# Find the missing letters

This should be an easy puzzle.

Replace the x in the below with letters to make 6 valid 5-letters English words (no proper nouns or abbreviations) both vertically and horizontally.

This puzzle will be more fun if you only use a dictionary to validate your answers rather than use it to search for words that fit.

There may be more than one solution. However, the challenge is to use the least number of distinct characters to replace the xs.

Green tick to the first valid answer that uses the least numbers of letters.

C x D x T
x x x
R x T x R
x x x
D x R x S

• I'm not sure I understand your judgment criteria here. How can there be an answer with the least numbers of letters when every valid answer must use the same number of letters? (Or, rather, wouldn't they all use the least, therefore.) – Engineer Toast Aug 24 '15 at 12:17
• @EngineerToast: I believe it is meant distinct letters. There are 12 boxes to fill, but you don't need to use 12 letters. – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:26
• Can those who flagged as too broad articulate their concerns? I don't see it. – dennisdeems Aug 24 '15 at 14:49

## 2 Answers

A solution using the same pattern (only 2 letters):

C A D E T
A A A
R A T E R
E E E
D A R E S

Each are words of the form _ A _ E _

Just for the fun, here is one with 7 distinct letters.

C A D E T
U   E   U
R O T O R
E   E   F
D I R T S

• I tried to find aaaea in a dictionary, but unsurprisingly, I was unable to do so. Can you explain how this answers the puzzle? – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:09
• @IanMacDonald How is aaaea relevant to this puzzle?? – Rohcana Aug 24 '15 at 12:11
• You have used it as one of the requested 6 5-letter English words. – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:18
• @IanMacDonald No, I haven't, Are you having formatting related problems??? – Rohcana Aug 24 '15 at 12:20
• Yes, apparently I have been presented with a different grid from you. My apologies. – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:24

One of the solutions. (Yes, there are multiple possible)

C A D E T
A E A
R O T O R
E E E
D A R E S

Although there were no constraints on the letters to be added, I chose to do it by replacing x only with vowels. So I managed to do it using only A, E and O.

• I tried to find aeoea in a dictionary, but unsurprisingly, I was unable to do so. Can you explain how this answers the puzzle? – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:10
• @IanMacDonald: The grid should have 6 valid English words. Which it does. Those letters need not be anagrammed into another meaningful word, going by the current wording of the question. – CodeNewbie Aug 24 '15 at 12:21
• Yes, I understand that I have apparently been presented a different grid from you due to formatting. My apologies. – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '15 at 12:23