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An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters. Read more

Seattle, WA Puzzles
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This project was successfully funded on March 14, 2013.

An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters.

Seattle, WA Puzzles
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The Gatekeeper's Riddle-Fixing Challenge

Every Sunday the Gatekeeper will post a challenge to our readers. Last week it was to read the Gatekeeper's mind. He wrote, "I am thinking of the highest real integer that, when spelled out, has the most possible occurrences of one specific letter of the alphabet, and no occurrences of a different letter. Your challenge is to identify that number." Many people figured out that he eliminated one of the letters in -ILLION, and a few figured out that he eliminated a letter in -PLEX as well. This left the L as the letter eliminated. The Gatekeeper's specific letters were the most occurrences of the letter U, and no occurrences of the letter L, meaning the answer was Four hundred ninety four thousand four hundred ninety four (with seven U's). Nobody guessed that exactly, but John Kromer was the first to guess the closest answer of four hundred forty four thousand four hundred forty four. Thanks to all who contributed answers.

Today's challenge attempts to fix the most grievous injustice ever perpetrated upon the puzzle community. Surely you've heard of the –GRY riddle, which goes, "There are three common English words ending in –GRY. Two are ANGRY and HUNGRY. What is the third one?" As you may know, there isn't a third one. But that doesn't mean that's not a great idea for a riddle, if we just replace the letters in –GRY with something else. He says:

"There are three common English words ending in –[THREE LETTERS]. Two are [WORD 1] and [WORD 2]. What is the third one?"

Your job is to restate the riddle by replacing the words [THREE LETTERS], [WORD 1], and [WORD 2], such that there is exactly one common [WORD 3]. The Gatekeeper will try to figure out the third word, and will select his favorite restating of the riddle. Post your answers in the comment thread of this update.

Maze of Games Kickstarter Update Puzzle #11

Your journey continues! Here is the next part of your adventure through the maze.

11. "Please help me get out!" you yell to the crustacean. "This isn't something I can accomplis1 3ne."

When you have the game name that answers the puzzle, go to puzzazz.com/mazeofgames. Type in the puzzle's number and your answer, in that order. If you're correct, you'll get a piece of a maze which you can assemble to help you find your way out! You can find all previous update puzzles at the @MazeofGames Twitter feed.

Thanks for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks

Comments

    1. Creator Doug Orleans on February 20, 2013

      Wei-Hwa: I'm guessing the word your friend was thinking of was not "yellowjacket"!

    2. Creator Doug Orleans on February 20, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in -DIO. Two of them are RADIO and AUDIO. What is the third? (There's a fourth but it's a loanword and slightly uncommon so I'm pretending it doesn't exist...)

    3. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 20, 2013

      Dylan, are you sure that the third word doesn't end in -ITHP?

    4. Creator Dylan Hutchison on February 19, 2013

      Thinking about weird endings brought computer science to mind (hint hint =) ).
      Of three English words ending in -ISP, two are WISP and CRISP. How about the third?

    5. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 18, 2013

      13. DROSPHILA -- missed that Noah didn't get my intended answer on this one. Genus names are often capitalized and not considered English words anyway, although arguably both TEQUILA and MANILA are loawnwords. In any case, the intended answer, though also a loan word, is much more common than DROSOPHILA. It rarely appears in sentences with other words, though.

    6. Creator Brent Holman on February 18, 2013

      A bit late to the game, but here's one that I especially like in this context, as all three words can apply quite well to (my understanding of) the Gatekeeper:

      There are three common English words ending in -EMN. Two of them are SOLEMN and CONDEMN. What is the third?

    7. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 18, 2013

      And when Wei-Hwa says "contest," he means "creative challenge, with no prizes or random element of any kind."

    8. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 18, 2013

      Actually the "SEA" is worth submitting to the real contest.

      There are three common words in the English language ending in "-SEA" (not counting "SEA" itself). Two are OVERSEA and UNDERSEA. What is the third one? Appropriately enough, some people who experience being OVERSEA and UNDERSEA are quite familiar with the third word.

    9. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 18, 2013

      When I was 15 years old, in 1990, I went to a very geeky math summer camp. There was a lot of brainteasers being bandied about. I was told this one by Adam Kalai:

      There's only one common word in the English language that contains the letters "WJ", consecutively, in that order, with no other letters in between them. What is it?

      This was a few years before the Internet made verification and search for such answers easy (and the Harry Potter books were of course still only in draft form at that point), so of course I was stuck on this puzzle for a while ... it turns out I had never heard of the word before. After I heard it, I was not satisfied with the answer because my paperback desktop dictionary didn't even have the word.

    10. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 18, 2013

      Wei-Hwa writes:
      3. RATIO, PATIO: I'm not going give a hint to this one unless I know how old you are.

      Wei-Hwa: Good choice. Clearly you wouldn't presume someone older would know the Harry Potter spell REDUCTIO. At least, I assume that is what you meant, right? RIGHT?

    11. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 17, 2013

      Here are some fun ones that use different numbers, either in length or in count. They are provided here just for amusement. Try to solve them without aid; all the answers should be common words.

      -GINE: ENGINE, IMAGINE, ?
      -ENTY: TWENTY, SEVENTY, ?
      -ILTY: SILTY, GUILTY, ?
      -IPSE: ECLIPSE, ELLIPSE, ?
      -MALE: MALE, FEMALE, ? (No, it's not "SHEMALE".)
      -NDID: CANDID, SPLENDID, ?
      -OUPE: COUPE, TROUPE, ?
      -RLAY: OVERLAY, UNDERLAY, ?
      -UNCT: ADJUNCT, CONJUNCT, ?
      -AINY: RAINY, BRAINY, GRAINY, ?
      -BUTS: ABUTS, DEBUTS, REBUTS, ?
      -MAIN: MAIN, REMAIN, DOMAIN, ?
      -MANE: MANE, HUMANE, INHUMANE, ?
      -OULD: COULD, SHOULD, WOULD, ?
      -LLOR: CHANCELLOR, COUNCILLOR, COUNSELLOR (arguably; COUNSELOR is more common), ?
      -RISK: RISK, BRISK, FRISK, ?
      -UCHY: GROUCHY, SLOUCHY, TOUCHY, ?
      -TOSE: LACTOSE, MALTOSE, FRUCTOSE, ?
      -MUR: DEMUR, FEMUR, LEMUR, ?
      -SEA: SEA, OVERSEA, UNDERSEA, ?
      -BOW: BOW, CROSSBOW, LONGBOW, RAINBOW, OXBOW, ?
      -ETEEN: PRETEEN, NINETEEN, ?
      -GROOM: GROOM, BRIDEGROOM, ?
      -IMAGE: IMAGE, AFTERIMAGE, ?
      -OLEUM: PETROLEUM, LINOLEUM, ?
      -HEDRAL: TETRAHEDRAL, POLYHEDRAL, ?

    12. Creator Matt Stephans on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in REA. Two are Korea and area. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in EGA. Two are mega and omega. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in GHY. Two are sloughy and doughy. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in IGE. Two are vestige and prestige. What is the third one?

    13. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 17, 2013

      @smercer: A long time ago the regulars on rec.puzzles coined the word "nugry".

      @noah: Obviously we have different thresholds for what is considered a "common" word. Specific hints and comments:

      3. RATIO, PATIO: I'm not going give a hint to this one unless I know how old you are. Also, I failed to see that Tom already did this one. (I also like the CODA, SODA one.)
      9. PROPHECY, SECRECY: I spell your words "LACY", "RACY" and "SPICY". The answer I have in mind has the "CEY" ending as the common ending.
      10. PAROXYSM, ANEURYSM: Surprised you didn't get this one; it's an absolute disaster!
      12: TOGAE, ALGAE: The answer, unlike the other two words, is singular. If you still can't get it, don't worry; be happy.
      14: Copy-paste error. This one was supposed to be EMBLEM and PROBLEM.
      19: DIGIT, RINGGIT. This is ranked near the bottom because I'm not sure that ringgit is sufficiently well-known to be considered a common word. It's the official currency of Malaysia. However, the third word I have in mind is totally legit.

    14. Creator Lance Nathan on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in -AIS [obviously excluding proper nouns like RABELAIS]. Two of them are BONSAIS and SHANGHAIS. What is the third one?

      There are three common English words ending in -ALY [obviously excluding uncommon ones like ACROMEGALY]. Two of them are MEALY and SCALY. What is the third one?

    15. Creator smercer on February 17, 2013

      By the way, I propose that we coin a word and declare any unsolvable riddle to be a gry. :-)

    16. Creator smercer on February 17, 2013

      There are three common words in English ending with -IZZ. Two of them are FIZZ and WHIZZ. What is the third one?

      A fun tweak with four letters...
      There are three common words in English ending with -WHAT. Two of them are SOMEWHAT and STRAWHAT. What is the third one.

      :-)

    17. Creator Noah on February 17, 2013

      @Dan Katz: ANGST

    18. Creator Noah on February 17, 2013

      @Wei-Hwa Huang
      1. EMCEE
      2. BALSAM
      3. ??
      4. CONTROVERSY
      5. BROTHEL
      6. FLEECY, SEMISECRECY (there are at least 4 words that end with ECY)
      7. CHRISMA, CHIASMA, PLASMODESMA (there are at least 5 words that end with SMA)
      8. WEIRDO
      9. LACEY, RACEY, SPICEY (there are at least 5 words that end with CEY)
      10. ???
      11. LYNX, NASOPHARYNX (there are at least 4 words that end with YNX)
      12. ???
      13. DROSPHILA
      14. (you already did SMA)
      15. DERBY
      16. HITHERTO
      17. WEEPY
      18. CAPITOL
      19. ???
      20. VAPOR

      You almost had them all!!

    19. Creator Noah on February 17, 2013

      There are three English words ending in –IAO. Two are CIAO and CHIAO. What is the third one?

    20. Creator Dave Shukan on February 17, 2013

      Hmm, I see I should not have held back earlier. So, OK, one more that's not been done yet:

      There are three common English words ending in -TUE. Two are STATUE and VIRTUE. What is the third one?

    21. Creator Dan Katz on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in -GST. Two are AMONGST and BERFLUMMIZAGST. What is the third one?

    22. Creator Paul Waterfield on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –ABE. Two are BABE and WANNABE. What is the third one?

    23. Creator Wei-Hwa Huang on February 17, 2013

      These are in order of ones I liked (excluding ones that were already mentioned, of course)
      There are three common English words ending in -CEE. Two are FIANCEE and DIVORCEE. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -SAM. Two are FLOTSAM and JETSAM. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -TIO. Two are PATIO and RATIO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -RSY. Two are HORSY and OUTDOORSY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -HEL. Two are BUSHEL and SATCHEL. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -ECY. Two are PROPHECY and SECRECY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -SMA. Two are MIASMA and PLASMA. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -RDO. Two are HAIRDO and OVERDO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -CEY. Two are DICEY and PRICEY.What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -YSM. Two are PAROXYSM and ANEURYSM. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -YNX. Two are LARYNX and PHARYNX. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -GAE. Two are TOGAE and ALGAE. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -ILA. Two are TEQUILA and MANILA. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -SMA. Two are MIASMA and PLASMA. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -RBY. Two are NEARBY and PASSERBY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -RTO. Two are QUARTO and CONCERTO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -EPY. Two are CREEPY and SLEEPY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -TOL. Two are EXTOL and PISTOL. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -GIT. Two are DIGIT and RINGGIT. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in -POR. Two are STUPOR and TORPOR. What is the third one?

    24. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 17, 2013

      Rubrick: I believe the third is UNCONTESTED.

    25. Creator Kyle Manley - Dream Traveller on February 17, 2013

      "There are three common English words ending in –EGO. Two are EGO and SUPEREGO. What is the third one?"

      Bonus:
      "There are four common English words ending in –DEM. Three are MODEM, TANDEM and DIADEM. What is the fourth one?"

      Double bonus: What name links both questions above?

    26. Creator Rubrick on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in divorce. Two are ADULTERY and INCOMPATIBILITY. What is the third one?

    27. Creator Eric Peterson on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –AHO. Two are ARAPAHO and IDAHO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –EZY. Two are WHEEZY and SNEEZY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –HRE. Two are OCHRE and SEPULCHRE. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –LAB. Two are BLAB and FLAB. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –LOB. Two are BLOB and GLOB. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –LSA. Two are BALSA and TULSA. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –OVY. Two are ANCHOVY and MUSCOVY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –URP. Two are BURP and SLURP. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –VOY. Two are CONVOY and ENVOY. What is the third one?

    28. Creator Brian Joughin on February 17, 2013

      Here's another one I like:
      -FUS; TOFUS, SNAFUS, ?
      (Thanks for the one-liner, Brian Enigma although I'm using ENABLEas my list.)

    29. Creator Brian Joughin on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –ABI. Two are KOHLRABI and WASABI. What is the third one? (I suppose you could argue about wasabi being an English word. I like this one because #3 deviates in pronunciation and theme.)

    30. Creator Dave Shukan on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –MSY. Two are FLIMSY and WHIMSY. What is the third one?

    31. Creator Tom Saxton on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –RVY. Two are CURVY and NERVY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –TIO. Two are PATIO and RATIO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –EZY. Two are BREEZY and SNEEZY. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –ISP. Two are CRISP and LISP. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –NKO. Two are BUNKO and PINKO. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –ODA. Two are CODA and SODA. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –URP. Two are BURP and SLURP. What is the third one?
      There are three common English words ending in –AZZ. Two are JAZZ and RAZZ. What is the third one?

    32. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 17, 2013

      Man, Thomas, you're a real... oh.

    33. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 17, 2013

      I should also clarify that a "word" consists of all the forms of that word regardless of prefixes. So HANG, REHANG, and OVERHANG are all the same "word" for these purposes.

    34. Creator Thomas Snyder on February 17, 2013

      There are three words ending in -JOY, not counting JOY itself. Two are ENJOY and OVERJOY. What is the third? (Please don't spoil the answer for others...)

    35. Creator ScotMartin on February 17, 2013

      There are three words in the English language ending in TYR. Two are martyr and protomartyr. What is the third?

    36. Creator Brian Enigma on February 17, 2013

      I've interpreted "common" as "a valid Scrabble word" and, boy, am I coming up with a whole bunch of nothing that I'd consider "common" given that constraint. grep '...$' /usr/share/dict/sowpods.txt | perl -pne 's/.*(...)$/$1/' | sort | uniq -c | grep '^ *3 ' > endings.txt

    37. Creator Wil Zambole on February 17, 2013

      There are three common words ending in HUM, with HUM being one, CHUM being another. What is the third one?

    38. Creator Dave Shukan on February 17, 2013

      There are three common English words ending in –COR. Two are DECOR and SUCCOR. What is the third one?

    39. Creator Ryan McRae on February 17, 2013

      There are three English Words that end in "izz". Two are FRIZZ AND WHIZZ. What's the third one?

    40. Creator Lone Shark Games on February 17, 2013

      Added the word "common" to the riddle, though Joseph's answer would definitely count as "common" for these purposes. Also, you can submit more than one answer to this riddle.

    41. Creator Jennifer Moore on February 17, 2013

      There are three English words ending in -LUR. Two are SLUR and BLUR. What is the third one?

    42. Creator Jennifer Moore on February 17, 2013

      There are three English words ending in -HIR. Two are MENHIR and THIR. What is the third one?

    43. Creator Joseph DeVincentis on February 17, 2013

      There are three English words ending in -HRE. Two are EUCHRE and OCHRE. What is the third one?