Annotated Solution to the Jotto Puzzle of the Day

May 5, 2003

NOTE: This puzzle actually has more than one solution. I believe this happened because I generated it when my dictionary was smaller. Thanks to the person who spotted this and pointed it out to me. Needless ot say, this won't happen again.

canto - 1
built - 2
foist - 2
admit - 2
cedis - 1
inept - 2
stale - 2
No zeros here, so we're in for some work.

Might as well start at the top. If there's a c, then there's no a, n, t, or o (canto=1). Working our way down the list, we see that we must have two of d, m, and i (admit=2 and anto=0). However, since there is a c, we know there is no e, d, i, or s (cedis=1). That means it's impossible to have two of d, m, and i, so we have a contradiction. Therefore, there is no c.

Let's try the next letter in canto. If there's an a, then there's no c, n, t, or o (canto=1). Looking at built, we know that we must have two of b, u, i, or l. Working our way down the rest of the list in a similar fashion, we have the following:

That doesn't look too helpful at first, but we can break it up into smaller units. Starting from the left, we see that there are 6 combinations from (buil=2), which is a lot. However, there are only 3 combinations from (fis=2), so let's look at that.

If it's fi, then, knocking out i from some of the combinations, we have:

Taking the new zeros into account, we can reduce (ep=1) to p, and we can reduce (sle=1) to l. This gives us the five letters afipl. Since we're left with exactly five letters, this looks like a good opportunity to see if we can make a word out of this. Some playing around with ordering of the letters turns up the solution, pilaf. Since we've found a word, we know we can stop because this is a Jotto puzzle, which by definition only has one word that works.

Jotto Puzzle of the Day
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Last modified: 06 May 2003