What's That Flat?

Letter bank

A word or phrase (the “bank”) is chosen that has no repeated letters. One or more longer words or phrases are formed, each using all the letters in the bank at least once and as many more times as needed. At least one word must be three or more letters longer than the bank. Examples: lens, senselessness; and law, Walla Walla. The bank can produce a number of longer words or phrases. Examples: larch pines, pencil sharpener, Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin; and manicures, Neiman Marcus, American sumac, marine insurance.

Not surprisingly, it’s harder to make long words and phrases from a bank than short ones. For example, you can make several six-letter words from field, including fiddle, filled, and defile, but only one twelve-letter word, fiddledeedee, and no longer words at all. The longer words produce a more interesting puzzle; as long as you have one word that’s three (or more) letters longer, it’s all right to add very well clued shorter ones.

The letter bank was invented by WILLz, who introduced it at the 1980 convention.

In a letter bank with interest, some or all of the long words are paired with “interest” words made from the “excesses,” over the bank, of the longer words. Example: stale; Seattle, ET; tasteless, sets; lattes, T. The bank is “stale”; the long word “Seattle” is paired with “ET”, since those are its letters minus the bank; the long word “tasteless” is paired with “sets”; and the long word “lattes” is paired with “T.” Another example: magnet; magnate, a; management, mean.

In a bank loan, one word, the “bank,” has no repeated letters. The remaining word(s) contain any or all of those letters, as frequently as needed, but no others; they may thus be longer or shorter than the “bank” word. All words put together in enumeration order form a phrase of strong dictionary nature, which is not clued as part of the solution but may or may not be clued tangentially. Thus the entire solution is a letter-bank phrase that banks to part of itself. If the “bank” word is not the longest of the solution words, that fact will be made clear by the enumeration, cuewords, or tagging. Examples: split, personality and signature, tune.

A letter bankless is a letter bank where the minimal set of letters is not includedcin the base. This is most likely to be done because the minimal set will not transpose into a word. For example, princelet, Peter Principle. The letter bankless wascinvented by ΧΕΙΡΩΝ.

In an apt letter bankless, the unique letters in a phrase are the bank for the solution. Example: “that ol’ Camille Saint-Saens favorite” → The Carnival of the Animals.

An inapt letter bank leads to an answer that implies the opposite of the bank itself. Examples: “Cuts! Lower pay!” → Occupy Wall Street; is not café, instant coffee.