The Minisample - Flats

DELETION: A word becomes a new word when an interior letter is removed. Example: simile → smile

1. DELETION (7, 6) (A, B)

The profs won't help me do my work.
TAs object, but I just smirk.
I got two F's, but don't blame me —
It's obvious the A is B!

2. DELETION (8, 7) (ONE, TWO)

He's really a farmer, not much of a doctor,
Alas, though, the only one near.
TWO surgery means that you'll get a ONE poultice
And leave with an eyeful of ear.
=TINHORN, Los Angeles CA

TERMINAL DELETION: A word becomes a new word when its first and last letters are removed. (Asterisks are used to indicate capitalized words.) Example: scribe → crib


Portlanders say, to avoid all confusion:
"In SHORTER there's rain. It's a LONGER conclusion."
=MR. TEX, Los Angeles CA


Throwing furry critters is my favorite avocation;
Clay sea SHORTER LONGER is my very best creation.
=AMALGAM, San Antonio TX

WORD DELETION: A word (IN) is removed from inside a longer word (TOTAL), leaving a third word (OUT). (Here the asterisked word is part of a proper noun phrase.) Example: performance – man = perforce

5. WORD DELETION (9; 4, *5) (TOTAL; IN, OUT)

From St. OUT's IN, the long way 'round,
Past papal pelf to Sistine suite,
My TOTAL measures five-plus miles:
Exalt the soul, exhaust the feet.
=MONA, Pebble Beach CA

BEHEADMENT: A word becomes a new word when its first letter is removed. Example: slaughter → laughter

6. BEHEADMENT (7, 6)

As "William Tell" was finishing, the FIRST WORD dropped his bow.
I picked it up and gave it back: an OTHER WORD, you know.
=ULLY BYRD, Grand Chicken IC

(When two members collaborate in the writing of a flat, as in the previous example, they often combine their noms and cities, leading to fanciful constructions like Grand Chicken IC, a portmanteau of Grand Chain IL and Aiken SC.)

LETTER CHANGE: One letter is changed in a word to produce a new word. Example: a third-letter change: pastry → pantry


You must pay the ONE, or else your baby will die! die! die!
The amount will be TWO, determined by rolling a die! die! die!

REPEATED-LETTER CHANGE: All instances of a given letter in a word or phrase are changed to produce a new word or phrase. Example: porpoise → tortoise

8. REPEATED-LETTER CHANGE (7 2, *3 *3 *3) (can be sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”)

You'll shepherd out the old at last,
But while you're ONE the new,
Resound those bells for Shepherds past,
For movie stars like TWO.
For wonder dogs like TWO, my friend,
For wonder dogs like TWO.
We'll raise a cup of kibble yet
For movie stars like TWO.
=JAHNAN, Nashomerville TA

CHARADE: A word is broken into two or more shorter words. Example: TOTAL = scarcity; ONE = scar, TWO = city.

9. CHARADE (6; 3, 3) (COMBINE; A, B)

My love for you I long to show;
I want to B you something fine.
Alas, a lack: I'm poor, sans dough.
A rose is not in my COMBINE.
But to the garden I will go;
A new-formed A will make you mine.
=BADIR, Princeton NJ

TRANSPOSAL: A word becomes a different one when its letters are rearranged (commonly called an “anagram”). Example: sleuth → hustle

(In the first example, the cuewords are themselves transposals.)


A lovely floral centerpiece
Adorns our dining table.
It's beautiful, except those times
A BLEATS falls on your STABLE.


I have a ghostly girlfriend.
We've ethereal relations.
The fact, though, that she's SECOND
Clearly FIRST these situations.
=TINHORN, Los Angeles CA

LETTER BANK: A shorter word or phrase with no repeated letters (the “bank”) is used to form a longer word or phrase, using all the letters in the bank at least once and as many more times as needed. Example: lens → senselessness

12. LETTER BANK (2 3 5, *4 *9 *8)

The ugly duckling grew to be a swan,
But don't let LONGER PHRASE just put you on.
Are you a cygnet, baby? No such luck!
It's SHORTER PHRASE you'll be an ugly duck!
=XEMU, Bridgewater NJ

(In the following example the cuewords exemplify the relationship between the basewords, i.e., one is a letter bank of the other.)

13. LETTER BANK (*6, 9)

When DEAN was lean he ruled the screen.
Marlon's work was tough but tender.
And you can view his films online:
The early ones, when he was slender,
And latter work (his fatter work;
For that you'll need ADDENDA).
=MR. TEX, Los Angeles CA

HOMONYM: Two unrelated words or phrases are pronounced the same but spelled differently. Example: hair → hare

(In the first example, the three parts of the answer are represented pictorially, rather than in verse.)

14. HOMONYM (3, 4, 4)

homonym illustration


15. HOMONYM (7, 2 *4)

A cowboy's career is quite messy, I fear,
Too dirty to mention. His FIRST needs attention.
To Autry this didn't seem strange.
"Oh, SECOND," said Dale, when he'd come off the trail,
"A bath's your connection to get my affection
When you're back at our home on the range."

HETERONYM: Two words or phrases have the same spelling but different pronunciations and spacing. Example: notable → not able

(In the first flat the underlined words are a title.)

16. HETERONYM (9; *3 *1. *1. 4)

Iran's imams hate sexy soaps.
This Fox show makes them fret.
That ONE WORD may just have a point.
Is MANY WORDS? You bet.
=SLIK, Seattle WA

17. HETERONYM (*6, 2 4)

Just FIRST the name of Britney Spears;
Then you can SECOND pix for years.
=MR. TEX, Los Angeles CA

REBUS: A word or phrase is represented by letters. The word “abalone” — read as “a B, alone” — might be represented by


while the word “largess” — read as “large SS” — might be represented by


18. REBUS (*6) (can be sung to the tune of “Venus” by Bananarama)


A goddess on the mountain top,
The Parthenon her seat of fame,
The summit of wisdom and mind,
And ANSWER was her name.
She's thought it.
Yeah, baby, she's thought it.
She is ANSWER; she inspires
The brain's desires.
=SPROUT, Somerville MA

19. REBUS (*3 *4 *5)

"I can't eat another bite!"

A film like ANSWER shows there's great enjoyment 
In dancing nude when faced with unemployment.
=MO' NATURAL, Pebblework CY

ANAGRAM: A word or phrase which, when its letters are rearranged, produces the answer word or phrase. One phrase is a description of or allusion to the other. Example: NAME FOR SHIP is an anagram of H.M.S. PINAFORE.

20. LATTES? IN HASTE, GO NW (*7, *10)
21. TRUE GENERALS (*1. *1. *5, *1. *1. *3)
=ULK, Grand Chain IL

22. CLAIM: "HECK, I SENT IT (HEH)!" (3 5 2 2 3 4)
=WABBIT, Cote St. Luc QC

CRYPTOGRAM: A message in cipher, where each letter in the coded message stands for another letter wherever it appears. (No letter stands for itself.) The title provides a hint.

23. Biting wit.
=ASOBI, Yardley PA