Puzzle 282, week of October 1:
Continuing with the sports/city theme this week, take an NFL team and a Major League baseball team. Remove all letters that they share one to one. (So if they both contain the letter P, but one has it twice – only remove one P.) The remaining letters will spell Reno, a city in a state with no pro sports teams.
Puzzle 281, week of September 24:
Start with the nickname of a major league baseball team. Change one letter, rearrange the letters, and you will have one of the 10 biggest US cities without a pro sports team.
Puzzle 280, week of September 17:
Since it is now apple picking season, we have an apple puzzle this week. Start with a US city over 500,000 in population. Change one letter and you have a popular variety of apple.
Puzzle 279, week of September 10:
Start with a national park in Alaska plus an animal that you might see there. Remove the letter “c”, Rearrange the letters and you will have two water craft including one commonly used by the Inuit.
Puzzle 278, week of Sep 3rd:
For back to school. Start with something you might be buying for art supplies in four letters. Move every letter back 11 in the alphabet wrapping if necessary and you will have an art technique.
Puzzle 277, week of August 27th:
Start with an instrument of measurement and the unit that it measures. Taking each unique letter from the two words you can rearrange the letters to get “a fire month”
Puzzle 276, week of August 20th:
Start with two 4 letter verbs that could be in your response to an invitation. Drop the last letter on one and put them together to get a 7 letter tool that you might use in the wilderness.
Puzzle 274 & 275, week of Aug 6th and Aug 13th
For the first two weeks of August we have a two week challenge. A few months back I introduced the idea of compound word chains where the second half of one word begins the next. Here is a compound word circle: sidewalk walkway wayside where the last word circles back to start the first. Send me your own three compound word circle. I will select one winner from among any circles received by Saturday August 18th.
Puzzle 273, week of July 30th:
You have 6 cards in order – 8,9,10,J,Q,K. You cut the deck twice without shuffling and then you and your friend take turns drawing from the top. The winner is the first to draw a face card.
What are your chances of winning if you go first?
Puzzle 272, week of July 23rd:
Start with an animal and also the word for the male of that species. Add the letter “F” to one of the words and you will now have two words that could be considered English antonyms.
Puzzle 271, week of July 16th:
Keeping with the music syllable theme… Start with a country. Remove the last letter, read the remaining letters backwards and you will have music syllables. (do re mi fa sol la ti)
Puzzle 270, week of July 9th:
Name a US city (population over 200,000 whose name can be spelled using only the music syllables do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti
Puzzle 269, week of July 2nd:
One of the traditions here in Bend for the fourth of July is a pet parade. So I am bringing you a puzzle about cats and dogs.
Start with two words; a wild cat and a breed of dog. Take the last three letters of each and you will have an “N” and 5 of the last 7 letters of the alphabet.
Puzzle 268, week of June 25th:
You decide to have your first summer barbecue of the season.
At your barbecue, 2/3 of your guests have a hamburger, 1/2 have corn on the cob, 5 people have both, and 1 person has neither.
How many guests are at the barbecue?
Puzzle 267, week of June 18th:
Take a girl’s name in five letters. Move the first letter forward one consonant in the alphabet and the second letter forward one vowel and you have another common girl’s name. Do this again and you will have a third common girl’s name.
Puzzle 265 & 266, week of June 4th & June 11th:
I’m looking for four one syllable words that start with the same letter. They each have a homophone. Take the letter that they all start with, and the four homophones, and you will have a well-known category of five items. One of the words is a foreign word that is commonly used in English. Another word is an exclamation or interjection.
Since there were no correct answers the first week here is an additional hint: All four homophones are letters of the alphabet. So take the four letters plus the letter that the words start with and you will have a set of five items.
Puzzle 263 & 264, week of May 21st & 28th:
Start with two words that are opposites, “Blank and blank”. Change the first letter of each and then put a C in front of the phrase and you will have a common phrase for two items some people need this time of year.
Since there were no correct answers the first week, here is an additional hint:
Both of the words that you start with are one syllable. One starts with a vowel and one with a consonant.
Puzzle 262, week of May 14th:
Take a greek letter and spell it out in English. Rearrange the letters and you will have two parts of your face.
Puzzle 261, week of May 7th:
Here’s a mother’s day puzzle: Start with a country, put a mother in the middle and you will have a tea.
Puzzle 260, week of April 30th:
The coach tells you:
All of our swimmers with a blue suit have short hair. Which of these swimmers do you need to check to confirm the coach is correct?
Alice has a blue suit.
Beth has long hair.
Catherine has short hair.
Danny has a red suit.
Puzzle 259, week of April 23rd:
Write down a well known rock artist, first and last name with no space between them.
You can split the letters into four short English words without rearranging the letters. The first word is a math term, the second is the second word in a Shakespeare title, the third is a trick and the fourth is in the (unofficial) postal services motto. Who is the artist?
Puzzle 258, week of April 16th:
I’m looking for two verbs. One is something you might do and the other is how your head might feel after you do it. Stick them together and remove the final letter and you will have a spring vegetable.
Puzzle 257, week of April 9th:
Start with a five letter one syllable verb. Bend one line to get a five letter two syllable noun that is something you might be thinking about this time of year.
Puzzle 256, week of April 2nd:
Start with a well known children’s picture book. Replace each word (other than “the”) with either a synonym of a homophone or a homophone of a synonym and you get: “Don the idled close radius”
Puzzle 255, week of March 26th:
Start with something you might be expecting this weekend, in five letters. Move each letter of the word back 9 in the alphabet, wrapping where necessary, and you will have what you might be engaged in when it arrives.
Puzzle 254, week of March 19th:
In honor of the first week of spring, I’ve brought you a spring puzzle.
Start with a flower. Add one letter without rearranging the word and you will get another word associated with spring.
Puzzle 252 & 253, week of March 5th & March 12th:
Start with an instrument in two syllables. Spoonerize the two syllables (swap the leading consonant sounds) and phonetically you will have another musical term.
Since there were no correct answers the first week, here is an additional hint. The instrument might be found in a rock band.
Puzzle 251, week of Feb 26th:
Write a spice. Draw a single line segment and you will have an article of clothing.
Puzzle 250, week of Feb 19th:
What is the next number in this sequence: 2, 16, 54, 128?
Puzzle 249, week of Feb 12th:
Send me three things you can make out of snow.
Each is a five letter word.
They all share two consonants, and as a bonus between them they use all the vowels (aeiou) at least once.
Puzzle 248, week of Feb 5th:
Take the name of an Olympic movie. Remove any letters found in PyeongChang, then remove duplicates, and the letters that are left can spell “First”
Puzzle 247, week of Jan 29th:
I’m looking for two genres of music. Put them together and you get a candy.
Puzzle 246, week of Jan 22nd:
This week’s puzzle comes from Math for love by Dan Finkel. Draw a square on the XY Axis. If every corner of your square has integer coordinates, which of the following could not be the area of your square: 17, 18, 19, or 20
Puzzle 244 & 245, week of Jan 8th & Jan 15th:
Since the winter holiday is ending and many students are back in school this week I have a puzzle combining both.
Start with two world capitals.
Rearrange the letters and you will have a (lesser known) winter holiday drink, and a (well-known) name of a US University.
Since there were no correct answers during the week of January 8th, we’ve extended this puzzle one more week and given two additional clues:
If you alphabetize the list of countries, the two world capitals will be next to each other.
The drink is associated with an antiquated tradition.
Puzzle 242 & 243, week of December 25th & Jan 1st:
We have a two week challenge for the New Year.
I’m looking for three classic works of literature with numbers in their titles. Add the three numbers together and you get 2018.
Puzzle 241, week of December 18th:
This week’s puzzle is inspired by a puzzle from the National Museum of Math: You have an eccentric uncle who only buys gifts with prices that are prime numbers. This year he decides that looking at all his gift prices together he will have the digits 1-9 exactly once. To minimize cost, how many presents does he buy and what is his total?
Puzzle 240, week of December 11th:
What common phrase derived from Latin, could also mean that you are in favor of a rock star? (The spelling is the same, pronunciation slightly different)
Puzzle 239, week of December 4th:
Start with an insect.
Remove the 3rd, 4th, and 5th letters and add a new letter at the end.
You now have a word from human anatomy
Puzzle 238, week of November 27th:
My daughter is turning 13 this week so in honor of “teendom” I am bringing you a puzzle about slang.
Start with an item of clothing. Change or add one letter, without rearranging, you now have a synonym for “lit”. Or if you are over 25, that’s a synonym for “cool”. There are multiple different answers to this, so send me two and we’ll see how many different synonyms we can get.
Puzzle 237, week of November 20th:
I’m looking for a four word chain of compound words where the last word of one becomes the first of the next.
Here’s an Example:
upset setback backfire firefly
Send me another four word chain where the first word is bypass and the last is boardwalk.
Puzzle 236, week of November 13th:
Take a five letter one syllable word and replace a V with a U to get a five letter two syllable word.
Puzzle 235, week of November 6th:
Take two objects of play. One is a name brand child’s toy, the other a piece of equipment in a game played by all ages. Put them together and phonetically you have a type of cooking.
Puzzle 234, week of October 30th:
Start with a three letter word that expresses how you might feel about something. You can add two different suffixes expressing a positive amount and will end up with two words that are opposites. (In one of them, the root word drops a letter.)
Puzzle 233, week of October 23rd:
Start with a four letter noun that is something you might try to do today. Remove the vowel and you will have an expression someone might use if you don’t do your noun.
Puzzle 232, week of October 16th:
Start with the star of an actor from a scary movie. Remove any letters shared with the name of the movie what remains can spell “Boo” plus L.
Puzzle 231, week of October 9th:
It’s fall harvest time so I have a harvest puzzle for you this week.
Start with a two word phrase for something you might remove when making jam.
Change the fifth letter to a new letter and remove the second letter. You now have a fall food.
Puzzle 230, week of October 3rd:
This week’s puzzle is a modified version of the classic math game, NIM. You and a friend have a pile of 6 beans. At each turn you must take either one or two beans. The person who takes the last bean loses. Do you want to go first or second?
Puzzle 229, week of Sep 25th:
Start with a 6 letter plural noun that is something people might talk about this time of year. Move each letter back 7 in the alphabet (or forward 19) wrapping where necessary. Remove the fifth letter and you will have a verb describing the way people might talk about the object.
Puzzle 228, week of Sep 18th:
Many proverbs and sayings use alliteration. This one stood out to me. The proverb is 9 words long and all but the first word start with either T or G.
Can you identify this saying just by the initial letters?
Starting with the second word we have: TGGTTTGG
Puzzle 227, week of Sep 11th:
I’m looking for a flower. The first and last letters are consecutive in the alphabet. There are also four letters in the middle of the flower that are consecutive in the alphabet. The letters are together in the word, but not in alphabetical order.
Puzzle 226, week of Sep 4th:
Start with a part of a boat. Take a homophone. Rearrange the letters to form another word. Now take a homophone of that word and you will have the action performed with the first word.
Another way to look at it: Take a word related to boats and the action it performs.
Each of these words has a homophone and those two homophones are made up of the same letters.
Puzzle 225, week of Aug 28th:
I just did a hilly bike ride in Portland this past weekend so here is your mountain and valley inspired puzzle.
Start with two one word, one syllable tv shows.
Change the last letter of each and one will be a synonym for a mountain and the other a valley.
Puzzle 224, week of Aug 21st:
I am looking for a common three word phrase.
Each word has three letters and the whole phrase only uses two distinct consonants, but it uses 4 different vowels including Y.
Puzzle 223, week of Aug 14th:
This week’s puzzle is inspired by email from a listener. The word “syzygy” is a very unusual 6 letter word with Y appearing every other letter. It refers to a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar eclipse).
So in honor of the eclipse and the word syzygy, send me five words.
Four six letter words, one for each of the vowels a, e, i, and o, with the 2nd, 4th, 6th letter of the word being the vowel, and for u send a 7 letter word (still with u as the 2nd, 4th, and 6th letters).
Puzzle 222, week of Aug 7th:
Start with a country name (in English). Add in a stack of currency in the middle and you will have another country name (in English).
Puzzle 221, week of July 31st:
I’m looking for a well known novel from the 1970s with three words in the title. Only one vowel is used (multiple times) and as a bonus the last word is made up of four consecutive letters from the alphabet plus an S.
Puzzle 220, week of July 24th:
Getting out of work in the summer to enjoy the long summer evenings, I’ve been thinking (or more precisely eating) a lot of summer fruit.
So for this week, I’ve got an easy puzzle for your summer brain about summer fruit.
I’m looking for a berry. Replace one letter with a different letter, rearrange them and you will have a melon.
So, something berry, change a letter, rearrange them and you will have something melon.
Puzzle 219, week of July 17th:
Start with a four letter ocean animal.
Reverse the letters and phonetically you have a sound made by a land animal.
Puzzle 218, week of July 10th:
Name a six letter country (spelled in English), that if you add the values of the letters gives you an even 100?
That’s A=1, B=2, etc.
Puzzle 217, week of July 3rd:
Start with 8 consecutive letters of the alphabet. Drop one letter, rearrange the remaining letters and you will get a nickname and last name for a US President. The nickname is a common nickname for the given first name of this president.
Puzzle 216, week of June 26:
I just saw terminator for the first time, so in honor of that, here is an 80s movie puzzle.
Take two, two letter abbreviations. One refers to a date and the other refers to a (racing) time. Rearrange them and alternate them with a single letter.
You will get an 80s movie.
(In other words, take a fifth letter and it will be every other letter of the movie.)
Puzzle 215, week of June 19:
Thinking about going abroad for the summer, or maybe for the next four years? Here’s a puzzle to get you thinking “foreign”.
Take the name of two foreign currencies.
Turn one letter upside down to make it a new letter, add a ‘y’, and rearrange the letters to get two flowers.
Puzzle 214, week of June 12:
Start with a foreign word most Americans would be familiar with. Remove the last letter, reverse the remaining letters and you get another foreign word that most Americans would also be familiar with and could be considered a synonym/translation of the first word.
Puzzle 213, week of June 5:
After last week’s warm-up logic puzzle we have a classic puzzle this week:
You have 9 balls and a balance scale. They all look alike, but one of the balls is heavier than the others. With just two weighings on the balance scale, how can you find the heavier ball?
And if you prefer you can do one of my favorite weighing puzzles:
You have 12 balls and one of them weighs different from the others, but you don’t know whether it is heavier or lighter. With a balance scale and three weighings, find the different ball.
Puzzle 212, week of May 29:
Wake up your brain before it falls asleep for the summer! This puzzle is a warm up logic puzzle. Next week’s will be a little harder.
You take a DNA test and find that you have genes A, B, C, & D. You know that you got one of these from each of your grandparents and that the A gene came from one of your grandmothers (but you don’t know which). Your parents and grandparents are all willing to be tested. How many tests must you perform to know which gene came from which grandparent, and what is your strategy? (Each parent has the two genes from their two parents.)
Puzzle 211, week of May 22:
We had a sudden summery week here in Bend, so I made you a summer themed puzzle.
Start with a summer activity in 6 letters. Move the last letter two later in the alphabet and you will have some summer clothing.
Puzzle 210, week of May 15:
I’m looking for a compound word. It’s a verb in 8 letters. Switch the order of the two words making up the compound word and you get a two word phrase that means the opposite of the compound word.
Puzzle 209, week of May 8:
With Mother’s Day coming up we have a mother theme in this week’s puzzle.
I’m looking for two TV mothers with less-than-perfect husbands. Take their first names together, remove the only duplicate letter, rearrange the remaining letters and you get “RIGHT DAME”. Who are they?
Puzzle 208, week of May 1:
Start with a two word dog breed. Remove the mistake. Then move the last syllable to the front, and phonetically you will have a soothing hot drink.
Puzzle 207, week of April 24:
What is unusual about this phrase? (Or what do the words in this phrase have in common?)
Giddy fifty flight high pig flip
Puzzle 206, week of April 17:
Here’s another tax puzzle.
Start with a tax term, add one letter and you will get a spring flower.
Puzzle 205, week of April 10:
I am looking for a 6 letter adjective meaning tiring.
The first 4 letters of the word is something you might take when you are tired.
the first 3 letters of the word is something that might make you tired this week.
Puzzle 203 & 204, week of Mar 27 & Apr3:
Games Magazine recently ran a rhyming contest for their readers and I thought it would be fun to give my listeners a chance as well. This is a two week challenge.
Send me two sentences with the same number of syllables. Every syllable in the first sentence rhymes with the corresponding syllable in the second sentence. Entries will be judged on how well both sentences make sense, length, humor, and creativity.
Here is a (short) example:
Sentence 1: I sold you beets.
Sentence 2: Why fold two sheets?
Puzzle 202, week of Mar 20:
We’ve got a probability puzzle this week. Start with 100 green jellybeans and 100 yellow jellybeans. You can divide them into two jars any way you’d like.
If you plan to choose one jar at random, and then one jellybean from that jar at random, what is the best way to distribute the jellybeans into the jars so that you maximize your chances of getting a green jellybean?
Puzzle 201, week of Mar 13:
I’m looking for two symbols from Ireland. One in two words, one in two syllables. The second word and second syllable are synonyms.
The first word and first syllable are also related in meaning.
As an added bonus both symbols are real items with a reputation for endowing people with something good.
Puzzle 200, week of Mar 6:
Last week’s was hard. So here is an easier typewriter puzzle: Send me a US State capital that is typed entirely with one hand.
Puzzle 199, week of February 27:
I am looking for an 8 letter word that can be typed with standard touch typing fingering, using a qwerty keyboard, and using each finger just once.
If you get this word, you are exceedingly lucky.
Puzzle 198, week of February 20:
Start with a one word insect. Add a foreign word starting with M to the front and then split the insect into two pieces. You will have a three word phrase for someone who might be buying things in preparation for a holiday.
Puzzle 197, week of February 13:
I’m looking for a word related to the body. When you add an ‘S’ to the end of the word you get a word that can represent less than without the ‘S’
Puzzle 196, week of February 6:
I’m looking for a kind of cake in three syllables.
Take the first two syllables and replace the the last letter of the first syllable with an ‘A’ and the last letter of the second syllable with a ‘B’, rearrange the letters and you will get something that might be taken to visit the last syllable.
Puzzle 195, week of Jan 30:
I’m looking for a verb that means to add something or to take that same thing away. I can think of two answers to this and in both cases the verb can also be used as a noun which represents the thing being added and removed.
Puzzle 194, week of Jan 23:
Two words that are synonyms for protest that differ only in their first letter.
Puzzle 193, week of Jan 16:
Start with an item of winter clothing.
Change the first letter to the two letters preceding it in the alphabet (so for instance you would change ‘C’ to an ‘A’ and ‘B’).
Rearrange the letters and you will have another word for the same item of clothing.
Puzzle 192, week of Jan 9:
I’m looking for two slang terms for being drunk. In their normal English definitions they are opposites.
Puzzle 191, week of Jan 2:
Here is another classic puzzle with many versions floating around. A king decides the kingdom needs more girls. He decrees that every family can have as many children as they want as long as they have girls. As soon as they have a boy, they must stop having children.
After 5 years, what will be the approximate ratio of girls to boys among the under 5 set?
Puzzle 190, week of Dec 26:
I’m looking for a new year’s resolution in two words. Start with three contiguous letters in a row on a standard keyboard. Using these as many times as you want and adding an “A” in the first word, and a “B” in the second word you can form a new year’s resolution.
Puzzle 189, week of Dec 19:
Start with the name of a fictional character associated with Christmas, take the last four letters, rearrange them, and you get what many kids want for Christmas.
Puzzle 188, week of Dec 12:
Take a word relevant to this season and reverse the letters. Phonetically you will now have the first word of a popular two word Disney song title.
Puzzle 187, week of Dec 5:
You have a spherical snowball 10 cm across. You make a straight cut across the snowball and your piece has a circle of diameter of 8 cm. How far did you cut from the center of the snowball (closest distance from your cut to the center)?
Puzzle 186, week of Nov 28:
Start with an animal. Add an “EEE” sound and phonetically you will have a food.
Now add the same adjective in front of either the food or the animal and you will have a more specific food or animal.
Puzzle 184 & 185, week of Nov 14& Nov 21:
Hint: The secret information is hidden phonetically inside these lines…
The following three lines (that are very loosely tied together into what one could almost call a story arc – but not quite) contain a secret message that might describe how some people are feeling after the election:
“Ready Niles?” sang Erma.
“Ready! Press, shunt, and pull.”
“You win. I accept ants are better than worms.”
Puzzle 183, week of Nov 7:
Using just five 0’s and any mathematical operations that you wish, can you make 40,320? You can group operations and use parentheses as needed.
As a hint think of a mathematical operation that can map 0’s into some other number…
Puzzle 182, week of Oct 31:
I am looking for two words that are homophones. One is the name of a movie from 2006. If you drop two letters from the other, it is the name of a movie from the mid 90s.
Puzzle 181, week of Oct 24:
Start with something you might see on Halloween in two syllables.
Take the first syllable and double the vowel to get a new word.
Take the second syllable and replace the “E” with an “A” and you get a second word.
These two words are closely related.
Puzzle 180, week of Oct 17:
We have another fall harvest themed puzzle this week. Start with an American actress. Five letters in her first name, five letters in her last. Take one letter from her last name and replace the last three letters of her first. Take three letters from her first name and replace the last four letters of her last name. You will have a two word item commonly found at a fall harvest festival.
Puzzle 179, week of Oct 10:
This week I’m looking for a 5-letter fall treat where all but one letter are in the first 10 letters of the alphabet.
Puzzle 178, week of Oct 3:
This questions came up at work this week. Many of you have heard that it only takes 23 people to have a 50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday…How many people do you need to have a more than 50% chance of having at least 2 pairs of matching birthdays.
How about 3 pairs? That’s 3 sets of 2 people sharing a birthday.
Puzzle 177, week of Sep 26:
Take two one syllable slang words.
The first might represent how you are treating someone if you do the second.
Put them together and phonetically you get an olympic event.
Puzzle 176, week of Sep 19:
Start with 3 three-letter palindromes that are shorthands in different ways.
Drop the last letter from the middle palindrome, put them together and you will have a sweet. What is it?
Puzzle 175, week of Sep 12:
You have a box full of unsorted socks. They are identical except for color: White, Black, and Blue. How many socks do you need to pull out of the box to guarantee that you have four pairs?
Puzzle 174, week of Sep 5:
Start with a food you might have at a barbecue.
Change the last letter to two letters (that form a sound associated with peace). You will now have a word for the sound of too much lighter fluid on your barbecue coals.
Puzzle 173, week of Aug 29:
Take a single word and a two word phrase that both describe a model’s activities. Stick them together and you get a god from greek mythology. Who is the god?
Puzzle 170, week of Aug 8:
Here is an August puzzle based on two words formed from the letters of the word August: TAGS and GUST. What is the shortest word ladder you can create to go from TAGS to GUST using the standard word ladder rules? (You can only change one letter at a time and each intermediate word must be a standard English word.)
Puzzle 168, week of July 25:
What do these four words have in common:
Kites, Tally, Jibed, Cub
Hint: Look at your keyboard.
Puzzle 166, week of July 11:
Start with a kind of creature in plural
Change the vowel sound and phonetically you will get the noise those creatures make.
Puzzle 165, week of July 4:
As I watched the fireworks on Monday I started to think about things that go boom.
Start with the name of a supersonic jet. Move the last letter to the start and phonetically you will have two items that might feel the same if you touch them.
What is the name of the jet?
Puzzle 163, week of June 20:
What do the following words have in common?
wonderful, tube, fortunate, atypical, tenderness
Puzzle 162, week of June 13:
I am looking for a four digit number. The first two digits are a perfect square. The last two digits are a perfect square. The first two sum to the last two. The last two square to the first two. What is the number?
Puzzle 161, week of June 6:
Here in Oregon school is almost out. So this week I have a vacation puzzle.
Start with an item you might take on vacation in two words. Read every other letter and you will get a famous actress from the 1920s and 30s. What is the vacation item and who is the actress?
Puzzle 160, week of May 31:
Start with 4 consecutive odd numbered letters (standard A=1 to Z=26 numbering).
Take an “R” and a second copy of two of your letters and insert the three into your sequence.
The result is a farming term.
Puzzle 159, week of May 23:
What is the next letter in this sequence? O I U Y T R
Puzzle 157, week of May 9:
What does this expression evaluate to:
√(6 + √(6 + √(6+ √(6 + etc))))
Puzzle 152, week of Apr 4:
In what scenario would 4,416 be closer to 3,416 than it would be to 4,415?
Puzzle 151, week of Mar 28:
What do the following 4-letter words have in common? (Hint: It’s not that they all start with vowels!)
aced, amps, earn, edge, ever, inks, oath, oops