The ENIGMA

January 1993Portland, OregonMINISAMPLE


This is a special hypertext introductory edition of The ENIGMA.

We also have a plain-old ASCII text version and a Adobe Acrobat version, the latter of which requires you to install Adobe Acrobat to view.) This minisample is much shorter than the typical twenty-page issue.

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It is also an invitation to you to participate in a pastime that will provide you with great enjoyment for very little expense.

The ENIGMA is the monthly publication of The National Puzzlers' League. The NPL, founded in 1883, is the oldest puzzle organization in the United States and the oldest continuously active one in the world. In 1987, we published our 1000th issue. We have a devoted membership of about 400, and all of us are IN THE GAME strictly to have fun and to perpetuate the puzzleistic art. The ENIGMA is our battleground where we challenge and entertain each other with ingenuity, wit, and humor.

Every issue of The ENIGMA contains a wide variety of puzzles, some easy and some tough. Beginner or experienced, you'll always get a good workout. About half the puzzles can be solved without reference books. (Some of our members collect dictionaries, specialized lists, even computer programs; many others have solved happily for years with no more than a college dictionary and thesaurus.) You'll also find stumpers to test the vocabulary, logic, and persistence of the most expert solvers.

The ENIGMA also contains performance records of those solvers (about a quarter of our members) who like to have their solutions checked and reported, votes for favorite puzzles, and news about puzzles and puzzlers. New members receive the guide to The ENIGMA, which explains the many types of puzzles. You'll also receive the NPL directory, giving names, addresses, and noms de plume of puzzlers. A member's nom serves as introduction to any other member. Our members do a lot of corresponding, and many lasting friendships have been made in the NPL. Each summer, we have a four-day convention filled with puzzles, games, and comradeship. For many, the annual convention is the best part of being an NPLer.

In the pages ahead, you'll find puzzles that appeared a few years ago in The ENIGMA. Most of them were solved by about two-thirds of the members who sent in lists. (Few members solve everything–and at least some puzzles in every issue are supposed to be really challenging.) Most puzzles in The ENIGMA are in verse, but you don't have to be a poet to write them, or a scholar to solve them. In each verse, one or more words are missing, replaced by words like “ONE” and “TWO.” Your job is to figure out the missing words. Look at this example:


FIFTH-LETTER CHANGE (6)



When Felix gets a whiff of ONE,

You see him jump and run,

But still, before the day is through,

He's curled up for a TWO.

The title tells you what kind of answer you need. In this case, it's a letter change: a word becomes a new word when a designated letter is changed–like “design” to “resign,” or “irritate” to “irrigate.” The number in parentheses says you're looking for a six-letter word (ONE) that becomes a new word (TWO) when its fifth letter is changed. The context gives you your clues, and after some thought you hit on the answer: ONE is “catnip” and TWO is “catnap.”

When you understand that example, you're ready to go ahead and tackle the rest of the puzzles. And if you enjoy this sample edition of The ENIGMA, we hope you'll join us in the NPL.


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Copyright © 1893-2003, National Puzzlers' League. All rights reserved.
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