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I had a spell in 2017 where I tried to fit many different related sets of words onto a standard 4x4 Boggle board. While looking through my creations yesterday, I found this curious puzzle:

k a s i
l o n n
l t o e
a v h j

I remembered after some time which set of words the puzzle was intended to contain. Interestingly, one of the words was missing—or so I thought, until I discovered it was hiding within the grid after all!

In 2021, the puzzle is now slightly out of date. I attempted to update it by shuffling the letters to fit in one more word, only to quickly realize that this was in fact impossible.

What word was I unable to fit into the board?


For any unaware, the objective of Boggle is to form words from the grid, using any horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent chain of letters. Each letter on the board can only be used once per word. "toons" is a valid word on the board above, but not "tooth," as the one 't' would have to be used twice, nor "tones," as the 'e' is not adjacent to the 's'.

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I think the set of words are

Pokemon Regions

Namely

Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, (Unova*), Kalos and Alola, which can all be found on the board. The missing one is Galas, which cannout be found because it was first featured in Pokemon Sword and Shield (2020)

* This is probably what "one of the words was missing—or so I thought, until I discovered it was hiding within the grid after all" is referring too, since there is no U on the grid. Here are two possible explanations:

- (Proposed by @Stiv) ONE+OVA, because UN is French for ONE, making UNOVA
- (Proposed by @MacGyver88) Temporarily flipping an "n" into a "u". Since the presented board is made up of lowercase letters, this is also reasonable.

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    $\begingroup$ Solid :) You could argue that the missing one is present in that you can find rot13(BAR-BIN va gur tevq, naq HA vf Serapu sbe BAR) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 16 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ rot13(Lbh pbhyq nyfb grzcbenevyl syvc na "a" vagb n "h".) :) $\endgroup$
    – MacGyver88
    Feb 16 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ That's correct! @MacGyver88 has the right idea; in Boggle, rot13(gur bevragngvba bs yrggref qbrfa'g znggre, fb ybjrepnfr 'a' pna nyfb or vagrecergrq nf 'h'. Gubhtu na npghny tnzr bs Obttyr hfvat ybjrepnfr yrggref jbhyq cebonoyl chg yvarf orarngu gurz gb xrrc gurz frcnengr) :) $\endgroup$
    – Jelico
    Feb 16 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ I believe the missing one's last letter as a different one (use Google to confirm) and then @Jelico quickly realised that that letter was not on the board at all. $\endgroup$ Feb 17 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ Side note: While you say rot13(tnyne) can't be inserted, adding rot13(gneqba) might very well be more viable. $\endgroup$
    – Egor Hans
    Feb 17 at 14:38

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