How to Solve Quip-Find™ Puzzles

A Quip-Find puzzle has two parts:

  1. A diagram of three faces of a 3x3x3 cube (or “rack”) where each smaller-cube space (or “cubby”) has been filled with a different letter of the alphabet. The diagram contains the hidden quip.
  1. A cryptogram where blank squares represent the words of the quip. The numbers underneath the squares are code for the letters in the quip, a different number for each letter.

To solve a Quip-Find puzzle, you work back and forth between the rack diagram and the cryptogram. We recommend using a pencil to allow for trial and error.

Here is an example: the answer is from “The Tortoise and the Hare,” one of Aesop’s fables:

“Slow and steady wins the race”

In the cryptogram:

  • Notice any short words(words of 1-4 letters). Short words are generally easier to find in the diagram, and it is usually more fruitful to start your solving with them.
  • Start by scanning for any words that have unusual features(for example, apostrophes, or letters repeated within a word – particularly double letters), and for any repetitions of words or other sequences of letters. Circle or otherwise highlight these unusual patterns. (Common words that have distinctive patterns include ALWAYS, BETTER, NEVER, and THAT.)

In the diagram:

  • Search for words that are spelled out, particularly those that are the same length as words in the cryptogram. Make lists, by word-length, of these words.
  • In searching for short words, take note of any common short words – for example, among three-letter words, watch for ones like AND, FOR, THE, and YOU.
  • Look for words that fit the patternof words in the cryptogram – particularly any words that have double letters or other unusual features – and any patterns of letters that are found in two or more different words.

A word is spelled out if its letters are consecutively adjacentin the diagram. Words that are spelled out in the above diagram include ARE, CARE, DARE, and AWARE, but not AWAY (A is not adjacent to Y) or AWARD (R is not adjacent to D).

A few of the other words that are spelled out in this diagram are ADD (double letters are always permitted), ANNOY, ANY, CANCER, DANCE, DARK, EAR, ERECT, ERR, FOLLOW, GLOW, KIND, NOW, PUT, SPHERE, TERRACE, THERE, WIRE, and YON.

See how each word in the hidden quip is spelled out in the diagram – and the entire quip is spelled out as one continuous path, as though it were a single word. This is a key feature of Quip-Find puzzles, and it makes them possible to solve through logic and reasoning.

For more detailed Quip-Find™ instructions and diagram examples, please click here. The instructions are excerpted from my first book, Never Play Leapfrog with a Unicorn, the Quip-Find™ Puzzle Book of Advice, available from Amazon.


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