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Update: This puzzle is NOT UNIQUELY SOLVABLE. I meant it to be. Red face. (Nick Rice, 17 Oct.)

I live in Britain's smallest historic county - Clackmannanshire, in Scotland.

It is often referred to locally as the "The Wee County."

"The Wee County" appears in this puzzle I created, but the idea is to work out where the letters fit into the partially completed circular sequence (ignore case for this one!) and hence make the joins (thick pencil right over the characters looks best) to reveal what the locals think of the place.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ What you say "no set of joined characters is more than 2 wide or 3 tall", does that mean that an entire connected set doesn't exceed that size, or that any straight line of joins can't be 2 wide or 3 tall? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Oct 16 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Entire connected set. Good question - I need to iron out ambiguities. $\endgroup$ – Nick Rice Oct 16 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Let this be a warning to me. This puzzle DOES NOT HAVE A UNIQUE SOLUTION. In my rush to post it before bed I was lax in checking it. Also complacent. I didn't even run it through my own checking script. I hope my lesson has been learnt - the future will tell. Thanks to @Deusovi and other commenters for pointing this out. All I can say is sorry. $\endgroup$ – Nick Rice Oct 17 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ Tried it. Found the 3 vertical and 2 horizontal difficult to get my head round: a uniform rule of 2 or 3 would be easier. Missed the thing about diagonals, and couldn't make any progress. Spotted in an answer about diagonals, so I went back and applied diagonals, and found a diagonal line going all the way from the bottom to the top. Looked at the answer again, and found that diagonals hadn't been applied to same letters. Checked in the question, and found diagonals are only for rule 2 and not rule 1. Gave up as too complicated! $\endgroup$ – AndyT Oct 17 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyT Any suggestion on how to word the rules to make it clearer? There are only two rules for the way connections work (except for dots being exempt, but there are no dots here) and apart from the treatment of diagonals they are identical. $\endgroup$ – Nick Rice Oct 17 at 12:50
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The missing letters are T, H, U, N, and Y.

Determining the first letter:

H cannot be next to W, from the top right.
H cannot be next to C, from the C near the middle: it would need to be connected to both adjacent Hs, making a set that's too large.
H cannot be next to *, from the top middle.
So H must go on the far right of the circle.

enter image description here

Determining a second letter:

U and Y cannot go in the bottom-right question mark (between H and *), or they would give a set that's too tall in the rightmost two columns. T cannot go there either or it would join the top-middle and top-right groups. So that letter must be N. enter image description here

And a third:

T cannot go in between C and E, because it would make the top right group too big.
T-Y-C makes the leftmost group too tall; W-T-U-C makes the top middle group too tall. So T must go left of C.
enter image description here

And a... problem:

I may be missing something, but the puzzle appears to be ambiguous. U and Y can be flipped and both will lead to a solution.

enter image description here
enter image description here
It's pretty clear that the second is the intended solution, giving what the locals think of the place: they love it!

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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, if you're missing something then I'm missing the same thing, because I got the same result as you. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 17 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ The setter probably meant no two lines intersect, or maybe the locals all talk gibberish! $\endgroup$ – JMP Oct 17 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ What can I say? Good to get a dose of humble pie / embarrassment. I can't let this happen again! Have put comment at top for any future readers, and have upvoted the comments pointing out my error. $\endgroup$ – Nick Rice Oct 17 at 8:48

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