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Letters In Boxes #11

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You Are Games

Letters in Boxes #11

ArtbegottiAh, the magic of the perfect ripple shuffle. You take the top half of the deck (face down, of course) in your left hand, then with a fluid motion, let the bottom card slip out of your left hand, then the right, then the left, continuing until both hands are depleted of cards. Repeat that twice (minding the jokers along the way), and you've got a perfect deck with cards ready for Canfield, Crazy Eights, or Contract Bridge. The process, when done flawlessly, is stunning to watch, and makes you look like a card shark without ever betting a chip.

Being a word shark can win you a prize you can sink your teeth into! (Amazingly, I'm already out of shark jokes.) This week's Letters In Boxes challenge requires you to shuffle around a little bit looking for the answers. Solve all four puzzles, send in your answer, and if you trump the competition, you'll be a winner!

As usual, your first puzzle is located just below. Click on it to open it up in a new window. Solve it, then change the filename in the address bar (in this case, "eleveneleveneleven") to your answer (making sure you use the same directory and extension as before). If you're right, you're pegging your way closer to the prize! If you're not right, you can always discard your answer and try again.

Letters in Boxes #11 - Puzzle 1This batch of puzzles contains four puzzles to solve. On the fourth 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, August 22nd at 11:59 PM (GMT-5:00). Do the cards hold a prize in your future? You've got to play to find out!

Update: Congratulations to these 11 winners! :D

  • OtherBill ...First!
  • Dom
  • Ryusui
  • squawky
  • Tweetheart
  • m5rammy
  • bluemoose19
  • Dragonxpert
  • DAM
  • kublai
  • eugenides
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!


schizophoenix August 18, 2011 3:32 PM

Couldn't solve the second one correctly, but I cracked it with the help of an anagram solver. The third one, though... Hm.

Vogonviking August 18, 2011 3:39 PM

Any chance of a nudge for number 2 please? I can't work out anagrams from the numbered rows but I can't see any other way yet.

Lyssandre August 18, 2011 3:40 PM

Yeah, I am struggling on two as well. Where did you find the anagram solver?


A little stuck on 2... gosh, I'm so bad at anagrams.

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 3:42 PM

Think of shuffling. I got a bit of the filler text, and worked out the rest with guesswork, so no complete solution here.


schizophoenix August 18, 2011 3:44 PM

Oh, just so I don't mislead anyone, I believe a correct solution for 2 will not require an anagram solver.

nerdypants August 18, 2011 4:22 PM

Hm. Stuck on #2.

donhuando August 18, 2011 4:37 PM

Stuck on 2.
This is what I thought:

Replace the row marked 1 on the left with the row marked 1 on the right. Replace row marked 2 on left with column marked 2 on right. etc...
The problem is that you can either take into account changes from previous steps or you can use the original grids for each step when replacing. I tried both methods and ended up with basically nothing, or maybe I'm not noticing what I'm supposed to be noticing.

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 4:42 PM

donhuando: That's what I did. If the puzzle is correct, there must be another way. But that was enough for me to see something interesting.

donhuando August 18, 2011 4:56 PM

I do see something, but can't make anything out of it really:

on the left:
its a waste

on the right:
here instead

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 5:03 PM

donhuando: That's all I saw too. Can you fill in the rest? Remember it's filler text.

Anybody got anywhere on 3? I don't see how the title applies or where to begin. I just see the right letters to puzzle me.

ThemePark August 18, 2011 5:13 PM

I'm with donhuando on this one. Except that I see a bit more.

It also has the word never and it says look here instead.

But I'm just as puzzled as he is.

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 5:26 PM

ThemePark: Almost there!

never ---- ---- ---. it's a waste. look here instead.

silvershadow August 18, 2011 5:32 PM

For the second one, I think it's supposed to say.

never ignore hints, it's a waste. look here instead.

Though, I'm not sure what to do with that yet.

ThemePark August 18, 2011 5:42 PM

I can't figure out the missing words.

It should be _go_ e___ ___ if it's split up as schizophoenix suggests, but there are not many four letters words with go in the middle and none of them match. I think the middle word is exit but that's all I'm getting.


my #2 letter transposition isn't working out right...

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 5:51 PM

Themepark: That's the part I don't get either. I solved it by taking

never mind this box.

ThemePark August 18, 2011 6:00 PM

Well Steve, I tried the method after making the change you mentioned, and the puzzle works beautifully now. :)

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 6:02 PM

Okay. I'm going to sleep, let the sun rise, and trust that other fertile brains will give hints on 3 when I wake. No wonder nobody else seemed to get 2.


Ah, that makes a lot more sense, thanks. ;-)

ThemePark August 18, 2011 6:06 PM

About #3, it's obvious what to do, but what I can't figure out is

where to divide, especially since there's an odd number of letters


Well, damn!


yeah, that fix was kinda critical...thanks

ThemePark August 18, 2011 6:38 PM

Thoughts on #3:

After having looked up what stacking the deck means, that the deck has been rifled and that we have to stack it by undoing the rifle shuffle and by doing that we'll get a sentence.

However, I have tried doing just that, assuming that the left pile gets 18 cards and reversing the shuffle 3 times, but nothing comes of it.

bubblecamera August 18, 2011 6:39 PM

Okay, I need help with puzzle 2.

I've swapped the rows and columns, and I ended up with a message (which doesn't reveal the answer) followed by ten seemingly random letters. I've tried anagramming them and just entering them as they are, but I can't figure out anything.

Can anybody give me a hint or two?


I don't think 3 is that complex, Themepark.

Look for the words "Find puzzle Four..." and you'll notice you can spell it out by taking one letter at a time from the five rows in a repeating sequence. However, it's not clear where to go from there.

Incidentally, the same rows backwards have an "ING" that would make for a great ending to a word. I think you might have to do the second half in reverse.



Puzzle #3 does not involve a "ripple shuffle" (as described above).


Once you're done swapping rows and columns, if the text in the left box makes sense, then the text in the right box should make sense as well.

The puzzle was updated due to a typo fix--are you sure you're looking at the corrected version?

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 7:01 PM

Oh! I just got 3! Do exactly what it says:

stack them correctly.

Be careful, though, because there's also an ingenious little twist to make it work.

Not sure what to do with 4 though...

Vogonviking August 18, 2011 7:04 PM

No idea for no. 4. I really must go to bed though, but I can't give up now!

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 7:09 PM

Ah! 3 is nice! But isn't there a small typo in it too?

ThemePark August 18, 2011 7:09 PM


No, I don't see any such sequence because there's always a row skipped. For instance, I can see a pattern for UZZ, but then there's no L in the next row at the right place.

What I can't figure out:

Are the 5 rows supposed to be the cards, or is each letter individually a card?


Themepark -

Imagine each row is a hand of cards, and each letter is a card. You must then pull the cards back to make the deck. You are un-dealing them to get the original deck.

The trick is that the hands are not in the correct order. You will need to switch their positions to make that phrase appear. The 'hands' are also not arranged in order, as if the players rearranged the cards after they were dealt.

HOWEVER I have not solved the puzzle yet. I could be making a terrible error here.

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 7:22 PM

SirNiko: Think you're on the wrong track.

curiousgeorgie's hint for 3 is the crux. It's a pretty puzzle.

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 7:22 PM


Actually, I would think of each row as a card because there is one step in which you must treat it that way.


Hint for #3:

This one's not so difficult, guys...you could probably figure it out while standing on your head!

ThemePark August 18, 2011 7:30 PM

But the problem is that:

I really don't see how it's possible to stack the cards. If it's not the river shuffle as mentioned in the review that has been used, then I can't possibly know how to undo the shuffle since I don't know what method has been used for shuffling them.

Also, if I treat each row as one card, I'll just get gibberish, the letters within a row also needs to be swapped, perhaps with letters from another row.

Obviously there's a way to figure out how to undo the shuffle, but I can't see it at all.


Oh dang, I think I figured out the cruel twist.


Well, the last one's got me completely stumped, so I'll just take a (Ozzy Osbourne, album 4, track 9) and hope for the best.


For number 3:

First off, treat the rows as wholes, not individual cards.

One of the rows isn't read how you'd think it would be. When you change it, the correct stacking makes everything make sense without needing to move any letters around.

Anyone having any luck with number 4?


on 3

It's possible that you don't know the precise method, Themepark, and have to make some guesses based on deducation. That was my original thought.

I'm pretty sure I spotted the trick to the puzzle, but it doesn't seem to be guiding me anywhere.

I suspect that I must employ a method that loses a few letters to find the final answer.

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 7:44 PM

@ThemePark: You've already found a part of the pattern that's (almost) correct.

Treat each row as a card, but sometimes when you're in a hurry, you might not stack the cards exactly on top of each other.

ThemePark August 18, 2011 7:47 PM

Finally got #3! Thanks for all the hints, that was indeed an ingenious twist.

I got #4 right away.

I've mentioned previously how to solve it.


So, now I'm the one stuck on 3

Do I need to rotate the pieces as I stack them?

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 7:59 PM


You're on the right track, but you'd be better off keeping them right-side up until you're almost there. When you realize what you're missing, you'll realize what to flip.


I'm usually lousy at these LiB challenges, but I thought this one was lots of fun.

I stared at the last one for a long time--even ran it through an anagram generator (I was convinced that EPIC NONMETAL was a crucial clue)--but once I went back to the beginning, the cards all fell into place.


For number 4:

There are MANY eight letter words consisting of letters in that grid. The one you're looking for has a distinct pattern and the leftover letters have a pattern too. If you're missing a pattern, it's the wrong word.

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 8:45 PM

Yay, you got it! I guess you were prepared for the fourth puzzle by your efforts on the third. But I can't get 4 though I've tried it multiple ways...

I'm hoping the top half is what you would expect it to be, but after that, what's face down? Am I doing it or undoing it? How do I mind the jokers?

Maybe I'll just cut out some cards and physically shuffle them...



I feel so freaking dumb. I thought the clue was referring to card games, not anagrams.

Anyway, to quote the Doctor himself: "Look to your left."


I'm embarassed because I'm stuck at #1 but

I get it that it's possible to spell 4 birds names. But I can't see nothing further that.


Got the last one! It helps a bunch if you read the introductory paragraph.

Good puzzles! Number 3 had perhaps one too many tricks to it, though... but they were all very good tricks!

curiousgeorgie August 18, 2011 9:02 PM

Oh my goodness, I had it right in front of me long ago, I just couldn't read :P

Thanks for your help, guys :)


I'm probably thinking too hard to solve #4.

schizophoenix August 18, 2011 9:45 PM

Done! Thanks for hints all round.

One last thing bugging me: I don't mean to nitpick, but surely the last letter for 3 is incorrect?

Pixelated August 18, 2011 11:00 PM

I can't get past #1. I'm sure I've got the right answers:


but apparently it's a broken link. Any help?



Unscrambling the bird names is only half the puzzle. Take a look at the initials.


For 4, I'm trying to follow the instructions in the 1st paragraph as best I can, but I'm clearly screwing up somewhere. Can we get some more clarity on it?


Ditto here with #4.

According to ThemePark, the letters are ripple (or riffle) shuffled, but I can't figure out how to unshuffle them. Are we supposed to treat the entire 12-letter sequence as a deck to unshuffle? Or just certain letter groups as "cards"?

Also, #3 involves a dirty, dirty trick.

The middle row is upside-down. Not simply reversed, upside-down. Read it as "WIZOSNI" and the rest is trivial.

nerdypants August 19, 2011 12:36 AM

Having serious trouble with #2.

I've replaced row 1 from the right with row 1 from the left, and vice versa. And I have... a message that looks like it was written by a very drunk person. It goes, "meverminrthisboxitsa," which I take to mean, "nevermind this box, it's a." But after that it degenerates into unintelligible gibberish for a couple lines, then continues, "hereinstead," followed by more gibberish.

What am I doing wrong?

Pixelated August 19, 2011 12:42 AM

I can't get past #1. I'm sure I've got the right answers:


but apparently it's a broken link. Any help?



That's not the right answer. Read the initials. It's a four-letter word.


How are you copying the letters? Note that the order is important - each transposition will change the letters that need to be exchanged in subsequent moves.

For instance, after the first move, 2-2 will be KITEA, not KITTA.



re. #4: No need to think backwards.

donhuando August 19, 2011 2:23 AM

I need help with #3.
This is what I have:

Once I read that something is different about one of the rows, I noticed that INSOZIM can be rotated 180 degrees.

I still have no idea what to do, this is what I tried:

I tried arranging the letters in each column alphabetically. Didn't see any pattern there.
I tried arranging the letters in each row alphabetically. Didn't see any pattern.
I can't seem to figure out how I can look at a row as one card. The letters don't seem to form any name of a number or any of the card symbols.



The solution reads in columns from top to bottom, left to right.

The first words are "YOU WILL."

donhuando August 19, 2011 2:43 AM

Ok. I somehow managed to solve #3, but I don't know how I was supposed to know this:

I noticed that others wrote that it spells out "puzzle four" so I looked for a way to arrange the rows in order to get it.
But without knowing what it is supposed to spell out how was I to know what order the rows should go?
Also, shouldn't the E be an F?


I still can't figure out #4.

How am I supposed to split the letters? I take the top half in my left hand...that is, there's two ways I can split the grid, both mutually contradictory.

Also, @donhuando:

To your first question, "a sudden leap of Bruce Wayne-like logic." Really, the middle row being upside-down isn't a clever trick - it's just plain cheating. To answer your second, yes, it's even misspelled.

ThemePark August 19, 2011 2:56 AM


Each letter is a card, and you start out with a deck of cards, read from left to right, top to bottom. Now follow the instructions exactly (except for the face down part which is not important), and keep in mind that it's not a shuffle if it's only done once.



Thanks. I'd been doing it backwards. Bottom card in the left hand drops first... ^_^;

Vogonviking August 19, 2011 3:27 AM

@ Themepark

Thanks, I've got it now. I wasn't shuffling enough!


Some general advice on #4

If you think you're doing the right thing, but you can't find an answer: check every single step. Making a small mistake at the start will result in gibberish at the end. (I'm talking from experience.)

Nice round of puzzles this LiB. Though #2 wasn't very hard, I really enjoyed the result.


Regarding number 3

Having a deliberate misspelling is not, in my eyes, a bad way to ensure players find the mechanic rather than anagramming their way to the next puzzle. This is a pretty common tactic for crypto masters! That paired with the OTHER trick, though, was one trick too many. Perhaps it was unintentional?

Pixelated August 19, 2011 11:11 AM

Oops, accidentally posted twice before, my bad.
Anyway, thanks Ryusui. Got past #1 after that hint easily, then got through all the others with a little help from the comments.

Just finished 4;

It took me a while, because I was ripple shuffling the sequence I had been given, instead of backwards shuffling it. Once I realised this, it was easy.

Thanks everyone, done. C:


You know, I must have tried that every possible way. It just wasn't working. First try this morning, and it just clicked. Who knows why.

Also, I probably kept setting myself back thinking it was

pinnacle, a misspelling of pinochle, the card game.

At first I thought, there's no way they would have made that mistake. Then I looked at the last two puzzles, and my confidence in them was a little shaken. :-D

nerdypants August 19, 2011 3:33 PM

Thanks, Ryusui! That was what I was missing.

nerdypants August 19, 2011 5:45 PM

And I'm finally finished! The answer to #4 is quite appropriate, in my opinion.


There's something I'm severely missing with #4.

I've been trying to recreate the shuffle with real cards and then assigning them letters at the end, being very careful to shuffle exactly as the instructions say, but no matter what I do, it's the same jumbled nonsense every time. I've done this half a dozen times now and got the same pattern, so it can't be some stupid little mistake. There's something I'm fundamentally not getting about this puzzle.

This week's set overall just hasn't clicked with me. I've gotten answers without fully knowing why that was the answer.


Using comments for hints again this week - #4 had me for a while

It makes more sense to me if I deal from the bottom of the deck once the final shuffle is complete... wondering if I got something reversed somewhere along the way.


The anagram solver isn't the easy out this time - the extra four letters don't make a word, but they do have a pattern....

The final word is definitely appropriate.

nerdypants August 19, 2011 8:14 PM


Did you see ThemePark's and Ryusui's comments about the order the cards go in?

Also, don't forget to lather, rinse and...


Took a break, came back, and finally got it, only backwards...

Yeah, no idea why. I'm just really off with this set.


Regarding #4, I was having a hard time, mostly because my brain simply doesn't function where spatial relationships are involved. However, I took scissors and cut out real, physical blank cards

and wrote one letter on each card. Then I stacked them in the order given by the puzzle, cut them (6 in each hand), and riffle shuffled 3x.

And then it was a piece of cake!

@DAM, I also had to sleep on a puzzle - in my case #2 - but when I woke up this morning and thought about it, it was obvious!

My take on the rest of the game: #1 was simple (and I do appreciate that!), whereas #2-4 were quite challenging, at least to my mind.

Thanks for this @Steve; I look forward to Thursdays now!

werewolfman August 22, 2011 2:57 PM

What are the answers to #2,3,&4?

DragonDame August 22, 2011 4:02 PM


That is what I had to do as well before I finally saw the answer! For some reason, #4 was definitely giving me the most trouble this week until you suggested that. Thanks!


Darn, I missed another.


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