You are here

National Park Week Quiz #7: Word Cube Brain Twister

Welcome to National Park Week Quiz #7! If you can satisfactorily complete this word cube exercise before 12:00 midnight EST today you will be eligible for Traveler’s National Park Week prize drawing and a chance to win a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for the national park of your choice.


(1) Draw a 3 x 3 grid on a sheet of paper as though you were going to play a game of tic-tac-toe.

(2) Print the letters K, E, and C in the three cells of the top row, then print S, R, and Y in the middle row and G, O, and F in the bottom row.

(3) Circle the R in the middle cell of your grid. You will need to keep that R in mind.

Definition of Terms

National park. A national park is a National Park System unit. There are currently 397 national parks.

Stem. A stem is the portion of a national park name that is not a category or type designation. For example, the stem of Grand Canyon National Park is Grand Canyon, the stem of Lake Mead National Recreation Area is Lake Mead, and the stem of Blue Ridge Parkway is Blue Ridge.

National park stem word. A national park stem word is any word that appears in the stem of a national park name. In the three examples provided above, the stem words are Grand, Canyon, Lake, Mead, Blue, and Ridge. National, Park, Recreation, Area, and Parkway are not national park stem words because none is part of a stem in these examples.

Grid letter. A grid letter is a letter occupying a cell of the 3 x 3 grid. The nine grid letters are K, E, C, S, R, Y, G, O, and F.

Middle letter. The middle letter is the letter in the center cell of the grid. Make sure that the middle letter in your grid is R.


Using just the grid letters, create 12 national park stem words.


(1) The middle letter (R) must be used at least once in every national park stem word that you create. A stem word that does not contain the letter R will be disqualified.

(2) Any grid letter, including the middle letter, may be used more than once when creating a stem word.

(3) A word you create from the grid must be an independent word in a national park stem. That is, the word cannot be part of a longer word.

Just 12 out of 15 is all you need

By following these rules it is possible to create 15 national park stem words drawn from the names of more than two dozen national parks (two of which have two qualifying stem words).

Answers and a list of readers who answered correctly will be posted in tomorrow's Traveler.

No cheating!

If we catch you Googling or engaged in other sneakery, we will make you write on the whiteboard 100 times:

The pencil-and-paper game known in the United States as tic-tac-toe, tick-tack-toe, tick-tat-toe, or tit-tat-toe, goes by other names in various parts of the world, such as naughts and crosses in Australia, X’s and O’s in Ireland, wick-wack-woe in China, and X-O in Mauritius.


Congratulations, Ken; you're in. It's a good thing you tossed in some extras. I was getting ready to give you a pass to the concierge floor until I saw that YORK in there. Tsk, tsk.

I did that because I must be using a differnt list of National Parks than you use. I use the list found on the NPS site under the find a park site. I remember from some of my past answers that just because its on that list it not always on your list.
Anyway thanks for the fun.

Wait a minute, Ken. Are you admitting, right here in front of God and everybody, that you (gasp!) used a published list to find your answers? You do realize that's sneakery, don't you?

Incidentally, I don't understand your comment in reply. The list I use is the list of the 397 national parks. That's the list that I should use when creating quiz questions. If the National Park Service, in its infinite wisdom, wants to create a Find A Park list that includes some sites that are not national parks, well, that's not my problem. Bottom line: "York" is not a national park stem word.

If I am grumpier than usual this morning, please cut me some slack. When the South Carolina-Alabama baseball game was suspended last night in the bottom of the eighth inning (lightning/rain), my beloved Gamecocks -- my 5th-ranked, repeat national championship-defending Gamecocks -- were being no-hit by Bama's freshman pitcher. When the game is resumed at 5:00 this afternoon, tied at 0-0, I have only to hope that the Cocks will stop swinging like washerwomen and put this one away.

Yes, JanetinKY, you can use all three of the words you mentioned in your examples.

Kurt's reply to OutInTheSticks:

Please take it easy on the Quizmeister, OutInTheStiks. It's tough enough for him to vet the answers without plowing through extraneous material. Would you please resubmit your answer, listing only the stem words? After all, that is what is specified in the instructions. Thank you very much for your cooperation, valued Traveler reader.

Quizmeister's reply:

#?&*$!*@ instructions!

Good job, viewmtn; you can use the front door. About four hours, as I recollect.


I think my Traveler account has been hacked by someone calling himself the Quizmeister...

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide