Letters In Boxes: The Basics
Perhaps you've been wandering through the endless corridors of this website and found a "game" that seemed to be little more than a picture of gibberish text in a grid. "Surely," you think, "there's got to be more than meets the eye here." And there is! You've stumbled upon Letters In Boxes, a (usually) weekly feature here on Jay Is Games. If you love a good word puzzle with some tricky twists tossed in, you'll want to keep an eye out for new editions. But if you're new to the game and looking for instructions to get started, here's a little guide to help you out.
What is Letters In Boxes?
Letters In Boxes is a word puzzle (with the added bonus of a contest). Each week, a series of four (occasionally five) puzzles are presented in the form of image files. To play, click on the first puzzle (found near the bottom of each LIB article) to open it in a new window. When each puzzle is solved, you'll find either the answer itself, or a phrase referencing how to find the answer.
You'll notice that the image has its own unique filename and directory. You can advance to the next puzzle by changing the filename in the image's web address to your answer. The answer to the first puzzle is the filename for the second puzzle, the answer to the second is the filename for the third, and so on. (If you try an incorrect filename, you'll see an error message, but you can always go back and try another answer.) When you've solved all four puzzles, you are invited to submit your answer to our contest e-mail address for your chance to win a prize for that week's puzzle set.
The puzzles you might find in a LIB challenge may vary from logic puzzles to crossword variations and everything in between. If you ever find yourself stuck on a puzzle, feel free to check out that week's comments section. We've got plenty of players who love working together and dropping hints for those who need them!
How do I solve a Letters In Boxes puzzle?
Since there's no strict format for any Letters In Boxes puzzle, it's hard to give specific hints for solving them, aside from this: be observant. Look at all of the elements that make up the puzzle. Perhaps its shape or layout will give you a hint. Do you see any patterns, such as repeating letters? Or missing letters? Don't forget that some weeks have specific themes tied to the puzzles.
Let's take a look at a previous puzzle as an example. This puzzle comes from the beginning of Letters In Boxes #22. We've got a 3x6 grid of letters, and no words seem to be readily visible within the grid. If you look closely, you'll notice that none of the letters appear twice. Plus, a number of letters in the alphabet are missing! Those letters are C, E, J, O, P, R, S, and T. If you rearrange those letters, you can make the word PROJECTS. If you try putting that answer into your browser (projects.gif), you'll find the next puzzle!
General rules and tips
- Unless otherwise noted, all images used in Letters In Boxes puzzles are .gif images, and are found in the http://images.jayisgames.com/lettersinboxes/ directory. When changing the filename to check an answer, make sure you're not changing anything else!
- The email address for submitting your final answers is the same for every week, and is always found on the last puzzle's image (if that week's contest is still running). To avoid spam troubles, we never list the email address on this site; those final images are the only places you'll find that email address.
- Generally speaking, there is no image after the final puzzle in a series. If you try inputting your answer in your browser, most of the time you'll find the same error image you'd find for an incorrect answer. On some occasions, a "test image" will be added to allow you to confirm your answer before submitting it. You can check the comments for that week's series to see if a test image has been added.
- Most answers used in this puzzle series are one word, always typed into the browser in lowercase letters. If the answer is more than one word, enter them as one word without spaces.
- Unless otherwise noted, all words are in English with American spellings. (For example, color instead of colour, aluminum instead of aluminium, and elevator instead of lift. We're just kidding on that last one, by the way.)
- Only one entry is allowed per person. If you need to resubmit or change your answer, only your last entry will be counted as your entry into the contest.
There are a few common tricks we like to use in puzzles. Try these if you get stuck:
- If you find numbers, try using the old alphabet/number pairing system of A=1, B=2, C=3, and so forth.
- Sometimes, the answer might be part of a larger phrase, such as "THE ANSWER IS X" or "THE NEXT PUZZLE IS AT X". Try searching for words like puzzle, answer, solution, etc. to help guide your way to the answer.
- A, E, I, O, and U will always be considered vowels; all other letters (including Y) are considered consonants. You might find a pattern if you split given letters into these two groups.
- Answers usually read from left to right, top to bottom, but don't be surprised if a different direction is used.
- If solving a puzzle gives you a handful of letters, try rearranging them to see if they spell anything.
- Watch out for red herrings!
Don't forget that along with each puzzle series, there's also a running discussion thread for that week's puzzles. Feel free to ask for or share hints there, as we've got quite a large community of solvers working right alongside you. Answers are usually posted shortly after the contest deadline, and contest winners are announced usually within a few days (after they've been contacted and confirmed). That's the basics of Letters In Boxes, now pick a pack of puzzles and start solving!