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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.


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.

M.W.: Per the instructions, please submit a list consisting of 12 different national park stem words. Your list has just 10 and includes a zinger.

BTW, Chimney Rock National Historic Site is not a National Park System property. Heck, it isn't even an Affiliated Area. But it is listed in the National Park Service's Find A Park list. Hmmmmm.

Ranger Paul, you are homing in on it, but your list still needs some work. Grove and Moores are not eligible. There's still time to fix it.

Bob Janiskee:
Yes, indeedy, Ken. Thanks. The Gamecocks got exactly one hit in that game, and it was a first-pitch home run off an unfortunate reliever.

I have some experience watching a few Gamecocks wearing a MLB uniform. Landon Powell caught Dallas Braden's perfect game a couple of years ago. I was listening on and off on the radio, and it seemed interesting until I checked an online box score and realized what was going down. Then I flipped on the TV and couldn't find the station (it was a recent split into two Comcast Sports channels and I wasn't sure of the channel) but figured ESPN would cut into their broadcasts for a potential perfect game. Pretty good looking swing, even with a pink bat.

And yeah - he's a pretty big dude.

However, Jeremy Brown turned out to be a dud. What is it with South Carolina and fat catchers?

I'm still wondering what the other stem words are.

Nicely done, jchappell740 and deskbound parky. Gold Star pass, full privileges.

Yes, indeedy, Ken. Thanks. The Gamecocks got exactly one hit in that game, and it was a first-pitch home run off an unfortunate reliever.

I see the Gamecocks came through. I hope your mood has improved with that score.

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