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Cryptic Connections 

Jim Rader's word puzzles keep us guessing

Bernie Sanders

Published December 19, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.

It was around this time last year that Jim Rader — a former Burlington city clerk and constituent advocate in Bernie Sanders’ congressional office — unveiled the word puzzle he had invented 40 years earlier: the Quip-Find. His book Never Play Leap Frog With a Unicorn: The Quip-Find Book of Advice introduced puzzle lovers to his obsession: hiding a quip, or famous saying, in a letter-filled diagram paired with a traditional cryptogram. Puzzlers use the diagram to decode the cryptogram.

Happily for puzzle people, there’s a lot more where that came from. In his second book, When Eating an Elephant: The 2nd Quip-Find Puzzle Book of Advice, Rader offers 100 new, witty and brain-boggling Quip-Finds. He has improved the puzzle’s design in this book, switching out the cryptogram’s blank lines for tile-like squares, and revised the instructions to make them easier to digest — all in response to criticism he’s received since the first book came out. “We’ve got a few fans out there,” Rader says.

Quip-Finds are certainly a challenge — this puzzle lover has sweated anxiously over them — but, with a little practice, they pay off. As Rader writes in the new book, “The best advice is both weighty and witty. And you have to search for it.”

Here are two Quip-Find puzzles, plus instructions to get you started. Answers are at the bottom of this page.

"When Eating an Elephant: The 2nd Quip-Find Puzzle Book of Advice" by Jim Rader, CreateSpace, 162 pages. $9.95. Rader posts a new puzzle every day at


Find the familiar saying hidden in the diagram. It is spelled out in the cryptogram below, where a different number represents each letter. The saying is also spelled out in the diagram as one continuous thread, linking letters that are adjacent either side to side or corner to corner (think Boggle). Doubling back to letters already used is permitted.

Start by guessing a word that fits in the cryptogram and can be spelled out in the diagram. Then work back and forth between the cryptogram and diagram to fill in the gaps and find the saying.

Click here to see a larger version.

Scroll down to find out the answers.












1. Never trust anyone over thirty. [Jack Weinberger]

2. Happy Holidays from Seven Days

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About The Author

Megan James

Megan James

Megan James began writing for Seven Days in 2010, first as Associate Arts Editor. She later became an editor for Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, and is currently a freelance contributor.


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