# Can anyone solve this puzzle (Canals of Mars, word puzzle)

There’s this puzzle on Futility Closet where you have to trace out words on a map. The author provides no solution. Can you find any?

The author does provide the solution. Read closely. Look at the puzzle.

Hint: Read only if you want a clue that is going to completely give away the puzzle:

Note the author does not say that the fifty thousand readers were wrong.

This blew!

I see you took the same path I initially did.

To solve without the hint given:

1. Note that the A has only two paths to it. Since the solution path must continuously pass through the A, that means the solution must contain …WAY… or …YAW…
2. The beginning T has only two paths, meaning that either the solution must start TYAW… or it must start TH… and end …WAY. The latter is far more likely.
3. The rightmost I has three paths, one of which is to the Y. Since the Y is the last letter, that path can’t be used. Thus the solution must contain …BIS… or …SIB…
4. The rightmost S can’t connect to the B, so it must connect to the upper S; thus we have either …BISS… or …SSIB…
5. The upper center E has three paths, one of which connects to the W. This must be unused, so we have either …REI… or …IER…
6. Switching to the beginning, the first three letters must be THO…, THI…, or THE… The first is unlikely, as that would lead to THOP… or THON…, both unusual.
7. If the beginning is not THO…, then the O must connect to the N and P, giving …NOP… or …PON…
8. Combining 5 and 6, the beginning must be either THIERE… or THEREI… The first is a dead end, so the beginning must be THEREI…
9. Continuing, THEREIEL… is a dead end, so that can’t be right. After that, there’s only one path left, so it must be THEREISNOPOSSIBLEWAY

Another way to solve this puzzle:

It’s an old puzzle, since it was created by Sam Loyd, one of the classic puzzle creators. It’s from a puzzle book of his first published in 1914 called Cyclopedia of Puzzles. The person who posted it to Futility Closet probably copied it from the 1959 anthology of Loyd’s puzzles called Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd that’s edited by Martin Gardner. In any case, you can find the puzzle and the solution just by Googling on “Sam Loyd” and “Canals of Mars”.

Moved, via canal, from Cafe Society to the Game Room.