# Annotated Solution to the Jotto Puzzle of the Day

## May 2, 2003

dells - 0
swims - 1
gummy - 0
bract - 0
pique - 1
whoop - 2

Lots of zeros here, so this shouldn't be too bad. Let's start by looking
at each word that doesn't score zero.
**swims** scores 1, but we can knock out the **s**'s from
**dells** and the **m** from **gummy**. That leaves us with
either **w** or **i**.

**pique** scores 1, but we can knock out the **e** from **dells**
and the **u** from **gummy**. That leaves us with **p**,
**i**, or **q**

**whoop** scores 2. Unfortunately, it doesn't share any letters with
the words that score 0.

We are left with:

wi=1
piq=1
whoop=2

If the word has an **i**, then it has no **w** (wi=1) and no
**p** (piq=1). That gives us hoo=2, which is either **ho** or
**oo**. This gives us two combinations: **iho** or **ioo**.
If the word doesn't have an **i**, then it has a **w** (wi=1) and
either a **p** or a **q** (piq=1). If it's **wp**, then that
takes care of **whoop** (whoop=2). If it's **wq**, then we need
either an **h** or an **o** (whoop=2). This gives us three more
combinations: **wp**, **wqh**, or **wqo**.

We now have five possible combinations. Since there is no **u**
(gummy=0), it's unlikely that there is a **q**, so we can ignore those
combinations. Also, if it's **wp**, then there would be no vowels (all
of the vowels, including **y**, are eliminated by **wp**), so we can
ignore that for now. That leaves us with just two combinations: **iho**
or **ioo**.

Now, we make a list of the letters that aren't in any of the guesses.
These (plus possible repetitions of letters we've already guessed) are
what we need to fill out the word:

fjknvxz

The **n** jumps out right away, since it is the most common letter
left. **ioon** looks promising, and, indeed, it gives the answer:
**onion**.

kevin@aq.org

Jotto Puzzle of the Day

Jotto

Return to Kevin's aq.org page.

Last modified: 02 May 2003