same row. You won't have enough information to block off the 9's view at the get-go, but you can figure out which squares have to be visible...

Ryusui, about #4:

Is this just a trial-and-error type thing? Because with the number already given, and with the one lone box, I have two numbers. This does not seem like enough information to figure out the puzzle, unless I go through and just start putting in numbers at random and seeing what works.

Is there something obvious I'm missing? Do any number ones have to have EXACTLY one space between them? Do the numbers directly correspond to letters (G = 1)?

Thanks for the help, but I just am not getting this. Maybe I should sleep on it.

Oh wait--

Now that I look, there are actually more lone boxes than I thought. How did I miss those?

#4:

Again, the letters are meaningless until you've actually solved the puzzle. Only the 5 counts, and it's more a camouflaged clue to the puzzle's true nature than a genuine help.

The trick is to take the puzzle one shape at a time. It's actually easier than Sudoku once you know how to solve it - which is kinda the trick, since Sudoku is pretty much the only one of these most people will be familiar with (and the only one that doesn't actually need to be solved...diabolical!)

Also, don't feel bad for missing the oners - I'd nearly solved the puzzle before I noticed the one in the rightmost row. XD

Ryusui:
Thanks! I solved it. Working on #5 now.

This stuff is just not my forte...

Thanks for the kick in the pants there, Ryusui. Got me back on track; about half-done with 4 now.

Scratch that...I screwed up. :[

I think I'm doing something horribly wrong on #5.

Am I right in assuming that if a row has no numbers in it, and a column has no numbers in it, then the point where those two meet will be a black spot?

WOO! Got it this time! Now on to the final puzzle..

#1 was a BIG waste of time -

I solved the entire soduku before I even looked for an answer. I could have solved it at least 15 minutes earlier.

wow, this batch took heavy hint-reading.

Steps:
1. Find out which weird japanese logic puzzle it represents
2. Learn how that weird japanese logic puzzle is suppose to be solved
3. Solve it first time in your life
4. Figure out where the answer is coming from

nerdypants:

No. The numbers tell you everything you need to know to solve the puzzle. If a column or row has no numbers, don't panic: puzzle out the numbers, and you'll figure out where the black squares go regardless.

And a more explicit spoiler for #5:

The squares visible from the 6 at the top left will form an L shape. The squares visible from the 6 below it and to the right will form a cross. The squares visible from the 9 in the lower right will form a T shape.

Done at last. X_x; Woo...

*system crash*

I really don't like these puzzles. ;_;

...Confused on #1?

Read all the letters up, down, vertical, only those in the boxes...nothing! Any help?

Phew! It's taken me most of the afternoon but finally made it - I hope :-)

raddaya:

You don't actually need to solve the Sudoku puzzle. :3

Just take the unique letters - nine in all - and run 'em through the Internet Anagram Server.

That said, you will need to solve the rest. Every single one. I've posted more tips and spoilers here, though, so if you're stuck, just look for my posts, OK?

I don't think I can solve #5. Either there's something obvious that I'm missing, or it's just too hard for me.

nerdypants:

Don't give up! I had a hard time with it, too.

The numbers provide all the clues you need. Remember, they indicate how many squares are visible from that position - the number square itself included.

I'll give you a partial clue; how about that?

Have you ever played Battleship? Place black squares at B-5, E-4 and F-5. This "solves" the four in the lower right and should give you a head start on the one above it and to the left.

Remember to also mark which squares you know can't have a black square. Start with the numbers!

Thanks for the help, Ryusui, but I think I'm just going to have to brute force this one. I just am not seeing any other way.

finally figured out 2, but didnt use game rules, just found the phrase i needed!

GOT IT!

Hoo, boy. That answer sums up my current condition pretty well.

Got almost half of three done. stuck after doing 5 of them

hhii8888:

The anagrams are meaningless. This is a LITS puzzle.

Ever play Tetris? You're going to place tetraminos so that they fit into the walled-off spaces, while adhering to 3 rules:

1. Tetraminos of the same shape cannot be adjacent to one another. This counts rotation and reflection (i.e. L's and J's can't be next to each other, and neither can S's and Z's). They can touch on corners, but can't share a side.

2. All tetraminos must be adjacent when you are done (that is, they must form a solid "path" with no "islands").

3. Tetraminos can't form 2-by-2 blocks (i.e. no O-blocks!). That is, the "path" your tetraminos form must always be 1 tile wide.

Here are two clues to get you started:

Find the four-tile spaces. They're already shaped like the tetraminos that go inside them, so fill them in.

If filling in a given square would create a 2-by-2- block, mark it so that you know it can't be filled in.

So. At #2. Could someone tell me

Where to START the loop from? The rules are so complicated they forgot if there is any rule here. I'm pretty sure starting the loop just about anywhere won't work.

Raddaya: Here's the answer in the form of a riddle:

El círculo que dice que "yes."

#3 is killing me. Even after reading the hints to figure out what I was actually supposed to do, I don't get how I'm supposed to get the "solution" for the larger sections without just doing trial and error.

...Well, I eventually figured out that

not only square tetrominoes are disallowed; you also can't have *any* square group of shaded areas (the tetrominoes are the shaded parts).

I finally solved #3.

And now #4 is somehow kicking my ass. I'm pretty sure I made a mistake early in the puzzle...

...Well, now I *know* I did, because I figured out the right word using letters that, given my "progress", would not have been included. I guess I'll continue on instead of trying to figure out where I went wrong.

@raddaya:

A loop really doesn't have a beginning or an end, but we don't really need to care about this for a while.

Noting that all squares that have "circles" in them are part of the loop, we can simply adhere to the rules that must be followed when the loop passes through a circle, and the fact that there is only one loop, to begin to determine which box boundaries MUST be passed through, and also which box boundaries CANNOT be passed through. These will play on each other for a while, and fill in about 90% of the loop.

But we also need to keep in mind that the letters on the loop will form words (separated by spaces), so, for instance, we can be sure that the loop does not contain the sequence "[space]conatuorlations[space]"

In truth, the 90% of the loop that can be filled in by logic alone is enough to get the answer.

That...did not help. If someone could give me any one

turn

in that puzzle, that'd be great, because at this point this is just trial-and-error. Like a certain puzzle in the previous one. Hmm...

Wait, thank you Physcher. I didn't see your comment. I'll try that later, thanks.

#5 was much easier to solve than #4, mostly because I didn't mess up right at the beginning. And Ryusui's hints didn't hurt, either. :P

....solved #2. Did not help. Like, seriously. What am I supposed to do with this

loop?

Sorry if you're already doing this and I've managed to miss it, but maybe you guys could edit the original post after the contest period is over to include a link to the solutions? I was totally stumped by last week's and it would be nice to know how it was done.

[Can do! We've actually been posting the answers as a walkthrough comment after the contest deadlines. We'll try to bump those up to the top of the page so they can be more easily found. Thanks! --Steve]

Anyway, my overall thoughts on the puzzle: I dislike the trend of using puzzle formats I've never even heard of or done before. Once the actual format was figured out, only a few of these puzzles really took a decent amount of time to do.

I liked this batch a lot more than last week's, especially #4 when I figured out how to do it (#3 on the other hand I can't understand why anyone would want to play on a regular basis).

I did have the advantage of starting later, however, so I could just look at the spoilers to see what the puzzle formats were and go from there. I imagine I'd be more frustrated if I had to figure out what the puzzles were on my own.

Oh god, I'm stuck on 3. I THOUGHT I found an answer but the letters made no words :/ Even with all the hints...

That's that. I give up. #3 is officially impossible.

Let me see if I understand the rules that govern #2:

From the Wikipedia entry on Masyu

You pass straight through a white circle, but you must turn in the square immediately before and/or after it.

You make a turn in a black circle, but you must pass straight through both immediately adjacent squares.

If the square is not near a black or white circle, you're on your own. Turn or turn not, there is no rule.

ray9na, about #2:

That's about right. You can figure out some blank squares by thinking ahead, though. "If I connect these two, I'll have a loose end here and won't be able to complete the loop."

The only place I ran into real trouble with that was in the top-left corner, but it turns out you don't need to finish the loop completely to get the next word.

nerdypants, re #2:

Once my eyes uncrossed sufficiently, I began to see words. :) I was helped greatly by someone's hint as to where it starts, and I was partly hindered by

blank spaces, which at first I thought

needed to be filled in.

Proud to say I'm now making progress on #3!

Boy, am I stupid. I didn't realize I could just

enter the letters into an anagram finder

on #1, so I just went ahead and solved the whole thing. #2 and #5 were confusing because I misread the rules, and #3 pretty much made me go "AAAAAAAAAGH" with frustration, but (I kid you not) I did a little victory dance when I realized #4 was a

Ripple Effect

puzzle, because they're pretty much my absolute favorite.

Ryusui, re #5

Your "partial clue" to nerdypants

seems to make it hard to solve the

9

ray9na:

The 9 is actually the easiest to figure out. Its view in one direction will be limited due to another, smaller number very close to it.

If I were you, I'd focus on figuring out the 9 before you do anything else.

nerdypants:

Yeah, that's what I ended up doing, more or less. Add a dash of insight and a touch of luck, and suddenly a wild word appears. Only time will tell if it was the right one, though.

raddaya, if you're still playing, here's some help on 3:

First off, it's an awful game. I think it's important to recognize that. Second, if you read through the other spoilers you'll know it's LITS.

The rules are fairly simple (in theory). Within each large shape you need to make a 4-block shape (think Tetris). The shapes you can use resemble the letters L, I, T, and S. There can't be any shaded 2x2 blocks in the final solution. This includes 2x2s made from multiple shapes. You CAN however have a 2x2 area that's NOT shaded in (this threw me for awhile). The other rules are that you can't have any "similar" blocks (rotation & reflection) touching either horizontally or vertically (diagonal is fine). Similar blocks can touch other parts of the larger shape as long as they're not touching the actual shaded in part (another thing that threw me). Oh, and the last thing is that at the end all the shaded shapes have to be connected somehow either horizontally or vertically (it does not have to be a nice loop like the previous game. Just no shaded pieces on their own). The white spaces do not have to be connected.

Hopefully that helped somewhat. I hope you keep trying; #4 and #5 are much nicer than this one!

Oh! I didn't see the part about

no 2-by-2 blocks at all!

Trying again!

yay! I did it! great fun!

A little off topic, but I haven't seen any announcements for the winners of the previous 3 contests yet. Am I just missing them somewhere?

DragonDame:

The winners are announced on the respective pages. I've seen winners announced on the pages for the first and second game. They don't seem to have announced the winners for game #3 yet, though.

I know that this is an older contest, I just wanted to comment on these and I didn't get to before! I wanted to put in my vote that I really liked searching for and learning about the puzzles that were new-to-me. I noticed that some people did not like learning WHAT the puzzle was, learning HOW to do the puzzle, then actually trying to SOLVE the puzzle. To each his own and all that... I really liked doing that part. To me that was a part of the whole puzzle experience. So thanks a bunch to all involved in creating and putting together the fun for us.

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