Two words or phrases are each divided into two pieces; then their second pieces are switched to form two others. Example: ONE = maids, TWO = rapture, THREE = mature, FOUR = rapids. (This would appear in the solutions list as “ma/ids, rap/ture.”)

DOUBLE-CROSS (8, 5, 4, *9) (*9 = NI2)
With a slim, steely ONE,
The foul deed was done;
The client was given the sack.
From offstage, a noble
Sang “Woman is mobile.”
So-who could FOUR have on his back?
A dread hunch had he
When he felt the sack THREE:
Of what burden was he the carrier?
Gilda set up a din
(TWO had not yet set in)
And bade FOUR farewell with an aria.
=Pen Gwyn

The solution: ONE = stiletto, TWO = rigor, THREE = stir, FOUR = Rigoletto. (This would appear as “sti/letto, rigo/r.”)

The enumeration of all four parts of a double-cross is given.

When composing or solving a double-cross, be careful not to mix up THREE and FOUR: note that ONE and THREE have the same beginning, as do TWO and FOUR.

In a phonetic double-cross, the parts are rearranged phonetically and not by spelling. For example: ONE = Hall of Fame, TWO = gurneys, THREE = Holofernes, FOUR = game.

In a reversed double-cross, after switching the second pieces of ONE and TWO, you reverse the results to get THREE and FOUR. For example: ONE = red rover, TWO = Erebus, THREE = suborder, FOUR = revere. (This would appear as “red ro/ver, Ere/bus.”)

Based on an idea by Stilicho, the double-cross was introduced by Nightowl at the 1980 convention.


A trans-cross is similar to a double-cross, but the pieces of the word switch AB, CD, AC, BD. For example: ONE = seal, TWO = rely, THREE = sere, FOUR = ally.

TRANS-CROSS (*3-*5, 6, 8, 6) (TEAS, EH, TEE, ASH)
Sing a song of sixpence, a koan rather wry:
EH of ASH arranged on a Zen master’s pie.
When he saw his pizza had four-and-twenty birds,
He had the TEE assemble, and said some angry words
(In some Tibeto-Burman tongue, or Tai, or TEAS;
They all were South-East Asian-they weren’t Japanese).
“Within this monastery,” he said, and waved his bat,
“‘Make me one with everything’ does not refer to that.”

The solution: TEAS = Mon-Khmer, EH = oodles, TEE = monkhood, ASH = merles.

The trans-cross was invented by Ucaoimhu.

Two words or phrases are each divided into three pieces; then their middle pieces are switched to form two others.

EXAMPLE: ONE = share, TWO = colt, THREE = sole, FOUR = chart.

CHANGE OF HEART (4 7, *1*1*1, 8, 6)
  (ONE = RH2, 11C-findable; TWO = RH2, 11C-inferable)
The Big Three at Yalta were having a luncheon
When TWO looked as though he’d been hit by a truncheon.
He wrinkled his nose and said, “Open the door!
It smells like there’s something beginning to FOUR.
Was my spinach soufflé left all day in the sun?
Did a skunk wander in? Oh, good lord, it’s the ONE.
Sir, would you please not stand THREE? Go away;
Return to the cellar, and take your . . . bouquet.”
=Lunch Boy

The solution: ONE = wine steward, TWO = FDR, THREE = windward, FOUR = fester. (This would appear in the solution list as “win(e ste)ward, F(D)R”.)

A change of heart is similar to a double-cross, except that the pieces that are switched come from the middles of the ONE and TWO rather than the ends. Note that as in a double-cross, ONE and THREE have the same beginnings, as do TWO and FOUR. (See also the heart transplant.)

The change of heart was invented by Lunch Boy and named by Xemu.


In a heart transplant, a letter or series of letters is taken from inside one word and transplanted to another. Example: ONE = clear, TWO = wild, THREE = car, FOUR = willed (transplanting the LE).

HEART TRANSPLANT (11, 7, 9, 5 4)
After the ONEing of the voting districts,
   one district suddenly had a surfeit of voters
      who were very fond of plant flats.
How we ended up with a representative who
   filibusters by yelling things like “This bill
       will have a deleterious effect on the
           TWO, an aromatic herb of the
               carrot family, as well as on the
                   THREE, that member of the
                       mint family with a
                            prominent nose!”
                                Good Lord,
He can really get FOURed.
=Xemu and Lunch Boy

The solution: ONE = gerrymander, TWO = caraway, THREE = germander, FOUR = carry away.

The heart transplant was invented by Xemu.


Two words (THREE and FOUR) are joined; then one word (ONE) is dropped out to form another (TWO) from the leftover letters. For example: THREE = reamer, FOUR = itch, ONE = merit, TWO = reach.

DROPOUT (8, 6, 7, 7)
Wolfgang the poet endured his Salieri,
A bitter old green-eyes -- Wolf had to be wary --
Who TWO all his sonnets, each ONE and canzone,
Compared his ballade to a ripe provolone,
Who’d THREE Wolf’s whole gang with improbable rumors
And poison-pen letters that sprouted like tumors.
But Wolfgang the poet showed great perseverance:
FOUR dirt from his drafts, kept a seemly appearance.
Perseverance thus furthers the cause of the poet,
And silly Salieri has just cause to know it.
=Qaqaq and Sibyl

The solution: ONE = rondelet, TWO = envied, THREE = environ, FOUR = deleted. (This would appear as “envi(ron, delet)ed.”)

The enumeration of all four parts must be given.

In a progressive dropout, three or more words or phrases are nested (ONE always innermost) to form two others. For example: ONE = ach, TWO = aviator, THREE = latrine, FOUR = La Traviata, FIVE = chorine. (This would appear as “La Tr[aviat(a, ch)or]ine.”)

The dropout, introduced by Nightowl in 1984, is actually identical to one type of the progressive padlock. But the progressive dropout is unique.

This page was last updated on Thursday, June 18, 2015. /webmaster