Puzzle 5: Select Words
A word puzzle!
As with all surprises; it can either mean a pleasant one or a bad surprise. If you are a purely logic puzzle fan expecting a run of nothing but logic puzzles, your reaction might be getting slapped in the face with a word puzzle. Otherwise, Select Words might come as a nice little gift before Christmas. If you can overcome the intimidating factor of the unexpectedness, you might find that the puzzle wasn’t that hard after all, as solver Alan O’Donnell indicated, “Round 5 was a little out of character though – non-logical is ok, but it was trivially easy.”
And it had to be easy. A lot of my audience does not primarily use English, including Matej Uher, “the hardest puzzle, at least for me, was obviously Select Words, because I am not a native speaker”.
I’m sure he wasn’t alone. Thank you all for persevering through it though!
In case you don’t know, original Select Words are done in Japanese. I know enough Katakanas to do some if any of the puzzles used English-derived Japanese words. Thomas Powell who almost won Nikoli Hurdles 2 said: “Thanks for not doing the Select Words in Japanese :D”. Now wouldn’t that be a fun exercise?
Select Words appear individually in Nikoli Puzzle Communication magazines. I thought about how I could present several puzzles and still have only one answer key. The idea of linking them up suggested itself. I have 3 puzzles that feed their answers to the 4th puzzle.
The smallest puzzle using 5-letter words were all instruments. The 6-letter puzzle used zodiac star signs. My choice was limited and a couple of words have similar patterns so no matter how hard I tried to anagram them, the solutions seemed all too clear. The 7-letter puzzle used animals with nothing obvious in common apart from all having 4 legs. I originally had DOLPHIN and OCTOPUS then stared at the ceiling for too long to come up with anymore sea creatures that were better than ANEMONE.
The final puzzle entries were 5-letter countries. The shaded letters can be scrambled to spell out ITALY, which was the final answer.
Puzzles from Nikoli Hurdles 2 can be found here