Monday, May 07, 2012

Questions, Conditions and Flavour

Part Two
So last time I told you about the G-R-Y puzzle and gave you the first rule of puzzling in the hope that you would all apply one to the other, and come up with the answer to the puzzle. It's an odd answer to a puzzle about words ending 'gry'; and of course everyone knows that the English Language ends 'Zyrian', which is ironic really.

If you remember, or have a scroll wheel on your mouse, the first rule of puzzling is:

Rule 1: Make sure you understand the rules!

So let's apply that rule to the G-R-Y puzzle.

There are very few words in The English Language that end 'gry'. Hungry is one, and angry is a second. In fact there are only three words in The English Language. I want you to tell me what the third one is. It's a perfectly common word and if you think carefully you'll find I've already told you what it is. What is it?

The first thing we're looking for in a puzzle is the main question, what does the puzzle setter wish to know. Now puzzle setters, as mentioned before, are evil beings who will try to trip you up at every opportunity so remember this: it doesn't matter what you understand the question to be, what matters is what's written.

The question, as asked; is highlighted in the puzzle above in green. Note the capitalisation on 'The English Language', and note how the question makes no reference to 'gry' words. The rest of the puzzle will be conditions or flavour, the amount of these varies from puzzle to puzzle. 

There are two conditions in this puzzle, highlighted in orange, the word must be common according to the first condition. The second condition suggests that the word appears somewhere in the puzzle.
The remainder of the puzzle is flavour, highlighted in purple. By flavour I mean bits of story, humour or red herrings not relevant to the puzzle at hand. Herein lies the key to this puzzle; all of the stuff about 'gry' words is just flavour, it doesn't contain any questions at all.

Everyone's favourite animal
beginning with AA
The puzzle asks for the third word in The English Language, which is everyone's favourite animal begining with 'Aa', according to my dictionary, but remember those capital letters that don't belong there. These coupled with the condition that the word should be 'common' suggest that the answer is 'Language'. The trick of course is that we are being asked about the phrase 'The English Language' not the concept known as the English language.

So whenever you face a puzzle always remember rule number one and split the puzzle up into questions, conditions and flavour.

Now before I sign off I'll leave you with a new puzzle and your advice on puzzling tools. When puzzling make sure you always have access to a dictionary and thesaurus whether they be online or hard copy.

Off With Their Heads

What has a neck, but no head?

Words often have more than one definition; meaning; conclusion or effect. Always think about how a word might be taken out of context. Puzzle setters love using more obscure meanings of words and then using flavour to lead the puzzler to the more common meaning.

Until next time, keep puzzling.

Photo credit: estherase via photopin cc

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