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Great Word Puzzles for Tiger Moms and Their Cubs: Squared Squares Puzzle #1

Updated on April 28, 2011

The word puzzles that achievers enjoy will usually incorporate several elements together: knowledge and understanding of language and words; some degree of logic and reasoning, maybe even mathematical skills within a word game; and a degree of organizational skills and attention to detail. All of these skills are important during our years of formal education as well as during our adult years of productivity, achievement and, we hope, success.

The "Squared Squares" puzzles presented here offer an opportunity to exercise many of these listed skills. A Squared Squares puzzle (aka Puzzle Squares) provides a grid that looks much like a crossword puzzle grid, with both white and black squares. But in this case the black squares do not offer the kind of symmetry that is customary in a crossword puzzle. The grid also has heavier black lines that subdivide it into smaller square sections which are labeled by column and by row - letters in one direction and numbers in the other. The most common grid arrangement that I have seen is a 16-square x 16-square grid, subdivided into sixteen 4 x 4 grids. In creating my own Squared Squares, I have created some grids with alternate arrangements. (Those who have solved Puzzle Squares may notice that the lists of letters and groups which belong in the varoius sections are arranged differently here, moving top to bottom, rather than left to right.)

Along with the grid, the puzzle gives a list of letters and letter groupings, categorized by the sub-grid where they are to be placed. The number of letters in the lists will vary. The trick of the puzzle is to determine where each letter or group of letters is to be placed within its section. When placed correctly, they will spell out a proverb, motto, saying, joke, or quotation.

Besides varying the layout of the grid, there is another way in which these puzzles are different from the traditional ones. Usually these puzzles omit all punctuation. That provides one more level of complexity, because the solver has to observe where an apostrophe, comma, or period would logically and grammatically appear in the solution. In puzzles that I have made, I include apostrophes, but no other punctuation. However, because of the necessity of conforming to a certain number of characters in the grid, in some puzzles the apostrophes are to be placed in the same square as the letter which they follow; in some puzzles, the apostrophes are to be placed in their very own square! These will be noted, but in most cases an observant solver can figure out, on their own, which is which.

The best strategies for solving these puzzles would be to (1) start by placing the letters that obviously have only one possible location - for example being the only group containing a specific number of letters in its sub-grid; (2) don't force yourself to figure out an entire sub-grid at a time - usually it's helpful to jump around and fill in the obvoius first, then attack the more puzzling groups; and (3) don't forget to notice that words wrap from one row to the next - that means that if there is no black square at the end of one row or at the beginning of the next row, you have part of the word on one row and the remainder on the next. As you fill in parts of words, you will begin to see entire words emerge, along with the sense of the entire quote. When there are two possibilities, try both of them to see which makes the most sense or just wait until you have more information.

So here, for your solving pleasure, is a trio of Squared Squares - three quotations by some famous people within the same general field. Names are provided in two cases; in the third, the source of the quote is listed in the caption below the solution.

In this puzzle, the apostrophe gets to have its very own square!  But you already noticed that, didn't you?
In this puzzle, the apostrophe gets to have its very own square! But you already noticed that, didn't you?
This is a puzzle where the apostrophe is to be placed within the same square as the letter it follows.
This is a puzzle where the apostrophe is to be placed within the same square as the letter it follows.


This quotation comes from Mia Hamm.  Thanks for the words of inspiration!
This quotation comes from Mia Hamm. Thanks for the words of inspiration!


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