Hidden Word Squares
A Fiendishly Difficult Word Game
Hidden Word Squares
The origins of many word games are hidden in the mists of history: nobody can tell who invented them. However, we know that the game of Hidden Word Squares was devised by Hubert Phillips, author of numerous puzzle books.
Readers are presented with a short piece of nonsense verse. A word is hidden in each line of the poem. If these words are found and placed in order, they make up a word square (in which the words ‘across’ are the same as the words ‘down’).
The example is borrowed from Hubert Phillips himself.
What gives a cynic ample food for thought?
To have repeated when the tempest howls,
This doom eternal, which descends unsought;
You can’t stop Reynard’s slaughter of your fowls.
The first line conceals the word camp (in ‘cynic ample’); the second line conceals the word aver (in ‘have repeated’); and so on. The hidden words make the following word square:
1. Marianne stood on the train,
Wringing her hands with glee:
Soon she would arrive in town,
A go-go dancer she would be.
2. The moon shone on the village inn,
But no pal could Nellie see.
She climbed upon a nag so fair:
A novel setting for a love story.
3. Getting rid of visitors is not easy,
Especially when they come as a surprise.
I sleep uneasily, fearing their arrival,
Thus I’m made edgy, with bleary eyes.
4. Why call an elephant Jumbo?
Are all the elephants fat?
Most have an ear that is floppy,
But none the less dear, so that’s that!
5. Now orders should always be heeded,
It’s no very hard task, I would say.
If traffic lights are red or green,
Only bad ropy drivers will disobey.
6. Writing verses (O men!) is quite simple,
And poets are not mad, every one.
You will like it once you have tried it,
And sonnets are easily done.
7. The skipper at sea gave the order:
A butter pat for all of the crews.
The butter tub at last became empty,
So margarine was the best able-seaman could use.
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