What's That Flat?


Two or more words or phrases are interlocked to form a longer one; unlike the ALTERNADE, the parts aren’t combined in a regular pattern. Example: fig + rebus firebugs . The part whose first letter appears first in the longer word (fig in the example) is called ONE, and the other parts are numbered in the order their first letters appear.


ONE, gee whiz!
A nasty night it is.
Rain pelts down.
The tavern’s two blocks down.
Shucks, why not?
Some TWO would hit the spot.
Muddy street.
I’ll put on my COMPLETE.

=Corn Cob

The solution: COMPLETE = galoshes, ONE = gosh, TWO = ales.

All words in an interlock must in fact interlock. None may appear unbroken, as urn does in tome + urn + ant tournament ; this is not an acceptable base.

In a reversed interlock, after interlocking the parts, you reverse the result. The parts are numbered in the order that their first letters appear in the unreversed result. Example: ONE = late, TWO = circle, ALL = electrical.

Even with easy words in the base, the interlock can be difficult to solve because the letters can be ordered in so many ways. In kindness to solvers, composers should be sure interlock parts are especially well clued.

The interlock was proposed as early as June 1945, but it caught on when Brutus introduced it in April 1977.