On the roadside last week, I found what appears to be a page from a farmer's journal. Although the spelling and grammar might not be 100% correct, I can easily read all but one word of it. There is a hole in the paper (shown as a blank line below) where that missing word was, and just for fun, I have been trying to figure out what it was.

I am fairly certain that the word is a number, because all of the other numbers on the page were circled, and there was also a circle around the missing word.

Apparently, he split up each day's entry with horizontal lines.

Here is the page:

Aah, life in the city of Emory! We know of no web access. We do need it soon. Got to go...

Some guy fed ________ old eggs to my pig. First, we do urge him to NOT feed my pig. My, oh, my, he aims to annoy us, as he bent the alloy pole below the coop roof! My wife almost told him to chill. Oh, how she abhors to be wronged!

Now we do see an old gipsy tie his one cow up at the billowy, old elm tree by the fir tree, as we begin to accost the guy to buy feed. His red chow feed bin sold for one cent! We got one as the guy spoke: "Hi! We fry the best yucca in the city- the cost- one cent too!"

First, we chop wood, fix the ox yoke, fry the berry pie, mop the floors.... "The ghost" spooked my wife, "Boo!" So, my wife got the chills. She got the gist of his song.

What is the missing word?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Things that come to my mind: acronyms, anagrams, mnemonics for mathematical constants, palindromes. None of these seems to work though. $\endgroup$ May 26, 2015 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor: It's not Scrabble scores, either ... $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 26, 2015 at 9:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I like this puzzle, but it would be nice to find a way to incorporate the hint instead of having it as an 'extra'. With the puzzle alone, there are other words (like 'my' or 'his') that fit. $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    May 26, 2015 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


The missing word is:


It is the only number that fits into the pattern exhibited by the diary entries:

The words in the text are either alphabetically increasing or decreasing. Increasing means each letter in a word comes after the previous one in the alphabet (B ≤ E ≤ S ≤ T) and decreasing that it comes before the previous letter (P ≥ I ≥ G). The sequences are not strict, so double letters are allowed. Increasing and decreasing words alternate, so we need an increasing number. We are told that the missing word is a number and forty is the only one that fits the bill.


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