Sample Flats

Here are some examples of flats our monthly magazine, The ENIGMA. More examples of flats and other puzzles of the NPL can be found in our minisample. Move the cursor over the box after each flat or tap on them to view the solution.

March 1999

    ENIGMATIC REBUS (^3 ^5 ^7)


    What a terrible movie! A waste of my time!
    Bruce Willis can't act; his performance is leaden.
    To charge seven bucks for this schlock is a crime.
    For a movie with plot, you'd best skip ARMAGEDDON.

    Solution: Fifth Element

February 1999

    FALSE GERUND (4, ^3 ^4) (TWO = NI2)

    "After me, the flood" is how
    The TWO's great-grandson did avow
    The monarchy was ONE. (I glean
    That he foresaw the guillotine.)
    =Lunch Boy

    Solution: sunk, sunking

January 1999

    FALSE PAST TENSE (*1*1*1, 4) (BRING = not MW)

    I guess I have to call my BRING;
    It seems my Net connection's shot.
    I dial up, but get no ping—
    Instead, it's buzzing like a BROUGHT.
    =G Natural

    Solution: ISP, wasp

December 1998

    PHONETIC BEHEADMENT (*1. *4, 4) (NOEL = not MW)

    'Twas the night before Christmas, and boy was I screwed—
    I forgot to buy gifts for my bride and our brood.
    I hoped, as they nestled all snug in their beds,
    That sweaters and parkers revolved through their heads.
    So I called up the hotline and ordered a ton:
    "See right there in the catalog, page 21?
    Give me three cotton rollnecks, OH WELL—yes, in beige.
    And a couple red barn jackets, they're all the rage.
    Can you throw in a nice leather coat for my wife?
    And we'll get it tomorrow? Well, you've saved my life."
    And a voice in my head shouted out, clear and bright,
    "It's a good thing that NOEL can ship overnight!"
    =Mobot and Cazique

    Solution: J. Crew, ecru

November 1998


    "Religion 305:
    The Gospels and Their Meaning"
    Has made my mind go crazy
    And strained my neurilemma.

    This hermeneutics jive
    From my professor's overweening;
    It makes my thinking hazy—
    And therefore my dilemma:

    Matthew, Mark and Luke or John—
    Which three of them are FIRST? I'm puzzled.
    I can't get it straight and so
    My SECOND process is confuzzled.
    =G Natural

    Solution: synoptic, synaptic

October 1998

    REBUS (*3'1 9 4) (*3 = not MW)


    When the Wolfman said "Boo!" his friends weren't scared;
    Boris and Bela went right to his joint.
    Though his stick wasn't thick, it was happily shared
    (Not even a scruple, but nobody cared);
    The guys all partook of DO YOU SEE MY POINT.

    Solution: Lon's marijuana gram ['LONSMARIJU' anagram]

September 1998

    REBUS (5 3 *5'1) (*5 = not MW)


    I went to see a title bout,
    And took my Burmese to the fight.
    (She thinks Evander's quite a stud.)
    But that match was the famous night
    When Holyfield lost half an ear
    While he and Mike were butting heads.
    That thug! He's banned, but in my dreams
    My CAULIFLOWER ear to shreds.

    Solution: kitty bit Tyson's [K; itty-bitty S on S]

August 1998


    At the bar's a B
    Who's named Marie.
    She's heading to South Bend
    Where she'll attend
    The health-care workers' con.
    The flight she's on
    Is leaving rather soon
    At half past noon.

    Marie's afraid to fly,
    So she'll rely
    On alcoholic brew
    To get her through.
    She quickly downs three beers
    To quell her fears,
    Then slowly weaves her way
    Towards A A.

    Solution: concourse, nurse

July 1998


    Said the patient to the doctor: "We've got too many kids.
    We've got to put a stop to it or I'll be on the skids."
    Said the doctor to the patient: "I have just the cure.
    Orange juice will do the trick. Of that you can be sure."
    Said the patient to the doctor: "We'll get on it right away.
    Do we drink before or after? We'll do anything you say."
    Said the doctor to the patient: "No, you don't understand.
    B replaces A. That's how families are planned."

    Solution: coitus, citrus

June 1998


    "Take your slicker, your umbrella, rubbers, and a hat."
    I loved my mother dearly and would never tell her no.
    Her words are so OWLed in my head, it is no wonder that
    I'm waterproofed from head to foot although it isn't LOW.
    =Meki and Tyger

    Solution: ingrain, raining

May 1998

    LETTER BANK (*6, 2 2 2 3 2 2) (A PHRASE not MW)

    Oh shed a Tear for Branwell BANK, the literary Lad!
    He never won the sort of Fame his elder Sisters had.
    Some call the Poppy culpable, or hold the Grape to blame
    For Branwell's tragic early Death in Misery and Shame.
    I say the Villain was a more insidious Addiction:
    Not Opium nor Alcohol, but Melancholy Fiction.

    The Cords of Melodrama wrapped around his fevered Brain;
    They squeezed from it all Sense, and drove him Gothically insane.
    He gave his Soul entirely to picturesque Despair
    And prowled the local Moor at night, to sob and tear his Hair.
    "Oh, in this darksome, windswept World, what does my poor Life matter?"
    He struck a Pose, and cried "A PHRASE", and opted for the Latter.

    (His sisters died soon afterwards, but they won great repute,
    While he's a name for Jeopardy!, or Trivial Pursuit.)

    Solution: Bronte, to be or not to be

April 1998

    REBUS (15 24)

    The telephone rings.
    I answer it, then hang up.
    How I hate HAIKU.
    =Mr. Tex

    Solution: wrong numbers

March 1998

    PROGRESSIVE PADLOCK (3, 7, 9, 5)

    Another A scandal for President Bill—
    Can he B all that the C will report?
    Pardon the puns, but the penalty's LOCK
    If she can make the thing stand up in court.
    =Mr. Tex

    Solution: sex, explain, plaintiff, stiff

February 1998

    LETTER BANK (8 4, 11 6, 8 4 6, 10 11, 12 11)

    Doc Hotshot here, of Hotshot, Salk, and Livingston (an E).
    I had this strange adventure on my journey through the C:
    Upon the Amazon, my crude canoe of bark and skin
    Got stuck inside a whirlpool, which began to suck me in.
    "This is the end," I thought, "I should have spent the weekend golfin'."
    And just as I was blacking out, I swear I saw a dolphin
    Who took me in his arms, and fought against the mighty B.
    He pulled me to the shore and brought me back to life with D.
    "But doc, a dolphin hasn't any arms!" I hear you say?
    "You're right, of course," I answer back, "he must have used his A!"

    Solution: pectoral fins, centripetal forces, tropical rain forest, artificial respiration, professional corporation

January 1998

    TRANSPOSAL (13, 8 5) (8 5 not MW)

    The ONE ball is exquisite.
    The TWO tastes truly fine.
    Dignitaries dot the room,
    Blithely sipping wine.
    Eliza's in her finest,
    And though I've trained her well,
    I hope she doesn't burst out with
    "Well, don't that beat all hell!"
    Or spill the shredded coconut
    And orange down her dress.
    (My cleaning bills are high enough
    Without some sticky mess.)
    =Non Sequitur

    Solution: ambassadorial, ambrosia salad

December 1997

    (should be sung)

    I like Hoss
    Hop Sing, and his boss,
    Ben Cartwright!
    With the help of Little Joe
    And Adam, their show
    Was the best show on TV!
    And their theme was quite a scream
    The one time that they sang it.
    But before too long they made that song
    An instrumental, dang it!
    (I know you must be cringing,
    And I'm probably infringing
    Some copyright
    By stealing this tune,
    But I'm just compelled to croon
    About how I'm EAT for "^TEE"!)
    =Lunch Boy

    Solution: bonanza, bananas

November 1997


    For each game, McNab dresses up like a duck
    And gets the crowd laughing and cheering with glee.
    He sleeps with a tartan scarf (just for good luck).
    Yes, our SIX is a *FOUR with a FIVE in his THREE.

    Solution: mascot, ascot, Scot, cot"

October 1997

    (*4 not MW usage)

    "There are worse things ONE could do,"
    Someone thought, "than play the TWO
        Betty Rizzo in our show
        Go from Greece to Grease, y'know—
    Play the 'bad girl' for a few
    Weeks when 'Xena' filming's through."

    So on Broadway you can see
    Svelte ONE Lawless wear, in THREE
        Of bronze armor, spandex pants—
        And she can sing, and she can dance!
    (A fact I'll bet you never knew.)
    And the ticket-office queue
    Stretches down to South Peru.
    =Tyger and Ucaoimhu

    Solution: Lucy, loose, lieu

September 1997

    TRANSPOSAL (7, *1.*1. *5)

    The Waste Land is the cruelest poem, sending
    English majors on a never-ending
    Quest through reference shelves to figure out
    What the bloody thing is all about.
    For instance: where's the Starnbergersee, what's "datta",
    Who's Tiresias, and what's "damyata"?
    There's bits in German, Latin, Sanskrit, Greek—
    How many languages could old POST speak?
    It's no small feat (and, by the way, that's ANTE)
    To understand it. Shantih Shantih Shantih.

    Solution: litotes, T.S. Eliot

August 1997

    CONSONANTCY (6, *4 *7) (*4 *7 not MW)

    The NAACP
    Held a function in D.C.
    For VIPs to have a chance to SHORT.
    Honored at the bash:
    Thurgood Marshall, Arthur Ashe—
    Two pioneering black men on the court.
    Jesse Jackson said a prayer
    Over Dennis Rodman's hair,
    Colin Powell mostly stayed off to the Right.
    Bill Cosby told some jokes,
    Clarence Thomas poured the Cokes,
    Mike Tyson stopped by briefly for a bite.
    In this corner, Larry Holmes!
    At the lectern, reading poems
    Were Ali, Nipsey Russell, and Ms. TALL.
    Tiger Woods of course was there
    For a true Black-Thai affair.
    (Eddie Murphy slipped out early with RuPaul.)
    =Mr. Tex

    Solution: mingle, Maya Angelou