Cartoon Theories of Linguistics—Part IV—Statistical Machine Translation—Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. SpecGram Vol CLII, No 4 Contents
Text Tricks


Trey Jones
l’École de SpecGram, Tokyo

Finally we’ve come to the endor at least the end of the beginning. SpecGram is pleased to present the last new type of puzzle in our seemingly endless series of Linguistically-Themed Pseudo-Nihonese Puzzles. Last to debut is HomonimoKakuro, a linguisticky variant of the trendy Japanese logic puzzle Kakuro.

HomonimoKakuro gives a little twist to the usually arithmetical Kakuro form. For each numbered entry in the puzzle (above the diagonal for across, below the diagonal for down), there is a corresponding cluea pronunciation given in IPA. For each clue, you must determine which letters from the word corresponding to the pronunciation given go in which boxes to satisfy the requirements of both the vertical and horizontal cluesletters need not be in any particular order for a given word, but all the letters must be used. To make things more complicated (and more Kakuroesque), there are many homonyms in the list, so you must also determine which homonym to use from those available. Sometimes the number of letters will help you choose the correct homonym, but usually notlife is harsh that way.

/hæt/     17 /ɪz/     33 /mjuz/
/ɹo/ 18 /aɪdl/ 34 /sɚf/
/steɪɹ/ 19 /beɪst/ 35 /or/
/θɹon/ 20 /jo/ 36 /gæl/
/ɹidz/ 21 /æd/ 37 /maɹki/
/liwɚd/ 22 /læd/ 38 /tɛd/
/boɹ/ 23 /aɹk/ 39 /ðə/
/ɹo/ 24 /li/ 40 /fɚ/
/maɹʃəl/ 25 /o/ 41 /koɪ/
10 /lo/ 26 /leɪ/ 42 /nu/
11 /wɔɹn/ 27 /mɪns/ 43 /soɹɾɪd/
12 /geɪl/ 28 /kwaʃ/ 44 /si/
13 /ɔltɚ/ 29 /lak/ 45 /əfɛkt/
14 /goɹd/ 30 /hi/ 46 /eɪl/
15 /wɚst/ 31 /du/ 47 /rumi/
16 /hoɹd/ 32 /mokə/


Pronunciations are normal spoken Standard American English forms (not citation forms), so there are schwas, taps, and so on, increasing the ambiguity of each clue. For example, /fɚ/ could easily be fur, but could also be for.

If you have what it takes to complete HomonimoKakuro, email your solution to SpecGram. If not, you should feel ashamed, unless you are not a native speaker of American English, then you are off the hook, unless you didn’t even try. At least one random winner chosen from among those who send in correctly completed puzzles by August 15th, 2007 will be awarded a SpecGram magnet.

A solution

Solution to the FonoNurikabe
Puzzle from last time.
(possibly even the correct one) and the name of the prize winners (if any) will appear in the upcoming September issue.

Speaking of solutions and winners, something resembling the solution to the FonoNurikabe puzzle from the last issue is at right. It is close enough to the correct solution that these three fine folks were all able to come up with the exact same solution with minimal prodding:

Each will receive a SpecGram magnet of their choosing.

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics—Part IV—Statistical Machine Translation—Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D.
SpecGram Vol CLII, No 4 Contents