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Milwaukee Flat Competition

The Flat Competition, featuring the NPL's signature puzzles created by members, is one of the highlights of the convention.

This year's competition is titled THE FRENCH CONNECTION and is organized by Saxifrage.

This year for the con flat competition, Saxifrage challenges you to try your hand at a French-derived poetic form. You have three choices:

  1. The dizain: One 10-line stanza, each line with 10 syllables, and the rhyme scheme ABABBCCDCD.
  2. The lai: Any number of stanzas. Each stanza consists of 9 lines, made up of three sets of two 5-syllable lines and one 2-syllable line. The rhyme scheme is AABAABAAB (so the 5-syllable lines all rhyme and the 2-syllable lines all rhyme). The rhyme scheme may change between stanzas. (For an extra challenge, you can make it a virelai, in which the B rhyme of one stanza becomes the A rhyme of the next.)
  3. The kyrielle: Two or more stanzas. Each stanza is four lines of 8 syllables. The last line is a refrain that is repeated in each stanza. The rhyme scheme may be AABB, ABAB, AAAB, or ABCB, and is the same for all stanzas. For more information and examples, visit:

As always with the flat competition, bear in mind that solvers will be solving without references and under time pressure, so this probably isn’t the place for your most obscure bases. Beyond that, any topic that would be acceptable in The Enigma is fair game.

Please send your flats to Saxifrage at saxifrage@puzzlers.org no later than June 1, 2018. Please put “Con flat submission” or something similar in the subject line of your email so that I can find it.

Bonne chance!