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You Are Games:
Letters In Boxes #21

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You Are Games

Letters in Boxes #21

ArtbegottiNot too much unlike a previous puzzle pack, this week's Letters In Boxes challenge might require a bit of handiwork to solve. While it's possible to solve every puzzle this week without wasting paper, you might find this week's puzzles to be a bit easier if you keep the scissors close at hand. Don't worry, there's no crazy three-dimensional folding this time around. Just a lot of overlapping. See how well you stack up with this week's puzzles!

To play, click on your first puzzle below to open it up in a new window. Once you think you've got an answer, focus your attention on your browser's address bar. Change the image's filename (starting off this time with "twentyonederful") to your answer, making sure you stay in the same directory and keep the same file extension. If you're right, you'll see the next puzzle on the double! If you're wrong, you'll see an error message, but don't let that smother your spirits; you can always back up and try again.

Letters in Boxes #21 - 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 (note the special instructions this week). We'll hand out a prize to the first correct entry we receive, plus one additional randomly-selected correct entry. 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, November 7th at 11:59 PM (GMT-5:00). Location pending, that means you might have an extra hour to get your answer in this weekend. Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to the following winners! :D

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


Well, the first was pretty simple. The second needs experimentation.


Well, for #2 I think I have the tools. I'm just not sure where to use them.

I've tried all over, but nothing made sense. I wonder if I ought to reverse the jelly baby, er, polarity of the neutron flow.

Vogonviking November 3, 2011 10:41 AM

Regarding #2

Who is the guy mentioned? I googled it and got a video of a really cute dog!



Game designer Simple Andy...JIG has reviewed several of his games


That being said, I don't find that it helps me!


Got #2!

Don't get your words crossed.

Vogonviking November 3, 2011 10:52 AM

@ dsrtrosy. Thanks, I'll look him up.


@Dsrtrosy, if you try playing them, you might find what inspired puzzle #2.

Also, Steve, regarding the last puzzle:

In my analysis, there's only one pattern that gives two common, English words. In fact, there's only one pattern that gives two words at all.


Question, re: #3

Is it perhaps tackled similarly to #1 ?


Parse, I have tried playing them and just couldn't get into them. Which is why, as I said, the clue doesn't actually help me much. Suppose I could just open up a walkthrough and force my way through one of them, if you think it would really help.

Littleghost November 3, 2011 11:28 AM

I'm assuming that the hidden message in #2 is just a red herring? Even still, I've used my secret decoder extensively and not come up with much of anything.



1/0, on/off, true/false


I got #3 out of luck and insight. I don't know what pattern or rules it follows.


Addendum to my above thought re: #3

The re-arrangement of rows and columns was easy enough, but beyond that ...

sunney444 November 3, 2011 1:06 PM

I am so stumped on #2. I got the whole sentence but um still super lost.


Here's a hint that doesn't deal with those games, then.

That 3x5 grid at the bottom? You don't need to fill that with letters. What else could you use that thing for?

You're correct. Big cats and your enemies are safe from your pruney wrath.

If you aren't getting anything from your decoder, try looking at it in a different way. Kinda like that optical illusion, with the vase and the faces? (If not, google it. :)


Those numbers aren't just labels. What else could they be used for?


Here's a hint that doesn't deal with those games, then.

That 3x5 grid at the bottom? You don't need to fill that with letters. What else could you use that thing for?

You're correct. Big cats and your enemies are safe from your pruney wrath.

If you aren't getting anything from your decoder, try looking at it in a different way. Kinda like that optical illusion, with the vase and the faces? (If not, google it. :)


Those numbers aren't just labels. What else could they be used for?

Chelsea_G November 3, 2011 2:58 PM

I'm not getting #2, even with all the hints given. I see the sentence, but don't know what to do with the grid.

I noticed that there are 15 spots in the grid and 15 words in the sentence. Is that at all important? Also, as far as optical illusions go, I got nada. It looks like a little dog with no legs and big tail!


Hint for #2:

Make sure your secret decoder ring is properly fenestrated.

donhuando November 3, 2011 3:13 PM


Try to do what the beginning of the message says and see where you hit.

Chelsea_G November 3, 2011 3:27 PM

Thanks ray9na! Your advice was awesome.

It helped when I copied it into gimp and moved the thing around.


Has anyone gotten #4 yet?

The possible combinations are making me cross-eyed, although I think I've been able to rule out a small handful of possibilities.

BeagleBag November 3, 2011 3:30 PM

#4, I have an idea, but it only works for 2 of the 4 boxes with letters. Not sure how they all fit together.

ThemePark November 3, 2011 4:18 PM



BeagleBag November 3, 2011 4:28 PM

Well, it's pretty easy to at least narrow down what the first and last letters might be. Beyond that, there are so many possibilities :(.


@BeagleBag re #4:

Some initial combinations don't work. Those are a little easier to rule out.


For #4,

there are 24 possible combinations.
For further instructions, see #3.

sunney444 November 3, 2011 6:05 PM

On #2, I have tried the view finder thing. And I can't seem to make any sense of the letters it leaves. I also looked up the optical illusion thing and nothing. Any other ideas?

Any help would be awesome :)



Black is white. White is black.

Vogonviking November 3, 2011 6:11 PM

Any hints for #3 please?

Vogonviking November 3, 2011 6:18 PM


You can make two versions of the viewfinder. Only one works!


Done. Hints for all!


Follow the instructions.


Black is white - no rotation necessary!


This warped puzzle might make you woof like a dog. Can you untangle this skein?


Keep an eye on which letters would appear in the answer if a square was placed in a given position and use process of elimination to figure out where each one should go. Order is important!


A hint for number three would be great.


Okay, Steve.

I wanna know HOW I tried all 23 possible wrong combinations, and left the correct one for last. How did you know the order I was going to attempt them?!

He's a witch! Burn him!


A hint for #3, which I thought was particularly clever:

If you're going to actually cut up a piece of paper, you should go ahead and work in numerical order. But if you're going to do it by just writing each letter down, you'd best work in reverse.

Additional hint:

You're not really weaving anything this time, but the result is similar.


Nobody -- am I doing the same thing I did for number one?

bearharry November 3, 2011 9:17 PM

where should i put the grid in #2??



Yes. Only the last seven letters are important, though.



Belay that instruction.

Place the strips down, in the spaces indicated, in the order indicated. You can do this in a paint program.


Actually folks, for #4...

...there are essentially 12,288 possible combinations, although the actual number is a tad less due to some letter duplication. That said, finding a solution doesn't have to be as daunting as that number would suggest. You certainly don't have to examine every single one of those combinations.

So that's my general view, but since I did manage to solve it, I'll put a spoiler here with some suggestions for solving techniques.

If you've gotten to #4, the methods you've had to use so far should indicate to you what you need to do to solve this one:

You're going to have to take the four small squares of letters and place them on the larger diagram in the proper order, and then where more than one letter goes in a box, you need to figure out which of the two it is.

Simple suggestion: You don't have to solve both parts of the puzzle. Solve one part and see if the configuration you've used gives you an answer on the second part.

More complicated suggestion: Figure out what possible combinations there are and work through them systematically. When you choose a box to go in position #1, you know what the first letter of the across word has to be, and can narrow down the other letters.

Example: Suppose you put the "PATTONOSWALT" box in position #1; You know the first letter is going to have to be a P, but you also know that the last letter has to be an L or a T. If you assume it is a T, then the middle letter has to be either a T or an O. So you can ask yourself, "Is there a word that takes the form of "P??T??T" or "P??O??T"?

On top of that, since you've nailed down where two of the boxes go, you're left with fewer options for the remaining letters. The second letter can be A, R, or E, and the third letter can be T, S, or R. You don't have to check all nine combinations of those letters, because if the second letter is an R, the third letter can't be an S.

Supposing any of that made sense, your path of action is to choose a combination of boxes in positions 1 and 4, and see what possibilities exist for all the letters in between, which will be not quite so many as you think. If your possible combinations don't make a word, choose a different pair of boxes to start with and repeat the process.


1 was a breeze... 2 makes me feel like throwing a scissor on the computer monitor.


@CJ, I felt the same way about #2 until I took scissors to paper and

made two templates from the lower grid: one with the white squares cut out, the other with the black squares cut out.

Then, I methodically scanned for possible words. What I found

was a 6 letter word, with the letters in order.

So now finish off #2 and give me some help with #3 before I resort to scissor warfare.



Simply cut out the strips - vertical strips 1, 3, 5, and 6, horizontal strips 2, 4, and 7 - and place them on the grid, where indicated, in the order indicated. Vertical strip 1 goes down on the left first, followed by horizontal strip 2 across the top, and so forth...

donhuando November 4, 2011 2:47 AM

For #4:

I think we were supposed to put the boxes in the same order they appeared (bottom left goes in the bottom left area, etc...).

That way for the first and last letters there is only one possibility, and for the rest of the letters there are 2 possibilities and once you write it down you immediately see the answer.


About number 4:

There's no need to rotate

I actually saved some time by programming a script to do the work for me.

It's faster than trying all 24 possiblities by hand


One more thing I simply must say.

I know from personal experience that it tends to be much easier to solve word puzzles than to make them. The amount of work that it must have taken for Steve to construct that final puzzle is beyond my comprehension, and if I wore a hat, it would be off in respect to a great puzzle-maker.


@Ryusui, I just read your hint regarding #3 and solved it immediately! I was trying to

weave the strips somehow, even though at least one previous hint said no weaving was involved.

Thank you!


Solved - the first 3 took about 20 minutes (and 5 of that was looking for a pair of scissors). The last one took much longer as I kept getting interrupted by my wife asking what I was doing. Eventually gave up and had another go this evening - about another 20 mins.
Damn fine puzzles - how does this person do it !


Ryusui, you are made of win.

Thank you so much for the hint -- totally got it. I almost broke my brain yesterday trying to figure that one out, and had to leave it until today. I hate asking for more explicit clues, but sometimes I need more of a shove than a gentle push.


If work hadn't been pulling me in 10 different directions, I probably would have gotten this yesterday.

Brute-force trial and error isn't difficult, just tedious and occasionally time-consuming.

As it is, though, I'm feeling rather proud of myself for ultimately figuring this out all on my own. *cheer*



fits together in 576 possible combinations (24 different positions of 1-4, and 24 different z-order placements top-to-bottom.) Of those, only 401 are unique. I coded up a small program to solve it by brute force, and also cut out the paper pieces to see the solution.

Anyway you solve it, it's a fun puzzle.


Crap, I missed one!? D:


I replied to the congratulations email about 3 or 4 days ago. But I still haven't received anything. This is taking longer than I expected. Is this normal?

Or maybe you sent the prize in some other way than an email and I'm not aware of it?

[You should get notice of your prize on Monday. Thanks for your patience. :) -Jay]


I still didn't get anything.


Sorry for the triple post, but it finally arrived. Thank you. :)


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