There are a lot of great puzzle games out there, but only a few have characters to go along with the puzzle solving.
Several PuzzleNation games have characters that drive or contribute to the actual solve of the puzzle — Crossword Raiders and Tanglewords among them — but my favorite is easily Diggin’ Words, our timed anagram game, because of the Diggin’ Dogs.
In the game, the dogs dig up seven letters, and it’s up to the solver to assemble as many words as they can (from 3 to 7 letters) from those seven in the time allotted.
It’s up to the Diggin’ Dogs to dig up those letters and cheer you on as you shuffle and noodle over the numerous possibilities.
But other than a friendly demeanor and a penchant for amateur paleontology, what does the average solver know about the Diggin’ Dogs?
So, it’s my distinct pleasure to introduce the seven lovable pooches who make Diggin’ Words possible.
From left to right: Stormy, Barkley, Copernicus, Sam, Veronica, Lorenzo, and Kana.
The elder statesman of the pack (Stormy’s 3 months older than Lorenzo, the next oldest), Stormy assembled this elite team of expert hole-diggers from a wide range of friends, colleagues, and confidantes he’d made over the years. He’s wise beyond his years and proud of his fellow Diggin’ Dogs.
The troublemaker of the group, Barkley is mischievous and playful, always ready with a joke or a squeaky-toy prank to lighten the mood. He also participates in a howling barber shop quartet every Saturday night around midnight behind the farmers’ market.
Alert, attentive, and all around excitable, Copernicus (Nicky for short) is enthusiastic enough for a dozen Diggin’ Dogs. Of course, if letter-inscribed bones rocketed out of the ground in your owner’s backyard, you’d probably be the excitable type too.
You may recognize him from the famous Dogs Playing Poker painting. Sam has since retired from the professional circuit and now spends his time panting expectantly while players try to anagram on the fly under his watchful gaze. He also enjoys barking at passing cars, birds, and sometimes, nothing at all.
Veronica is a former Iditarod champion who stepped down after four consecutive victories. Now enjoying a peaceful lull before her next adventure, Veronica joined the Diggin’ Dogs for some much-needed R & R. Digging up these bones and shuffling the letters around is the perfect way to stay in fighting trim.
With his love of quoting Shakespeare and coloring suggestive of the Phantom of the Opera, Lorenzo is the mysterious one. No one quite knows what breed or mix he is, and he’s happy to keep them guessing.
The sweetheart of the group, Kana is the affectionate one in the pack, with everyone’s best interest at heart. She keeps bowls of water offscreen for any of the dogs that start panting too heavily, and makes sure everyone sits far enough back that the bones won’t hurt anybody. You can also thank her for the lack of visible drool.
Without these adorable pups, Diggin’ Words wouldn’t be nearly as fun to solve. Thanks, guys and gals. There’ll be an extra MilkBone for each of you tonight.
And thanks for reading. As always, keep calm, puzzle on, and I’ll catch you next time.