Nine Unusual States

Mar 12, 2011

RAY: This is from my "What's Not in a Name" series, and it's about names of states. This was sent in by someone named Arnie Hartika who writes, "For some time now, I've been a New York Times puzzle addict, and hardly a week goes by that I don't learn at least one new word. Last week was no exception, and I realized right away that this knowledge could be used as the basis for one of your cheesy little Puzzlers. So here goes. I'm going to list nine states of union. Maine, Vermont, New York, Iowa, Florida, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming."

TOM: That's nine.

RAY: The question is, what makes these states different from all the others? And, I'll give a hint. You don't have to think twice to know that Mississippi and Alabama are not eligible to be on this list.
RAY: Here's the answer: what makes these states unusual is that they're isogrammatic words-- words in which no letter is repeated. Texas has five unique letters. Wyoming has seven, and so does New York. But none are repeated. And there are no other states, save for those, that are isogrammatical.

TOM: What about Texas?

RAY: I have Texas on the list, you dope. So do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Sally Milgram from Prairie Village, Kansas. Congratulations, Sally!

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