A word or phrase becomes another when its last letter is changed (or “switched”) and the remaining letters are reversed (“turned back”). For example: ONE = autumn, TWO = mutual.

The Robbing Epéeist has struck once again!
Crying “TWO!” he knocked over the joint.
He knows he’ll elude the cops’ ONE -- as he’s said,
“I will foil them!” He has a good point.

The solution: ONE = dragnet, TWO = en garde.

In the switchback, a word or phrase becomes another when its first letter is changed, or switched, and the remaining letters are reversed, or turned back. For example: ONE = hydra, TWO = tardy.

WILLz introduced the switchback and backswitch, based on an Italian puzzle type, at the 1980 convention.


Each of the answer words or phrases is related to a member of a well-known group in the manner of a specified flat type. The original example by ΧΕΙΡΩΝ is a transaddition group (6, 5, 6, 6): kobold, pilot, ersatz, swathe, based on blood, toil, tears, sweat (from the Churchill speech). Kobold is a “transaddition,” a transposal with a letter added, of blood; pilot is a transaddition of toil; and so on.

Tagging for group members need not be as detailed as for the answers (for example, “some group members are not MW usage”). If the group members normally occur in a specific order, as in the example above, the answers should preferably follow that order.

Other possibilities include the transdeletion group (shot, troops, Masai: transdeletions of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the Three Musketeers), the consonantcy group, and the reversed consonantcy group (dory, thaw, alibi: reversed consonantcies of red, white, and blue). The homonym group already exists under the name homoconcominym.

You needn’t include the group words on your solution list (in the example above, you need send only “kobold, pilot, ersatz, swathe”); in fact, it’s possible to solve all the parts of a group flat without ever realizing what the group is.

Some composers add veiled clues to the group (for example, a flat built on Curly, Larry, and Moe might include the word stooges); this is not required, and in some cases would make the flats too easy.

I went to A my hunger
With a steaming bowl of B --
A sudden C escaped my lips:
I’d stepped upon a D.

The solution: sate, stew, shout, thorn, transposals of east, west, south, north.

The transaddition group was invented by ΧΕΙΡΩΝ and introduced in January 1995. Other composers added other flat groups in the ensuing months.


The individual letters in a word or phrase are numbered consecutively, and other words or phrases are composed by pronouncing the letters individually or in combinations. For example: TOTAL = vacations, 9-4 = essay (S-A), 6-1 = ivy (I-V), 2-5 = eighty (A-T), 8-1 = envy (N-V), 6-3 = icy (I-C), 7 = owe (O). The cuewords are the strings of numbers, and the verse rhymes and scans with the numbers read out in full, as illustrated here:

The giddy couple sit and drink down by the River *4
Until his speech has blurred a bit; her vision, even more.
“6, bless my soul, it’s 3 5!” “2?” he mutters, like a snore.
“Well, naught care I if 3 1 -- both will fancy what’s in store.”
Their conversation starts and stops; some WORD and then a snort;
She urges him to WORD; alas, the tipsy deed is short.
“Oh, aye, ‘tis truth that whisky makes the inhibitions sleep,
But what’s the use if so does he, and makes a poor girl weep?”

The solution: bawdry (*4 = Dee, 6 = why, 3 5 = double you are, 2 = eh, 3 1 = double you be).

Each letter in TOTAL must be used in at least one shorter part, and it may be used in more than one. Parts like 6-6 for aye-aye (from the solution vacations) that use a number more than once are allowable. The whole solution must be an MW word or phrase, but the parts may be non-MW phrases.


From a longer word, every sequence of two or more adjacent letters in consecutive alphabetical order is removed to form a shorter word. Example: ONE = defenders, TWO = en. In a redro takeout, sequences in reverse alphabetical order are removed. Example: ONE = debuted, TWO = deb or ONE = opponents, TWO = open.

MTV is not for me;
It’s the ABE thing on TV.
Yes, I’d say math is more for me --
Playing round with e and E.

The solution: ABE = stupidest, E = pi

The collar was certain, the plans were complete;
He’d promised the snow for that night.
But what do you do when the heat get cold feet?
We ended up HEAVY the LIGHT.
=Loki-5 and Mangie

The solution: HEAVY = postponing, LIGHT = sting

This page was last updated on Friday, June 10, 2016. /webmaster