You are here

National Park Week Quiz #7: Word Cube Brain Twister

Welcome to National Park Week Quiz #7! If you can satisfactorily complete this word cube exercise before 12:00 midnight EST today you will be eligible for Traveler’s National Park Week prize drawing and a chance to win a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for the national park of your choice.


(1) Draw a 3 x 3 grid on a sheet of paper as though you were going to play a game of tic-tac-toe.

(2) Print the letters K, E, and C in the three cells of the top row, then print S, R, and Y in the middle row and G, O, and F in the bottom row.

(3) Circle the R in the middle cell of your grid. You will need to keep that R in mind.

Definition of Terms

National park. A national park is a National Park System unit. There are currently 397 national parks.

Stem. A stem is the portion of a national park name that is not a category or type designation. For example, the stem of Grand Canyon National Park is Grand Canyon, the stem of Lake Mead National Recreation Area is Lake Mead, and the stem of Blue Ridge Parkway is Blue Ridge.

National park stem word. A national park stem word is any word that appears in the stem of a national park name. In the three examples provided above, the stem words are Grand, Canyon, Lake, Mead, Blue, and Ridge. National, Park, Recreation, Area, and Parkway are not national park stem words because none is part of a stem in these examples.

Grid letter. A grid letter is a letter occupying a cell of the 3 x 3 grid. The nine grid letters are K, E, C, S, R, Y, G, O, and F.

Middle letter. The middle letter is the letter in the center cell of the grid. Make sure that the middle letter in your grid is R.


Using just the grid letters, create 12 national park stem words.


(1) The middle letter (R) must be used at least once in every national park stem word that you create. A stem word that does not contain the letter R will be disqualified.

(2) Any grid letter, including the middle letter, may be used more than once when creating a stem word.

(3) A word you create from the grid must be an independent word in a national park stem. That is, the word cannot be part of a longer word.

Just 12 out of 15 is all you need

By following these rules it is possible to create 15 national park stem words drawn from the names of more than two dozen national parks (two of which have two qualifying stem words).

Answers and a list of readers who answered correctly will be posted in tomorrow's Traveler.

No cheating!

If we catch you Googling or engaged in other sneakery, we will make you write on the whiteboard 100 times:

The pencil-and-paper game known in the United States as tic-tac-toe, tick-tack-toe, tick-tat-toe, or tit-tat-toe, goes by other names in various parts of the world, such as naughts and crosses in Australia, X’s and O’s in Ireland, wick-wack-woe in China, and X-O in Mauritius.


Bob Janiskee:
Interesting stuff, y_p_w. Thanks for sharing. Landon Powell was fun to watch here at USC-East. Johnny Bench Award-winning catcher Jeremy Brown played for Alabama.

Must. Fully. Engage. Brain.

Somehow I knew I'd get my fat SEC catchers confused. Still - Landon Powell is apparently back in the minors.

BTW, there are just 15 possible stem words that you can create from this letter grid, not 17 as I originally stated.

I see that we had a couple of contenders who simply ran out of time before they could eke out the last few required items. It would have been a pleasure to welcome Ranger Paul and M.W. into the winners circle.

Eric Nelson has nailed it, and with almost two hours to spare. Gold Star Pass, don't forget to tip the Concierge.

For the record, RC, you made it into the winners circle clean. Hope you get that root canal pain behind you soon and get on with your life. Having had three root canals myself, I can sympathize.

Aw-right, s ; you're in! Pull up a chair and take a breather. You must be exhausted.

There's no M in that grid, Ranger Paul.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

Recent Forum Comments