The Horseshoe Letter (#41 and Variety Edition #1)


Hello Chris Words fans all across the country and around the world! I’m going back to USC this week, but I was already supposed to be there. My internship this summer ran had to run a little long, but I needed to be in USC so that I could receive training to be an RA (now my third year). Since I couldn’t be there, I left something there so that my coworkers could feel my presence.

As some of you may know, I am the creator of the USC Puzzle Hunt, which I believe is the second-longest currently-continuous collegiate puzzle hunt in the United States. I write crosswords, but I also make a bunch of other kinds of puzzles. And, thanks to a suggestion made by Sam Ezersky at the Indie 500, I thought I’d let you guys play along too.

For any of you unfamiliar with this type of meta challenge, I direct you to Panda Magazine, which is a both a great magazine and a great resource for puzzle people.

Besides a link to a Buzzword Bingo game I created for RA training, I also left this exact email.

As you know, this year is about CHANGE. For Honors, the biggest change is that the Horseshoe will be joining us as a staff this year. However, they are kind of worried about what they can do adapt to being a true pair with Honors. In an effort to learn, they are now ignoring the 11 buildings of their own, and are going to study 11 resident halls around campus.

You can find “The Horseshoe Letter” with all of their findings here:

Each building has one specific word that can be taken away as a lesson. That word is the answer. You can use the answer checker on the website to see if you are right. At some point, you must put those answers together in some fashion using wordplay to answer the question “As RMs, what can we provide for them?”

All the puzzles are easy to moderate, and there 11 of them! And there are 11 of you on campus right now! Instead of spending every hour in the resource room, take a break and hang out with each other. This is what this challenge was designed to do.

So, I have given you the same challenge. The Historic Horseshoe is worried, and they need you to tell them what they have to provide.

When I write the USC Puzzle Hunt, there are always several puzzles that include strict USC knowledge. However, this variety edition does not include things that only a USC student would know. Most involve standard wordplay and trivia.

I haven’t received any errata so far, but if there is some detrimental errata found in the packet, then I will post said errata on this page.

Errata: Some spelling mistakes that you should know
-South Tower = “Inquirers” should be replaced with “Inquires”
-650 Lincoln = “Duffle” should be “Duffel”, and “Seperation” should be “Separation”
-The Roost = “Cape” should be “Caped”

How about I give you three weeks to work on it? So, by August 29th, send me the answer to the question. Please send all email to cking.gow(at)

Also, feel free to work in a group! Let’s say that you can only play in a group of up to 3 people. This way, you can use all of your collective knowledge to solve this puzzle.

I’ll announce the first five teams/players who send in a correct final answer, and I’ll announce all of the teams/players that send us the correct answers for the 11 smaller puzzles. I want you to be recognized for your effort!

Thanks everyone, and there will be just one puzzle posted next week.


Also, congrats to Francis Heaney for winning LPZ8! Also, big congrats to Trip Payne and Erik Agard for rounding out the medals platform. Geez, that’s three titans of the industry if I’ve ever seen it.


7 thoughts on “The Horseshoe Letter (#41 and Variety Edition #1)

  1. […] Also, I previewed my newest Variety Edition (a mini puzzle hunt similar to P&A Magazine), which was supposed to come out today. The meta coming out today is the one why you’re here, but I am releasing Variety Edition #2 this Sunday at my usual timeslot, and it’s going to be jam packed. Feel free to check out the first Variety Edition here. […]


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