Christmas Puzzles


Last year we presented the most famous of Lewis Carroll's puzzles. A word changes one letter at a time to become a related word: CAT > COT > DOT > DOG.

Can you do better with WATCH > CLOCK than a friend of Carroll's who took 13 moves?

Back in the present, can you change a GIFT to a LOAN or a MATE to a LORD? Is DAVE turning himself into TONY, or is DAVE really still true BLUE? Try putting REID into a CELL, or make BROWN > GREEN.

Square play

This puzzle revolves around nine letters:

How many words can you make from these letters? The rules are not quite the same as you'll find in similar games in the newspapers. There are no bans on proper names or plurals, no limit to the number of times you can use a letter. So the word SENTENCES is quite acceptable - which means the target is more demanding. How many words can you make of nine or more letters? What is the longest word you can offer?

There are six prizes of the wonderful "Scrabble with numbers" game Triolet to be won if you submit one of the longest words (provided it can be found in Chambers or the OED!). Send your answer to: Coiledspring Games Ltd, PO Box 175, Twickenham TW1 4BR. Or email to

Texting traumas

We've had a bit of trouble with our text messages. We hit the right keys but not the right number of times, so PUZZLE came out as 789953. We listed a number of eminent people, and here they are in their texted disguises:

a 25433673 74277
b 54647539 627846
c 5646 3733626
d 7285 5646766
e 7424273 27677626 f 2684669 469273
g 27823 7243
h 4844 783743676
i 5646 55693
j 788278 9347
k 78383 75288 426 4274732837
m 73837 94529
n 5646 52673637

If you can decipher these clues and say what the people have in common, you could win one of three copies of Coiledspring's award-winning game Time's Up!.

Email or post your answers to the addresses in Square Play. Closing date: 4 January 2007.

More Christmas puzzles are available to subscribers on page 97 of the print and PDF editions.

You'll find all the puzzle answers and winners in the 15 January issue of the New Statesman.

Compiled by Coiledspring Games, inventors and distributors of games and puzzles for all ages. Please see our website:

Triolet is the number-lover's answer to Scrabble®. Anyone who can count can play - the goal is to make three tiles in a row add up to 15. For all its apparent simplicity, the game calls for complex tactics and cunning. Adding to the fun, one game takes just the right amount of time for you to enjoy a bottle of wine with your opponent. For 2-4 players, aged 8+. For more information visit Or win a copy of Triolet by solving the Square Play challenge.