I am thinking about editing the following question:

Say What Puzzle from Magazine

In particular, I am considering changing the following sentence:

The answer is two words, each containing 8 letters.

to be a hint (hidden as a spoiler).

Is this appropriate?


1 Answer 1


I would suggest leaving the question as it is (to avoid 'answer bloat').

Effectively, the comment to which you refer provides the enumeration for a word puzzle, in the same way that a number in brackets at the end of a crossword clue tells you the length of the expected answer. It isn't really a spoiler, as such - it doesn't ruin the means and method behind solving a puzzle - rather it's more a way to help a solver confirm that they have found the correct answer before they consider posting an answer that might be hopelessly off the mark.

A particular foible of puzzles (and many questions) is that there can sometimes arguably be multiple possible solutions. Consider the following trivial example:


This could be argued to represent the word 'CONS' (C on S) or, equally, the word 'COVERS' (C over S). Adding a line representing the enumeration is an important way to differentiate a possibly correct answer from a definitely wrong one, and avoids a post experiencing 'answer bloat', where multiple answers are posted, most of which are incorrect or unexpected, and thus unnecessarily add web content that is of little value.

Adding a line concerning enumeration is a good way to 'keep it tight' and should be presented in the main body of a question, not as a spoiler.

(NB In this answer I have ignored the fact that the question is 4.5 years old and solved a long time ago - some people may consider that additional weight to the argument for doing nothing at this point in time. I have tried to restrict my arguments here to puzzling logistics...)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ More generally, if a “hint” is the only thing distinguishing the correct answer from other possibilities, it isn’t a “hint”, it’s a required part of the puzzle. Don’t hide necessary information behind spoilers, please! $\endgroup$
    – Rubio Mod
    Jul 12, 2023 at 19:07

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