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Diabolically Arcane

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Symbol Problem

26 July, 2012

Here’s my hurdle, and maybe you can help me leap it, Sally-style. I’m currently chatting with a book designer about icons to accompany a suite of puzzles. (Look for my new book closer to Yule called Puzzles & Words – a swag of 250 word stories, and 175 puzzles.) But the snag is this symbol biz.

You see the puzzles are much like the Birdbrains here, graded from easy (one symbol) to hard (three symbols), with medium in between. Derr right – that’s the painless part. The sticking point applies to those puzzles of mixed difficulty. How do we eloquently convey that category, borrowing on a related icon?

For example, one lightbulb = easy. Three = tough. But what can you do with a bulb to say hybrid? We’ve tried hourglasses and bar charts and bullet points and emoticons. But things either look austere, or unclear, or occupy too much space (such as the one bulb-arrow=three bulb ploy). A first world problem, but I need a Pearson to pierce it.

What icon can work best to denote three different levels, plus a mix of all three? SOS: Solve Opaque Symbols!

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Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
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