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MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:23 am    Post subject: 1 link to puzzle
Aalk4308
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:34 am    Post subject: 2 Here are some initial thoughts: Obviously this is a game of Scrabble. (Hints are that there are tiles and that Watson's hand is worth 13.) Scrabble has 100 tiles with a specific distribution. Comparing the letters that appear in the words and Watson's hand to the correct distribution of Scrabble letters, we find that the following letters appear more times than the correct distribution: A: 3 E: 4 F: 2 G: 1 H: 1 L: 2 O: 2 R: -1 S: 1 T: 3 U: -1 W: 1 Y: 2 Z: 2 Blank: -2 (naturally) This adds up to 20, since the total length of all the words is 114, Watson has 6 tiles left, and there are 100 tiles in the game. I don't know what to make of the fact that R and U each appear one less time than required. This seems impossible to me. There is only one Z tile in Scrabble, but Z appears in three different words, and none of the words could have been played by extending one of the others. This means that one blank tile is a Z and two of the words share the Z tile, or both blanks are Z's and the Z tile is not shared. That's all I've got for now.Last edited by Aalk4308 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:04 am    Post subject: 3 From the previous post, if they were using a non-english set, the distribution of tiles might not be the same. A longshot perhaps but still a possibility. Alternatively, it not might be a scrabble set...but unlikely.
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:17 am    Post subject: 4 Also, the winner (?) played all his remaining tiles in his last play and yet the longest word on the board is only 6 letters (3 possibilities) so he had less that 7 tiles before that last play and Watson was only able to play 1 tile on his previous turn (or register a pass). If that were the case, then words like fix, it, in, is and other obscure words were most likely unavailable to play...unless a better scoring word like adding Y to GLUE was an option. No idea if any of this helps!
Aalk4308
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:30 am    Post subject: 5 It would be strange for them to use a non-English set and still play English words! Anyway, this looks like it's going to be an awesome puzzle.
3iff
very unbifflike

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:13 pm    Post subject: 6

 Aalk4308 wrote: It would be strange for them to use a non-English set and still play English words! Anyway, this looks like it's going to be an awesome puzzle.

I agree on both points...but there's no accounting how devious a puzzle setter might be.
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:44 pm    Post subject: 7 More insight??? (hidden) I wonder if the words listed were those played in order? Playing WIFE first, the next few can be played in sequence. Absolutely no idea if the letters get used in the right quantities. I'm also concerned that R and U appear to be at least one letter missing. There isn't a word missing from the list is there??
bobandyo
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject: 8 The wording of the puzzle leaves open the possibility that "Hush" and "Done" may have been two words that Watson played. That would at least account for one of the missing letters
bobandyo
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:08 pm    Post subject: 9 missing tiles? (inviz) - There are 114 letters in the 25 given words. Given that every word that is played (except for the 1st one) must use at least one letter that had previously been placed on the board we can only account for at most 96 tiles (114 minus 24 plus Watson's 6 remaining). So there are at least 4 missing tiles, 2 of them being the "R" and "U". Perhaps we should be looking for a message with the missing tiles (Arthur Conan Doyle) or Surly? Also, "In fact, with a simple application of logic to the situation, one could even determine the stakes" - This seems like an odd comment - I don't know what to make of it but I think it will come into play in the solution[/b]Last edited by bobandyo on Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
3iff
very unbifflike

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:09 am    Post subject: 10

 bobandyo wrote: The wording of the puzzle leaves open the possibility that "Hush" and "Done" may have been two words that Watson played. That would at least account for one of the missing letters

I did think that might be a possibility but the list at the end of the story implies that those are the only words as appearing on the board...to me anyway. Also, including hush as a word means all the H words must be interconnected and the one remaining blank must be used for one H...we need one blank for a Z.
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: 11 Ahhhh, I'm getting somewhere...but I'm deeply concerned with R and U being '1 short' in the counts. Has a word been omitted from the list??? Could someone please confirm the words given are correct...I do realise there may be a word 'concealed' in the clue... Thanks.
Newboi
Guest

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject: 12 Just thinking about the missing "u" and "r" . Is it possible that there might be a third player with these ( ... and possibly other) tiles remaining in front of him ?
bobandyo
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:41 pm    Post subject: 13 Here is another thought :Perhaps the puzzle title hints at the missing letters "Sign of FoUR[spoiler]
AZu
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:56 pm    Post subject: 14 Not sure how much this is correct but : Watson obviously can't play ox on his last turn. So for example for the world lover either the l is used (jails) or the o itself. The same applies to all letters with an o in it. One point i am not sure about is does the next player get a turn after someone runs out of tiles?
Tony Gardner
Daedalian Member

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:06 pm    Post subject: 15

 AZu wrote: One point i am not sure about is does the next player get a turn after someone runs out of tiles?

According to hasbro.com:

The game ends when all letters have been drawn and one player uses his or her last letter; or when all possible plays have been made.

So I'd say no.
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:35 pm    Post subject: 16 What I've got so far...big spoilers!!?? Assuming we play the words in order... WIFE (across) NODE (vertical off the E) WET (Vertical off the W of WIFE) TAMED (across from T of WET) DAZE (across off E of WET) above are certainties to me! FAMOUS (vertical off A of DAZE) QUOTES (across on O of NODE) CAWS (vertical off S of FAMOUS) CRANKY (vertical off A of CAWS) BOYS (across from Y of CRANKY) EVENT (vertical off E of TAMED) PATTY (across from T of EVENT (second T in PATTY)) PRIDE (vertical to E in QUOTES) BLAZE (vertical from A in PATTY) JAILS - where can this fit?? As I place more words, there are more and more possible sites...until I hit a major obstacle. Multiple players?? In the text it refers to "his opponent"...I suspect just a two player game.
AZu
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject: 17 Another probably worng thought : The letter f appears 4 times which would mean , seeing as there are two f tiles, that each tile is used by two words. If however we are supposed to infer from the title that f appears less than it should normally i.e. it appears once , then the other blank title (the first being used fro z) must have been used for an f
/dev/joe
Guest

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: 18 Another thought about the missing letters: The list gives all the words on the board, but perhaps there is a non-word played somewhere, a "phony" which contains a U, and an R, and the other missing letters. This would cause another extra crossing, meaning that this phony has at least 5 letters.
Tahnan
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:25 pm    Post subject: 19 I'll lay one fear to rest: there are, to the best of my knowledge, no errors in the puzzle as posted.
ralphmerridew
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:45 pm    Post subject: 20 My thoughts: Holmes's initial comment "The interesting thing about this game, is that one needn't know each intermediate step to reconstruct the game. One need only have the final list of words on the board." can be read in a few ways. 1 - In this particular play, given the current list, one can reconstruct the game. 2 - In this particular play, however the rest of the game goes, given the final list of words, one can reconstruct the game. 3 - In any play of that game, given the final list, one can reconstruct the game. The first strikes me as a cheap interpretation of "final"; the second is in present tense when it should be future tense (and also extraneous to the puzzle); the third is very nasty (especially since they're obviously not playing Scrabble). (By extraneous, I mean that it gives no additional information to the solver. In the first case, it tells about the state of the board 2 moves ago; in the third, it gives hints about what game they are playing. But in the second case, an intelligent solver could deduce the truth of the statement on his/her own.)
Thok
Guest

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: 21 Since I don't remember, is "Hmmmm" a valid Scrabble word? (I remember that it there are quite a few speeling of it that are valid, with varying numbers of m's.) If it is valid, we should probably include that with "Hush" and "Done". Given the flavor text, I assume we'll see something interesting like the words written in order will make an interesting message.
MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

 Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: 22 Tahnan- they don't need to know that
Hoovey
Guest

 Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: 23 I don't know if this is relevant, but I believe that there are 4 people playing the game here. Holmes is speaking to Watson, but then one person (his opponent) plays "HMMM" (illegal?). Next Watson plays "HUSH". We know this because Holmes responds "No need to be surly, Watson." Then the third person (the other) plays "DONE" while nodding. Finally, Holmes plays the rest of his tiles. Perhaps this is why the title is The Sign of Four.
Thok
Guest

 Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: 24 I suspect the those aren't the final word on rethinking. I expect that we will be forced to deduce the final words from the letters left over after we figure out the board position. (Incidentally, I'm pretty sure HMMMM is a legal Scrabble word.)
darkveggie
Icarian Member

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:27 am    Post subject: 25 my 0.0163345312 Euros ... i do play a little scrabble first off, i don't believe the spoken words are plays "hmmm" is not a valid scrabble word, but "hm" and "hmm" is. (go figure... so are "brr" and "brrr") second, there would be way too many h's on the board, even with the possibility of blanks. i'm pretty sure all other words in the list are valid. second off, i doubt there are 4 people in the game - this would mean that, in addition to the 96 tiles accounted for, both other person would only have 4 tiles left. also, the referents "the opponent" and "the other" suggest only one other player than Holmes - Watson. i can't get past jails either, 3iff. have you considered using the -S hook or parallel plays, i.e. NODE under and left of WIFE, making WE simultaneously? as an aside, i believe the Z and a vowel, A or E, are probably the blanks. not much use there, but may help. unfortunately, if they are, determining the score will be much harder, which may. a few questions to the author, how well can we assume Holmes and Watson play? the words are common, but there are still possibilities for parallel plays. (for example, NODE off of E from WIFE, but WET parallel to WIFE at WI, TAMED on top of WI, if you know DIT...) ... these would score well, but would also close up the board and increase the number of accounted tiles, leaving holmes even fewer to none tiles to play off at the end. also, are you sure there is a unique configuration of the board?
MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:33 am    Post subject: 26 Yes.
3iff
very unbifflike

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: 27

 darkveggie wrote: i can't get past jails either, 3iff. have you considered using the -S hook or parallel plays, i.e. NODE under and left of WIFE, making WE simultaneously? as an aside, i believe the Z and a vowel, A or E, are probably the blanks. not much use there, but may help. unfortunately, if they are, determining the score will be much harder, which may.

I like that idea (back after a long weekend). After all, the word list doesn't include temporary words that are extended by subsequent plays.

I shall experiment.

Oh, at least one blank must be a Z, and I believe there are only 2 players. I have been wrong before though...
baraka
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:35 am    Post subject: 28 I am new to this site, and this is the first puzzle I have looked at. Here are some thoughts: I have been able to place all the words in the order given up to the word 'he', but then I get stuck. This is using only the given words, not creating others in the process, such as 'we', etc. Also, here is something that might account for the missing R and U... To me it reads as though only Holmes and Watson are playing. So what then does the name "The Sign of Four" refer to? If you repunctuate this, you could get, The Sign-Off - "OUR", meaning that the word Holmes plays to go out on is "our". Thus appear the U and R. Presumably the O is already on the board. This assumes that the word did not make it onto the final list merely to be tricky (?) [spoiler] Any comments?
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:08 am    Post subject: 29 Darkveggie: Placing node under wife to make we doesn't seem to get me very far...pity. Barak: Can you send me a copy of your 'plays' to make the words...a private message or a post using a spoiler would be very useful. Oh, also a nice possible explanation of the title...That might be the answer to that particular problem.
/dev/joe
Guest

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:58 pm    Post subject: 30 I also made it to HE, in the following manner: WIFE NODE through E in WIFE WET through W in WIFE TAMED through T in WET DAZE through D in TAMED FAMOUS through F in WIFE and M in TAMED QUOTES through O in NODE CAWS through S in QUOTES CRANKY through A in CAWS BOYS through Y in CRANKY EVENT with its first E on the E in DAZE PATTY with its first T on the T in EVENT PRIDE through the second E in EVENT BLAZE through the E in WET JAILS through the S in FAMOUS GROAN through the A in BLAZE GRAZE through the A in JAILS HE through the E in GRAZE HIGH through the G in GROAN, except that this puts 3 Hs and 3 Zs on the board, requiring 3 blanks. And there is nowhere for LOVER.
baraka
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:38 pm    Post subject: 31 3iff, see /dev/joe's post for my answer, that is same as mine. If one uses logic and works backwards, it seems that the words could not have been played in the order listed. 1. There are no seven letter words, so when Holmes goes out [move=EndGame] it is with a word of 6 letters or fewer, therefore 2. After Holmes' previous turn [move= EG -2], there were no letters left in the bank, therefore, 3. On Watson's turn before Holmes goes out [move EG -1], there were no letters left in the bank, and probably at his previous turn [move= EG -3] he took the last of the letters. So, 4. On Watson's last turn [move= EG -1] he only plays one letter, and is left with I I I I I X. There are two two-letter words, TO and HE, so he must have played an E on an H from HIGH, or a T or O on an O or T from any number of words. If his last play was one of these words, then the order of the words played is yet to be determined. Possibly the list is across words followed by down words, taken left to right? Someone please let me know if there is a flaw in my logic.
Guest

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject: 32

 baraka wrote: Someone please let me know if there is a flaw in my logic.

Do we know for certain that the last three words are in the list? From the flavor, the list of words may just be those played by EG-3 (EG-2?) and we might have to deduce the last 3 words from the remaining letters.
Aalk4308
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:21 am    Post subject: 33 I think Baraka's logic is right if we assume that the list of words provided in the puzzle comprises all the words that were played. But as has been pointed out in previous posts, the fact that an R and U are missing suggests that at least one word was played that is not on the list. This word could be the word Holmes finished with, and it could have had seven letters. In that case, it no longer follows that Watson played one of the two-letter words on his last turn, and so the given words aren't necessarily out of order.
baraka
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:56 am    Post subject: 34 Some more thoughts (hidden): Based on the count of the letters in the words vs. the distribution of the 100 Scrabble letters, it appears that the only letters where words cross (nodes) are A,E,F,G,H,L,O,S,T,W,Y,Z, in the numbers that Aalk4308 has pointed out above. The word PRIDE has only one of these letters, so it only crosses one other word, making it a good bet that it is along the edge somewhere. The word HIGH must cross one of the three words beginning with G, and the first H must cross with an E at the end of a another word, or by itself, for the word HE. There must be only one combination of those 12 letters as nodes between words that works, and I have yet to find it. The four letters unaccounted for are the U,R and I am guessing F and O, hence the title. Thus I believe the second blank to be an F, for a total of 3 F tiles in 5 words. (The fifth word with F being the last one, FOUR, not on the list.) Perhaps it is placed so the R goes on the end of BLAZE. I got farther starting with GLUEY and working backwards, but again, I think the list is not in play order. This is taking up too much of my time, lol! I hope someone solves it soon. BTW, generally speaking, how long are these puzzle usually up before they are solved?
MatthewV
Daedalian Member :_

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 7:17 am    Post subject: 35 Oh, sometimes seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or even years! sorry, no hints. try again I think two weeks is a about right myself. More than that is frustrating for solvers; less than that means I must update more often sorry, no hints. try again I could say how long I think this will remain unsolved...but I won't. sorry, no hints. at all Personally I think this is a beautifully constructed puzzle, but I may have some bias.
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:45 am    Post subject: 36 Interesting discovery. All words listed account for 114 tiles. Of 25 words listed, 24 (at least) must be shared (eg WIFE+NODE use just 7 letters when joined). This means 90 tiles are used. Watson has 6 remaining in his hand (96 so far), so where are the other 4 tiles?? If these are words played on the board, we would need either a 5 letter word (using these 4 mystery tiles) or two separate words totalling 6 letters...or even more words?? (edited to correct a miscount!) Baraka and Dev/Joe: I don't think that playlist works. The re-using of M in famous and D in daze, technically exceeds those letters availability...(I might be wrong though). Obviously as a straight playthrough of the words doesn't work, we must be missing something. Any experts on the "Sign of Four" story??? Are there any potential clues there?? Finally, just my opinion, but if the words are NOT in play order then I don't think the puzzle would be solvable in a reasonable time. I'm also puzzled as to why some lines have three words, not two. My only thought for this is that two words are formed with one play (HE and HIGH for example) and that each line indicates a turn for both players.Last edited by 3iff on Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:20 am; edited 2 times in total
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject: 37 [quote="baraka"] hidden quote The word HIGH must cross one of the three words beginning with G, and the first H must cross with an E at the end of a another word, or by itself, for the word HE. There must be only one combination of those 12 letters as nodes between words that works, and I have yet to find it. Not entirely true...(hidden answer) H appears 3 times in the words, but there are only 2 H's in the tileset. HIGH could cross at H in HE. That would use all available H's. If HIGH crossed a G, then a blank would be needed for an H. Either possibility could be the answer. Just don't restrict yourself to HIGH crossing at a G.
Tony Gardner
Daedalian Member

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:30 am    Post subject: 38

 3iff wrote: Any experts on the "Sign of Four" story??? Are there any potential clues there??

No idea. Start reading here: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DoySign.html
3iff
very unbifflike

 Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:52 am    Post subject: 39 I did find this page last week but couldn't face reading the whole story. I was hoping someone would actually already know the story... It's probably going to be a red herring anyway!
baraka
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:14 am    Post subject: 40 I seem to be stuck and in need of a small hint in the right direction. So there are four letters accounting for the last one or two plays, which are not on the word list. Two of these are U and R. Whatever the other two letters are will change the possible nodes, i.e letters common to two words. So to the already compiled list of these might be added M, D, P or something else. Beyond that I am stuck. It seems that the key is to find how they interlock on the board. After that, reconstructing the play and scoring should be a snap.
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