Logic puzzles: “Spill It, Wordsmith”

As I mentioned here previously, I used to write logic puzzles for Dell Magazines. Between 2000 and 2005, several dozen of my creations hit the newsstands. And, occasionally, one will still surface as a reprint in a current issue.

This puzzle appeared in truncated form in the February 2002 edition. This is the original I submitted, and is one of my favorites. Give it a try, and drop me a line for the solution. (Note that the grid isn’t interactive, so you’ll have to print it out.)


Since the 1930s generations of mystery readers have relished the slam-bang action-packed rough-and-tumble chronicles of that hard-boiled gumshoe, Spats Hanrahan. Spats is a no-nonsense shamus with a sharp eye, a square jaw, and a soft spot for sob sisters and down-and-out palookas. In a series of potboiler novels (one was “One-Way Ticket to Trouble”), Spats got called into cases when the downtown coppers couldn’t find a different missing valuable (one was a solid bronze Studebaker). In each, he uncovered a different clue that the G-men had missed (one was a fingerprint in a bowl of tapioca pudding) and ended up cracking the case! Can you determine which of Spats’ novels features which missing property, and what clue he discovered to solve each mystery?

1. “I would never have caught you,” Spats barked at the culprit in “Flatfoot Beware!”, “except for the gum wrapper you left on the movie theater floor.”

2. In “The Milkman Never Brings Cheese” Spats recovered a secret miniaturized radio, shrunk down to the size of a briefcase!

3. “The doll couldn’t name the Lone Ranger’s horse,” Spats snapped at a reporter in “The Bimbleman Caper.” “So naturally I knew she had the Aztec toothbrush.”

4. In “The Case Of The Frightened Flapper” Spats noticed a poorly-folded road map on the floor of the wrongdoer’s car.

5. “I knew you had Herbert Hoover’s baby picture,” Spats smirked at an incredulous thief, “when I noticed there were no ice cubes in the lemonade.”

6. Spats didn’t seek the counterfeit ration books in “The Big Nap” or “Flatfoot Beware!”

7. “The cabbie wore mismatched socks,” Spats said to the museum curators as he handed them the Cufflinks of Tutankhamen. “That blew it wide open for me.”

8. “You pumped your own gas at the filling station!” Spats growled at the thief as he recovered the plans for the 1939 World’s Fair. “No respectable citizen does that.”

9. Spats didn’t seek Herbert Hoover’s baby picture in “The Big Nap.”

10. “I know you’ve got the Cufflinks of Tutankhamen,” Spats sneered in “The Burmese Chihuahua.” “Hand ’em over, you mug.”Flatfoot

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