I have 40 characters, (broken up into two lines of 20,) to send hints to users about the location of a "prize" buried somewhere in a grid.

There is ambiguity when I tell the user if, at any time during the exercise, they have visited the same square as the prize. Previously I would send one of these messages:

You have not passed
   the prize yet.

  You have already
  passed the prize.

If the user has just entered the same square as the prize, it should count as a pass. This is problematic, because the phrasing of the hint makes most users believe they have already missed it, while it's entirely possible the prize is currently below their feet.

Users agree that a "pass" involves walking into the prize's square, then walking away from it - which is not what I mean to imply. This is confusing for everyone, but I can't seem to rephrase the hint without it becoming more confusing, or completely giving away the position of the prize.

How could I unambiguously convey this in 40 characters or less?

  • 2
    This is off topic per our help center, both because it's a request for writing advice and because this Q&A is so narrow that it will not be useful to anyone else.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 15, 2013 at 20:59
  • What about saying "You have been near the prize"? Jul 15, 2013 at 21:06
  • @jwpat7 "Near" tends to confuse users further. They aren't certain what qualifies proximity, such as being a square away from the prize.
    – 4444
    Jul 15, 2013 at 21:14
  • Ok, "You have been on the prize" or "You have visited the prize" or "You visited the prize square" Jul 15, 2013 at 21:15
  • 1
    @MετάEd This Q. is very similar to this one, which has been 'protected'. I don't disagree that this may be OT, but, as the two are so similar, I don't see how one can be protected and the other be OT.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


Are the users aware that the playing field is divided into squares? If so, perhaps something like this:

You have been on
the prize square

If they are not square aware, perhaps simply:

You have been [or stood]
where the prize is

Or are the squares large enough that entering the square where the prize is does not necessarily mean you are “where the prize is”?

  • Excellent question; Yes, they are square-aware. I'm a strong advocate of square awareness and prevention.
    – 4444
    Jul 15, 2013 at 21:00
  • 3
    @Doc, that rather sounds like a political statement from Flatland! Jul 15, 2013 at 21:04
  • Looks like you're two for two. Users clearly understand the message now.
    – 4444
    Jul 15, 2013 at 21:35

How about arrived at? I personally would choose hot and cold for close and far. That's a very common children's usage in America, which adults would understand immediately.

  • The hints are designed to be useless on their own, but combined with other types of hints allow users to eventually deduce the location of the prize. "Arrived at" seems to imply the users are definitively on top of the prize, instead of it being just a possibly.
    – 4444
    Jul 15, 2013 at 20:55

You were or are on the prize square would be one way to say it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.