I’ve just invented a new(ish) word game I’m calling Ratagrams. The name comes from my American Cryptogram Association (ACA) nom de plume and geocaching name THE RAT. It is in simplest form just anagramming, but with some rules. If it catches on, I’ll keep it going. It’s impossible for me to judge the difficulty of these Ratagrams since I created them and know the answers, so I’m hoping you will give them a try and give me feedback via comment or use the contact form linked on the top menu. A Ratagram consists of a common phrase or sentence (the answer/plaintext) that is anagrammed into  another phrase (the puzzle/ciphertext). First, the puzzles, then the rules.

The Puzzles

  1. A streamer of wall
  2. Intent no buy mouthy
  3. Age shortens what to three

[Edit] Someone sent me a link to an anagram site that solves these three because it has the plaintexts in its database. I have since found some suitable familiar phrases that are not found or solved on that site. Thank you to those who solved them and gave me feedback on the difficulty level.

The Rules

  1. The answer must be a familiar recognizable English language phrase or sentence
  2. Word lengths and divisions are kept (i.e., the puzzle has the same “shape” as the answer)
  3. Except for 1-letter words, none of the words in the answer may appear in the puzzle
  4. No foreign words, abbreviations, acronyms, or swear words are allowed. Personal or product names may be allowed if the Ratagram is identified as having a proper noun.
  5. Punctuation and capitalization are removed

For example, if the puzzle is “Band partners angels” the answer is “Star Spangled Banner.” Note that the words of the puzzle are of length 4, 8, 6, the same as the answer in compliance with Rule 2. I’ve written a program that solves all three of these, so I know these are solvable, but it’s having trouble with some longer ones, so I am not showing those for now. I may institute a rule about the maximum length if I get enough feedback. I fully expect you to use resources available out there on the web or elsewhere such as anagramming sites or programs. There is no such thing as cheating. Just bear in mind that you must get the correct answer, not just create another anagram from the letters. Place names are permitted, but only very widely known ones like America or England. Common contractions are allowed like “I’m” but the apostrophe will not be visible. Personal names that are also common words are permissible, like Mark Twain or Bob Dole. Rules 1 – 4 are intended to help the solver.

Suitable Ratagrams would be titles of well-known books/movies/songs, maxims, quotations, etc. The important thing is that the answer be recognizable by the general public. The title to your favorite zombie movie or romance novel is not suitable unless it also happens to be a common phrase. If you enjoy solving these, please send me Ratagrams of your own. If I can solve them, I’ll publish them in a future post. I review all comments before they are published, but I will allow people to post their answers, so if you want to avoid spoilers, don’t read the comments. I will link to this post on Facebook and Google+ and can’t prevent spoilers there.

3 thoughts on “Ratagrams

  1. Dennis Andison

    All thre quickly solved (about 30 seconds) with an online Anagram solver.
    I don’t see the addition ones you posted, have you removed them?
    I enjoyed reading your books. 😎

  2. Russ Post author

    Dennis, I’m glad you enjoy the books. I found that the site http://anagram-solver.net/ has all three in its database, so all you need to do to solve them is cut and paste. I did have two more posted for a while, but I removed them because I decided to submit them as part of an article to the ACA (American Cryptogram Association) magazine and didn’t want them published elsewhere. I didn’t go back to the Facebook posts where I mentioned them. I don’t want to repost them publicly here, but I’ll send them to you in a separate email and you can give them a try. They are not solved at that site.

  3. Dennis Andison

    Thanks, Russ, for your prompt rely & thanks also for taking the time to do so.
    I look forward to receiving the other two rats grams.

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