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Jumble is a word puzzle with a clue, a drawing illustrating the clue, and a set of words, each of which is “jumbled” by scrambling its letters. A solver reconstructs the words, and then arranges letters at marked positions in the words to spell the answer phrase to the clue. The clue and illustration always provide hints about the answer phrase. The answer phrase frequently uses a homophone or pun.
Jumble was created in 1954 by Martin Naydel, who was better known for his work on comic books. It originally appeared under the title "Scramble." Henri Arnold and Bob Lee took over the feature in 1962 and continued it for at least 30 years. As of 2013, Jumble was being maintained by David L. Hoyt and Jeff Knurek. Jumble is one of the most valuable properties of its distributor, US company Tribune Content Agency, which owns the JUMBLE trademarks and copyrights. Daily and Sunday Jumble puzzles appear in over 600 newspapers in the United States and internationally.
The current syndicated version found in most daily newspapers (under the official title Jumble--That Scrambled Word Game) has four base anagrams, two of five letters and two of six, followed by a clue and a series of blank spaces into which the answer to the clue fits. The answer to the clue is generally a pun of some sort. A weekly "kids version" of the puzzle features a three-letter word plus three four-letter words. In order to find the letters that are in the answer to the given clue, the player must unscramble all four of the scrambled words; the letters that are in the clue will be circled. The contestant then unscrambles the circled letters to form the answer to the clue. An alternate workaround is to solve some of the scrambled words, figure out the answer to the clue without all the letters, then use the "extra" letters as aids to solve the remaining scrambled words.
There are many variations of puzzles from the Jumble brand including Jumble, Jumble for Kids, Jumble Crosswords, TV Jumble, Jumble BrainBusters, Jumble BrainBusters Junior, Hollywood Jumble, Jumble Jong, Jumble Word Vault, Jumpin' Jumble, Jumble Solitaire, and Jumble Word Web.
Versions in other media
In addition to being playable online through various interactive online platforms such as on Tribune Content Agency's Web site in an HTML 5 implementation, Jumble is downloadable through several mobile game applications such as Apple's iTunes, AT&T and on the Amazon Kindle.
Jumble is also available as a Bicycle playing card by United States Playing Card Company with an assortment of game titles such as "3-4-5," "Jumble Word Meld," and "Jumble Solitaire."
- Don Markstein's Toonopedia, “McSnurtle the Turtle”
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