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What is the largest word-square puzzle known? Can you make a bigger one? Obviously, you must use more than four words, six or seven letter words would be really good.

Using computers allowed, not recommended unless necessary.

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  • $\begingroup$ We've had puzzles going all the way up to eight-words, which you can find in the "Linked" section. Given Mr. Toast's fondness for the puzzles, I suspect he'd have posted a nine-worder if such a puzzle existed. The absence of such a puzzle on puzzling.SE therefore suggests that no nine-word puzzle exists. Also note that the number of words in the English language drops off precipitously above 7 characters. $\endgroup$ – COTO Jul 14 '15 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ Look on wikipedia for "word square". Depending on what you deem an acceptable word, the answer is either 9 or 10. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Jul 14 '15 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ It feels like we should coin a term for these. Four word puzzle seems a bit silly when they don't have only 4 words. $\endgroup$ – Bob Jul 14 '15 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Bob: Like Engineer Toast said, "Word Square" seems to be the accepted name for these. $\endgroup$ – Curmudgeon Jul 14 '15 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast: All of your word square puzzles are symmetric. The more general word squares are basically just square crosswords. $\endgroup$ – COTO Jul 14 '15 at 16:42
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I have managed to construct a word square which has 10 different words in it.

CLUES:
muffled cries
butter substitute
close
a special dress
a melodious poem
genus of olive trees
a hairy mammal
to absorb or adsorb
flat piece of stone (diagonal top left to bottom right)
commands a horse (diagonal bottom left to top right)

S O B S
O L E O
N E A R
G A R B

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    $\begingroup$ Is this what was meant by a word square? I thought it was supposed to be 4 words written horizontally and the same 4 words written vertically. No? $\endgroup$ – JLee Jul 14 '15 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee: Word squares that form different words across and down are known as "double word squares" - from the Wiki page of word square. It's a variant of the traditional word square that you are talking about. $\endgroup$ – CodeNewbie Jul 14 '15 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ ok. makes sense. thx $\endgroup$ – JLee Jul 14 '15 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @CodeNewbie does Garb/Sorb work with the rules of the OP? $\endgroup$ – Nyk 232 Jul 14 '15 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @CodeNewbie I mean, doesn't it have to be the same words ordered by rows or columns, such that row 2 and column 2 form the same word? $\endgroup$ – Nyk 232 Jul 14 '15 at 16:35
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According to this Wikipedia article the biggest perfect word-square in modern English is 9-square (it says there are multiple, but only one shown as an example):

A C H A L A S I A
C R E N I D E N S
H E X A N D R I C
A N A B O L I T E
L I N O L E N I N
A D D L E H E A D
S E R I N E T T E
I N I T I A T O R
A S C E N D E R S

Also it says

A 10-square is naturally much harder to find, and a "perfect" 10-square has been hunted since 1897.

Good luck! :)

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  • $\begingroup$ Does that mean there exists no 10-word square, or only that none have been found yet? $\endgroup$ – ghosts_in_the_code Jun 22 '16 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure, it says that it has been hunted since 1897, so whether the article hasn't been updated, or people are not interested anymore :) Because I think a simple script would find that square if it exists :) $\endgroup$ – Gintas K Jun 22 '16 at 13:36
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I also found a word square with 10 different words:

S L A P
L I V E
T I M E
G U N S

Each horizontal word can be read like this, and reverse. Also the last vertical line, with

pees and seep.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this qualifies as a word square, because the verticals don't make words (except for the last column). $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Jul 14 '15 at 14:26

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