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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the challenge of solving a problem concerning a linguistic form with knowledge, ingenuity, and a sense of beauty as guides. Word puzzles generally use letters as basic elements rather than sound units, most of them being presented in a written or some other visual form. So the question arises: what is the linguistic part of word puzzles? The written form of a word puzzle does not make it an orthographic game, because what is at stake is a person’s knowledge of words. This means that the domain of word puzzling is of interest to lexical semanticists, as it appears to shed light on how the notion of word is being used by native speakers of languages with different orthographic conventions for writing compounds. The huge difference between the English cryptic crossword (playing with forms) and its Dutch counterpart (playing with semantics) can be explained in these terms.

Keywords: orthographic word, flat, form, compound, internal space, association, synonymy, hyponymy, overlap, cryptogrammar, cryptotype

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