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Full Instructions

How Words May Be Connected

There are five generic types of connection in Zygolex. meaning and letters each contain several divisions.

Note that Levels One and Two do not make use of the full range of connections. See Zygolex Levels of Difficulty.

Rhyme

Words may be connected if they form a rhyme (eg cool and rule, green and submarine, typhoon and soon).

Meaning

Words may be connected if:

  1. they are synonyms (eg run and sprint);
  2. one word falls within the category of the other (eg beef and meat, hammer and tool);
  3. they are antonyms (eg rough and smooth);
  4. they are of the same type and belong to the same category (eg trumpet and violin).

Letters

Words may be connected if:

  1. their spelling differs by only one letter (eg park and pack);
  2. one letter is added or taken away (eg hat and heat, plane and plan);
  3. they are anagrams of each other (eg throw and worth).

Phrase

Words may be connected if they are commonly used together (eg remote and control, fish and chips, sherlock and holmes).

Family

Words may be connected if they represent different grammatical forms of the same word family (eg swim and swimming, tree and trees, possible and possibility).

For a more detailed account of the logic behind the way in which each connection is defined, see Zygolex Rules of Connection.
 

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Levels of Difficulty

Zygolex puzzles are constructed using four increasing levels of complexity. Levels One and Two do not make use of the full range of connections; Levels Three and Four do. It is recommended that newcomers to Zygolex should first master the relatively limited connections involved in Level One and only progress to the higher levels as they become more confident with the principles of the game.

Level 1: Easy

The only methods of connection used are: rhyme; meaning a) and b); letters a).

Level 2: Medium

The same methods of connection as in Level One plus phrase.

Level 3: Hard

The same methods of connection as in Level Two plus meaning c) and d); letters b) and c); family.

Level 4: Fiendish

All methods of connection as in Level Three but with two forms of coding introduced to increase the challenge: Five different and randomly assigned colours are used to delineate the five types of connection, thus requiring the solver to crack the colour code as well as complete the puzzle; in the solution boxes the figures giving the numbers of letters in a word are replaced by coded symbols.

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Scoring - Normal Play

Points are awarded on a sliding scale depending on the difficulty level of the game. Each difficulty level also has a target time for completion, and time bonus points can be awarded for completing the puzzle correctly within those target times.

  Level 1
Easy
Level 2
Medium
Level 3
Hard
Level 4
Fiendish
 
Points per correct answer 3 4 5 6 points
Bonus for all correct answers 5 15 25 35 points
Target time 10 15 20 25 minutes
Time bonus per minute 5 5 5 5 points

Note: Time bonuses are only awarded for every complete minute under target.

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Scoring - Expert Play

Each level of difficulty has a par (or average) time for completion, and points are awarded or lost relative to that par time. Points can also be lost for making errors or leaving boxes blank. In no circumstances can you be left with a minus score.

  Level 1
Easy
Level 2
Medium
Level 3
Hard
Level 4
Fiendish
 
Par time 10 15 20 25 minutes
Par score attained, no errors 100 150 200 250 points

If you beat par you will gain 10 points for every whole minute under the par time; if you exceed the par time you will lose 10 points for every whole or part minute.

Whatever time score you gain it will be reduced by 20% for every error you make. No points will be awarded if you make five or more errors or if you exceed twice the par time.

Illustrative scores:

Level 1: Easy

Completed without errors in 7 minutes 15 secs: 120 points
With 2 errors in the same time: (120 - 48) 72 points
Completed without errors in 14 minutes 45 secs: 50 points
With 3 errors in the same time: (50 - 30) 20 points

Level 2: Medium

Completed without errors in 11 minutes 15 secs: 180 points
With 1 error in the same time: (180 - 36) 144 points
Completed without errors in 15 minutes 45 secs: 140 points
With 1 error in the same time: (140 - 20) 112 points

Level 3: Hard

Completed without errors in 13 minutes 15 secs: 260 points
With 2 errors in the same time: (260 - 104) 156 points
Completed without errors in 22 minutes 45 secs: 170 points
With 3 errors in the same time: (170 - 102) 68 points

Level 4: Fiendish

Completed without errors in 20 minutes 15 secs: 290 points
With 1 error in the same time: (290 - 58) 232 points
Completed without errors in 27 minutes 45 secs: 220 points
With 4 errors in the same time: (220 - 176) 44 points

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Rules of Connection

Rhyme

In Zygolex rhyme is defined as ‘two words having the same sound, or a very similar sound, from the stressed vowel or diphthong until the end’. Therefore kin rhymes with begin but not with firkin and file rhymes with denial but not with profile.

In English many words containing two or more syllables can be pronounced perfectly acceptably with different stressing. This is particularly common when it comes to words that are used as both a noun and a verb. In such cases a Zygolex rhyme connection may require an appreciation of the differences in stressing. So, for example, whereas desert (as a noun) would not normally rhyme with insert (as a noun), desert (as a verb) does rhyme with insert (as a verb).

Note that Zygolex rules permit the puzzle compiler to indulge in a mild form of deception when it comes to rhyme because the same word may be stressed differently depending upon its various types of connection. For example, again using the word desert, the input connections sand (by meaning) and island (by phrase) might imply that the required word desert is a noun, yet the output rhyme connection of desert (as a verb) to insert remains valid.

So-called Standard Southern British pronunciation (also known as BBC Pronunciation) is used throughout Zygolex, so grass rhymes with farce and not ass and shut rhymes with putt and not put. This is done purely to avoid confusion and does not imply any value judgment as to the correctness of any particular regional or international variation in pronunciation.

Meaning

There are very few true synonyms or antonyms in the English language because words take on slightly different shades of meaning and tend to be used in specific circumstances. For example, give and donate mean basically the same thing but are often used in different situations. However, in Zygolex they are acceptable because their meanings refer to the same basic activity or phenomenon. The divisions meaning b) and d) are closely related insofar as they both rely on a common category. However, meaning b) is only concerned with the direct category/item relationship whereas the less obvious meaning d) connects the two items at one remove. For example, elm and oak can individually be connected to tree directly because that is the name of their common category; however, elm and oak can also be connected directly to each other because they are both individual items of the same type.

Note that in respect of connection by meaning (in contrast to rhyme) the two connected words have to be the same part of speech. If one is a noun, then the connected word must be a noun. The same applies to verbs, adjectives, etc.

This rule also applies for both tense and number; if one verb is in the past form, then the other must also be; if one noun is a plural, then the other must also be.

Letters

A connection by letters a) can only be made by direct substitution of one letter for the other in the same position. For example, flat and feat makes a valid connection, as does feat and felt, whereas flat and felt does not.

In much the same way, a connection can be made either by anagram or where there is a one-letter difference between the words, but not by both. For example, opera and rope does not make a connection because a letter has been omitted from the anagram.

Phrase

A connection by phrase can also be made if the two connected words when taken together comprise a compound or hyphenated whole. For example, nut and cracker, moon and struck, arch and bishop.

Sometimes words are connected to their partner by small linking words, such as and, of, to and the. These small links are ignored in phrase connection. Therefore pairings such as beck and call, coals to newcastle or neck of the woods can all be accepted in Zygolex.

Well-known names may also be used to make a phrase connection, so you could find bob and dylan, not to mention dylan and thomas or milton and keynes. Other geographical connections link towns, counties, regions, countries, etc. Permissible examples might be london and england, rome and italy, canterbury and kent, provence and france.

Family

This type of connection encompasses the grammatical variations of a word in which the other word shares the same linguistic derivation. Many of these are relatively obvious, such as run and running, house and houses, look and looked, true and truthful. Slightly less obvious might be catch and caught or france and french. Less obvious still are where two words share the same ancestral root, commonly Latin or Greek (eg mobile and movable, people and popular).

Comparatives and superlatives are also included, even where the root is not immediately apparent, so you may find bad and worse or good and best. Certain well-known abbreviations may appear, as may widely accepted shortened forms of names, eg veg and vegetable or michael and mike.

Precedence of connection

Quite often words may be connected in two different ways, and Zygolex has rules to deal with these situations. Probably the most common example is a connection that can be made either by Rhyme or by Letters (eg shot and slot). In this case Rhyme takes precedence and the relationship will be treated as a Rhyme connection.

Another relatively common situation is the singular/plural relationship, where a connection can be made by either Family or Letters (eg chair and chairs). In this case Family takes precedence.

The complete order of precedence is as follows: 1 Rhyme; 2 Family; 3 Letters; 4 Phrase; 5 Meaning. The lower number always takes precedence over the higher.

Duplication of connection types

In puzzles of Levels Two, Three and Four all the connections leading to a solution box must be of different types. In a Level One puzzle, where only three types of connection are used, a box may have two connections of either meaning or letters, but not of rhyme.

Level four puzzle coding

A Level Four puzzle uses randomly assigned colour coding to delineate the five types of connection and allocates randomly chosen symbols to substitute for the figures giving the numbers of letters in a word. While the assigned colours and figures remain consistent within any individual puzzle, the solver should be aware that they are unlikely to be repeated in subsequent puzzles.

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