This word association riddle is inspired by the popular Word Association games like Chain Reaction.

Here though is a GRID of words, in 3 columns (1 to 3) and 5 rows (4 to 8). Words in columns are connected to the previous column word (column 2 words are associated with column 1 words in the same row and column 3 words are associated with column 2 words in the same row). Similarly row 2 words are associated with the row 1 words in the same column, row 3 words are associated in the row 2 words in the same column and so on. So the word grid has a horizontal -> and vertical downward association.

The 2 associated words can be 2 separate words or can be combined for 1 word. For example, the 2 words can be First and Born which results into First-born.

The words in column 1 start with those letters.

The words in column 2 end with those letters.

The words in column 3 alternatively end and start with those letters.

These are not complicated words so to make it challenging I have not disclosed any starting or ending words.

enter image description here

One clue: The last word (row 8 column 3) is a 4 letter word which can also be connected to the first word in column 1 row 4. Please let me know if more info is needed.


First word (1,4) is indeed Good

Last word in the same column is Drugs

  • $\begingroup$ Is the only valid kind of association the sort where you can put the two words together to make either another word or a "standard" phrase? (As opposed to, synonymy or rhyming or being anagrams or whatever.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 27 '17 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming the answer to the question I asked above is yes, are the pairs always the right way around? E.g., is it definitely g____ n____ that's a thing rather than n____ g____ ? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 27 '17 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ Like I said First and Born can be the associated words but you can also have commonly heard phrases like Born Free and 2 words going together like Banana Split. $\endgroup$ – DrD Apr 27 '17 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yup. So, always a phrase or single word. And do they have to be the right way around? (I have plausible conjectures for part of the grid that do have them always the right way around, so I guess the answer is yes. Not that I'm in any way confident about any of those conjectures.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 27 '17 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ There isn't a no-computers tag; how do you feel about things like searching wordlists for words of the form "first<any letters>n"? In the absence of other opinions I'm going to assume it's better not to do that :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 27 '17 at 17:34

Going off of @Sconibulus' answer, with additional feedback from @Sensoray and the hint from above (thanks everyone!!) I think it might be

Good   Day     Dream
Night  Light   House
Game   Show    Boat
On     Time    Travel
Drugs  Testing Plan

Are any of these correct/which words are deficient?

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  • $\begingroup$ Most of them El-Guest, What else goes with Travel that ends in a n? So my answer only differs from yours at (2,8) and (3,8) $\endgroup$ – DrD Aug 23 '18 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Is Sconibulus' (3,8) correct? I like their fit better than mine, @DEEM $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 23 '18 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes it is but not 2,8 $\endgroup$ – DrD Aug 23 '18 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @DEEM Based on your comments below and above I have revised my answer. I'm okay with time testing largely because of this and with testing plan as you've mentioned below because of this. Were these two things what you were thinking of? $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 24 '18 at 12:17

Partial answer

I don't have time to finish this, but feel free to use any of it in your own answer:

Good   ???   Farm?
Night   Light   House
Guard Snow Cat
Old     Pine   Tree
Dog    Tag   ???

Some of these are backwards (that is, should be read bottom-to-top or right-to-left):

Old Guard and Snow Guard

In addition, some of the more obscure connections:

Old Guard - old US army regiment
Cat Tree - one of those structures for house cats to sleep in
Pine Tag - term for dried pine needles
Old Pine - song by Ben Howard

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  • $\begingroup$ Good day, day light and dream house fits $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Apr 27 '17 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Day dream as well $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Apr 27 '17 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ Some but not all of that matches with the partial grid I've been fiddling with... $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 27 '17 at 19:46

I am probably way of, just thought it would be fun if

this "Word association GRID" started with the word grid

EDIT: Removed minispoiler

Grid | Electricty | Steam
Network | Heat | Humid
Graph | Flow | Sweat
Orthogonal | Commute | Transport
Direction | Outgoing | Span

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello! Welcome to the Puzzling Stack Exchange (Puzzling.SE). Nice answer, but unfortunately, the hint does not agree... though this can serve an alternative! Since you are new, I strongly suggest you visit the Help Center and check out these three sections: Asking (e.g. here), Answering (not fully necessary, as I see you already know enough on how to construct a sufficient answer) and Our model (e.g. here). Glad you joined! Happy puzzling :D $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Aug 23 '18 at 13:26

Since there are no rules other than 'words next to each other must create a phrase or a compound word' I feel like there are hundreds of possibilities that could fit, unless I'm missing something like "no adjectives" or "no really random and obscure references like the name of a book". To add difficulty I continued the trend across columns, so row1col3 wraps to row1col1. No repetition and no word-reversal (pie house vs. house pie) with the exception of the required word-reversal linking the beginning and end. Here's my take on it with some re-used words from other comments & answers.

Good       day     dream 
Night      light   House
Ghost      show    talent
Obsessed   love    Tap
Dog        tag     town

The phrases / words (linked to their meaning/relevance):

good-day, daydream, dream night
night-light, lighthouse, house ghost
ghost show, show talent, talent-obsessed
obsessed love, love tap, tap-dog
dogtag, tagtown, good town

With the only required and reversed wrap-around giving you:

good town

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    $\begingroup$ I think you missed a requirement, it says the words have to be associated vertically as well. "Similarly row 2 words are associated with the row 1 words in the same column" $\endgroup$ – Sensoray Aug 23 '18 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ I knew I was missing something! Thank you :) @Sensoray $\endgroup$ – iiiidk Aug 23 '18 at 16:46

Here's my best guess so far, I don't love the last word in column 2, but everything else seems somewhat solid.

Good  Day     Dream
Night Light   House
Game  Show    Boat
One   Time    Travel
Dog   Swing   Plan

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    $\begingroup$ I think yours is really good. Perhaps rot13(tnzr ba & ba gvzr, vafgrnq bs bar) $\endgroup$ – Sensoray Aug 23 '18 at 13:56

As you all but accepted El-Guest's answer, is it:

Good, Day, Dream
Night, Light, House
Game, Show, Boat
Outer, Space, Travel
Drugs, Ring, Man

But then again I can't count! Or read!

So, using the up-down rule, and the error is with ring, is it:

Good, Day, Dream
Night, Light, House
Game, Show, Boat
On, Time, Travel
Drugs, Big, Plan

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah dang I had the same idea for the first two lines... eh well, (+1) :D (to which I am surprised I didn't see @El-Guest's answer before...)) before).. however, it is very similar to @Sconibulus' answer... $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Aug 24 '18 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ @JonMark Perry Wouldn't Drugs Testing and Testing Plan work better? $\endgroup$ – DrD Aug 24 '18 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @DEEM; well it's your question, you tell me! I don't see Time Testing as a well-known phrase, or Testing Plan for that matter. Test might have worked, but it ends in T. $\endgroup$ – JMP Aug 24 '18 at 9:08

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