# You Are Games: Letters In Boxes #14

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Keeping with our fall curriculum of Learning Through Educational Puzzles, we continue LIB 12's lesson on base mathematics with a practical application of what you've learned in the context of paramathematical temporal delineations. We're all familiar with temporal pseudodelineations, as they are used in farming pigs, but the introduction of this new form of mathematics creates a gyroscopic plane of multidimensional hydroelectrology that transcends wonder to create this week's Letters In Boxes challenge.

Or, there's no specific theme to this week's puzzles.

As usual, your first puzzle is below. Click on it to open it in a new window, and once you've solved it, change the filename (in this case, "fourtotheteen") to your answer. If you're right, you'll transmute through the temporal marginalizations to the next puzzle. If you're wrong, you'll receive a quantum demerit, but you can always back up and try again.

Update: Congratulations to the following winners! :D

• Tweetheart ...First!
• zoz
Both winners were given a choice of prizes. Congratulations and thanks for playing with us! Look for another Letters in Boxes again soon!

The first one was pretty easy, but the second one has me stumped.

I keep looking at the shape each set of digits make, but I've gotten nowhere. Converting to 1337 doesn't seem to give anything either.

One is easy once you spot it (as these things often are). Impossible until you do though.

#1

There is something unusual about the letters which shows that they aren't random.

Got through the first without any problems, now I'm stuck on the second puzzle.

September 8, 2011 3:52 PM

I agree. No solutions for the second one coming from here.
I thought that maybe

You have to add the numbers in each row/column, and convert with A=1, B=2 etc., but that has got me nowhere.

Stuck on #3.

We can't help you out on 3 until you give us a clue for 2....

2:

Eliminate everything that falls into the pattern

Lot of patterns on #3. Nothing sticks to give an answer yet though.

And for #2:

Don't bother trying to treat it like a cryptogram and lose an hour like I did.

Gonna have to roll on home soon, and have a couple thing to get done first, so I'm out for now...good luck everybody!

Also, a non-negative hint for #2:

There's no need to draw any diagonal lines. But...

...after you're done you'll still have to squint a bit to decipher the answer.

Man, #3 is a toughie. Then again, maybe it was just me. I figured out the phrase and still had to make a couple of guesses until I found the correct answer. I've got a feeling #4 won't be any easier. Good job, Steve!

You're not kidding about the awkward phrasing. ;)

Well, I got #3, but mostly by brute force. Your hint that it should be very obvious pointed out the right pattern to follow, so thanks!

And apparently #3 stole any extra patterns it had from #4. I can't find anything to work with so far.

Need help with #2.
I tried a few things, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere:

I tried to connect from 0 to 5 somehow, but couldn't find any way with straight lines, or with moves according to the numbers.
I tried to connect all the numbers of the same type, but got nothing.
I tried to connect all consecutive numbers and ended up with 4 numbers in the bottom left corner (4, 2, 5 and 4), but didn't get anything from that.
I tried to pretend as though the numerals were written on the 5x5 grid and to eliminate any instance of a numeral being placed where a line passes for it's big version, but got nothing.

For number 2,

You are trying to make a five letter word, on letter at a time.

You might have to use your imagination a bit to see the letters.

Still not certain on #3.

@donhuando

One of the methods you tried already is a good start.

Number four has me baffled.

There are a lot of words that you can make in a Boggle-like fashion (e.g., skiing), but that doesn't seem to lead anywhere.

There are a lot of double letters, most of which are in either the same row or column, but that doesn't seem to lead anywhere either (drawing lines among them, looking at the letters between them, and looking at the leftover letters have all failed me.

There is one row and one column that lack a vowel, so patterns of letters are going to have to span more than one.

Connecting the same numbers or crossing them out so the grid forms some sort of letter.

I just can't find any way to do that that makes sense.

September 8, 2011 7:17 PM

I feel like a huge idiot for getting stuck on #1, which everyone seems to have had no trouble with. Does the puzzle have to do with

symmetry?

And if it does, can I have any tips on how to apply that knowledge? I see that

the bottom row of the left grid and the left column of the right grid each have a line of symmetry,

but how does that help, if at all?

@bubblecamera:

Spot-the-difference. Backwards.

Having trouble with #2 myself. SirNiko's hint confuses me a bit...

...if the answer is five letters long, then why do the numbers start at 0?

Never mind, solved #2.

Connect-the-dots.

Straight lines only - no diagonals!

The zeros are leftovers. Ignore them.

got through #1 no problem

take out the extra

#2 I solved with SirNiko's post, and now I'm stuck on 3... I know that the answer is right there, but i can't see it. Plz help :)

Okay, I'm on 4 now.

On 3:

There's a secret message to be found, but it's easy to get confused. The 8 letter word in the first box is almost a total red herring, don't try to find more words like it. Once you have the message, take it as literally as possible (which is tough, because it's phrased in a confusing way!).

On 4:

I'm stumped. The only thing I notice is that E, M, W, V, U and Z are the only letters that are not repeated, but those do not appear to make a word. A appears 4 times, everything else is once or twice. That's gotta be a clue to the solution.

Just got #2, so another hint for that.

The way that probably seems most obvious, is the way to go. But keep in mind that the answer is skewed.

It's interesting how different people's brains work. I actually though #4 was the easiest of the 4 (well, maybe after #1).

Hints for #4

An anagram solver is a big help here.

Not all anagram solvers are created equally. I used the one at wordsolver.net.

Still stuck on #3 here.

SirNiko's clue tells me the first word is a red herring, but I can't make heads or tails of the other three boxes. I can make out stuff like "INTO" in box 2 and "SEE THE" in box 3, but I have no idea if I'm solving it properly.

September 8, 2011 9:54 PM

@Ryusui
For 3:

The boxes are numbered for a reason.

You need to make bigger circles.

The answer is a little bit strange, but you'll know when you get it.

Now what do I do with 4?

@spaceloaf

Really. The anagram solver that you linked to won't accept strings as long as the entire set of letters from puzzle 4. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a column with no vowels, so anagraming the individual columns doesn't work. Same thing with the rows. Therefore, the obvious ways to subdivide the grid to enter the letters into an anagram solver don't work.

Alternate anagram solvers will accept all of the letters (e.g., http://wordsmith.org/anagram/), but the number of possible answers is enormous.

I can't see how to brute-force it (besides, there has to be a more elegant way to do it), and I don't see how to implement your suggestion.

@Rysuki

Note that Sir Niko states that it is ALMOST a red herring. In fact, the first word does play a role, but not the one you might expect

For #3

The boxes are numbered for a reason

I'm also stuck on #4, even with spaceloaf's hints.

Though, with the aid of anagrams I have found other words, including comers, bazaar, skiing, and cognac. This doesn't seem to help, though

@kdausman (and others who want more hints for #4)

I never suggested that I put all of the letters into the solver at once. They are arranged in rows for a reason....
Also, you should pay more attention to the features that the solver I linked to has. There is a very specific reason I used it and it has nothing to do with string length.

@curiousgeorgie #3

Wax on, wax off. What are these

"bigger circles"

of which you speak?

On 3:

Thinking in circles is likely to confuse. Try putting all four "blocks" together, and see if you start forming words.

@spaceloaf

Much better hint. And I like the anagram solver choice. Though, if you know what you're doing it is unnecessary. (it does help, and was quite useful for checking my work)

Double post!

On number 4, I'm still stumped

I thought about taking one letter from each row, top to bottom, and forming a word with it, but if that's the method it seems highly unlikely Steve would have put double letters in two of the rows. Maybe that's still the right method, but I haven't found a word and it seems doubtful the wordsmith path supports that kind of a selective search. (But if it does, I want to know how! I've been searching for a solver that can build a word out of several groups of letters for ages!)

@nfields

Very true; I figured out what needed to be done almost instantly, but I'm I'm actually quite terrible at word games. It would have taken me forever to figure everything out without help.

I'm an engineer, so for me the interesting part of the problem is figuring out the concept. The execution can be left to computers.

One more hint for #4 since I realize my previous hints might have been misleading depending on how you interpret them:

To solve this puzzle, you have to find what's missing.

Got it! Thanks, spaceloaf!

And using your tool I can confirm that there is in fact only one answer (where all of the words involved are in the SOWPODS dictionary).

I agree with Steve... you need to see the pattern before using the tool, otherwise you're lost.

@SirNiko:

Now I have a 6x6 grid of nonsense. What next?

Some side effects of number 4 may include:

double vision

So I found a way to extract 4-letter words from the boxes, but it's just random words (and one repeat). Three of them are only proper 3-letter words after I ignore either the first or last letter, but one of those can go either way - although I can only make a 3-letter word from the leftover letters if the last one is

one-t, rather than o-net

But on the other hand, two of them (including this one) make proper 4-letter words if they're slightly anagrammed.

Don't know if this is making any sense.

@ray9na

I suspect you're on the right track, but aren't quite there yet.

Look for a message, not a set of letters

@kdausman

Hmm... I managed it with the TWL - or whatever the scrabble one was, but it gave me more options than I wanted. I figured it out by logic, but still - aack, for instance has more than one option (albeit the second is less common).

@ajslama
That hint is unnecessary and gives too much away. Or at least, if someone is really struggling with the puzzle. A witty puzzle solver who is looking for tips or for fresh approaches could stumble on your hint and find the riddle spoiled.

D'oh, I'm late to this particular party. Ah, well.

Need some help on #3:

I've think I've found the secret message:

Discover one truth key in the over?

but could use a nudge from there...

Thanks!

@nfields

There are certainly multiple intermediate solutions for several of the lines (four, I think), but after exhausively cataloging all of the possibilities and searching on all combinations, there is only one final answer that is a word in the larger dictionary.

@OtherBill, I think that clue is giving away a bit too much, and probably should be removed, and yet...

You're not quite there; the message uses all of the letters. Apparently I'm sort of like half a step ahead of you because I'm pretty sure I've got the full message, I just can't figure out what the heck it means.

@OtherBill:

I don't care if you've pretty much spoiled the entire puzzle, that was exactly the kick I needed. Thanks. Now I just have to figure out what it means.

Hey, JiG folks...

BBrucker and Ryusui both indicate that my message gives away a bit too much on #3.

Would you delete both my previous message and this one? Thanks!

@B Brucker:

My message does use all the letters. However, (1) I'm still not convinced it's correct, and (2) I still don't know how to interpret it.

Regardless, I've asked the admins to delete my previous message, since it appears to give away too much on #3.

@OtherBill:

You are missing letters: the final four (starting with the "b" in "doorknob").

This is the "awkward phrasing" we were warned about. Replace "key in the" with just "key is" and it'll make sense.

Thanks, Ryusui.

I've caught my mistake and moved on to #4. :-)

@OtherBill:

You are missing four letters from the full message.

the four last ones

Then you need to kind of force the next puzzle name from it

Aaaaand done! :3

So. Clues for all!

#1:

Spot-the-difference. Backwards.

#2:

Connect-the-dots.

Straight lines only - no diagonals!

The zeros are leftovers. Ignore them.

#3:

A strange kind of acrostic.

The eight-letter word in the top left is obvious, but it's only the beginning.

It's the last eight letters that are most important.

#4:

Each row is a six-letter word, with a single letter missing.

The math works out, but the trick is, how?

A hint for #4:

I don't want to give anything away so I will just recommend which row to look at first:

I recommend starting form one of these rows: BAZR or VACM. Once you figure it out it can help with others.

Okay, done.

Ryusui: your clue on #4 returned the favor of my clue on #3. :-D

#2's still not making any sense to me.

The lines that I draw to connect the 1's don't look like anything, and neither does the negative space. The only one that makes any kind of sense is the 3's and 4's.

I know I said in the "SirNiko wins" entry (congrats again, BTW) that I was ready for more headaches and a-ha moments, but I didn't mean to put so much emphasis on the headaches! D:

(cue the "A-HA!" moment) P.O.P. goes the weasel. Never mind! XP

...Wow. The last two just fell together like dominoes. O_o;

September 9, 2011 3:15 AM

Oh, wow. #3 was a doozy. I'm still not sure how exactly I was supposed to get the answer. I only got it by desperately trying every possibility I could think of.

On to #4!

Thanks for keeping on with these, JiG! I really enjoyed this bunch, especially #4, which just fell into place. Having not read the hints already posted for #4, here's mine:

Ignore the vertical and concentrate on the horizontal at first.

It took a lot of time and reading hints before #4 clicked in my head. So here's a hint for those who're having trouble on it.

What does consumption of a plethora of alcohol usually give you? No, I'm not talking about alcohol poisoning here.

@nerdypants, by way of Ryusui's clues for all, re #3

Speak friend and enter.

Regarding methods of solving #4

Once I realized what needed to be done, I got it. It's relatively straightforward. I don't see how nagging any rams would be relevant.

September 9, 2011 3:33 PM

Needed help with 3, but 4 fell right out, super easy.

September 9, 2011 3:58 PM

Still confused, but with a new door to the the Mines of Moria in my living room.

#4 was really easy, though. This was a fun set of puzzles, even if #3 was a bit more puzzling than most.

After losing power and internet (again!) for four days, I couldn't wait to get back online to tackle this week's puzzle. However, puzzles #2 and #3 tackled me. My advice to anyone stuck like I was on #2

Don't expect what you end up with to really look like letters. Use your imagination (alot!) combined with possible words that could be lurking in your answer. I was amazed when I typed in my candidate answer and went to the next puzzle!

and on #3

You will eventually get a series of real words if you follow some great clues, especially if you combine the clues from curiousgeorgie and SirNiko. Even so, it still won't make any sense! Just type it in and see if it flies...

Thank goodness for numbers 1 and 4!

Got number 4! I really can't believe I did not notice that!

Gotta say steve, not my favorite. #2 in particular was a little too much of a stretch.

This set of puzzles was pretty difficult. I had to look at hints for three out of four of them!

Anyone still playing? I'm stuck on #4. I get what I have to do, and I've done it, but I'm not getting a final answer out of it. Am I correct in thinking:

I put my new words back into a 6x7 grid and the answer appears? Or do I anagram from there?

tigrita:

There's no need to anagram anything. Just remember what was missing, and read from top to bottom.

Thanks nerdypants! Let's hear it for over-thinking. The hints about needing

the expanded dictionary

got me thinking it was more complicated.

I'm curious as to what part people needed it for, since I didn't use it until after I couldn't find an answer.

Ok finally got them. Had to take off for like a day or two, then it was much easier. Just clicked second time around

I see what was confusing me so much about #3:

I didn't go in a clockwise direction to read the words, so they ended up in an even less sensible order.

Oh well, what matters is that I got it in the end, though it sort of cheapens the victory to know I just stumbled upon the answer.

@Steve:

Whee! That was me! :)

(Sometimes I have zero wisdom. Can someone please delete this and my previous comment before anyone else sees?)

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