I am trying to solve a word puzzle that contains several sentences, two of which are presented below, and I have to figure out the missing words represented by the variables W1W3:

There is a W1 in the W2 W3 is near where the road bends which contains very important items.
For instance, the top of the W3 is on the counter.

What's stumping me is W3. The only words I can think of that would syntactically fit for the first sentence are which and that:

  • There is a W1 in the W2 which is near where the road bends which contains very important items.
  • There is a W1 in the W2 that is near where the road bends which contains very important items.

But neither of those is syntactically correct for the second sentence:

For instance, the top of the which is on the counter.
For instance, the top of the that is on the counter.

It seems as though W3 is both a noun and a "connector word" (not sure what the proper term is). It seems to be a noun because it apparently has a top side ("...the top of the W3..."). And it seems to be a "connector" because it can be used in a similar context of which/that (which out of ignorance I am referring to when I say "connector word").

So my question is:

Are there words in the English language that fit the bill of being both nouns and "connectors"? If so, what are they called and what are some examples of them?

  • Is all the punctuation there complete? For example is there a comma after bends? Sep 7, 2014 at 11:19
  • W3 need not be a connector. W1 in the W2 might be an idiomatic chunk meaning possibility. W3 would then be an uncountable noun. Alternatively, W1 could be a standard noun like hole. W2 W3 is might then be an idiom meaning something like whatever they call it or thingummyjig or whatever it is :) Sep 7, 2014 at 11:29
  • Some people would not even call the noun telescope and the verb 'the same word'. The two(?) words 'as' are homographs (but not homophones); one refers to an ancient Roman coin; the other/s is/are the preposition / subordinator ... usages. Sep 7, 2014 at 11:44
  • Thanks @Araucaria - yes, all the punctuation is there correctly. (1) When you say that W1/W2 could mean possibility, can you give me a concrete example (I'm not following you). And (2) I'm also not following you with your W2/W3 idiom reference. Can you give an example perhaps? It's important to note that all W-variables here (W1/2/3) are words not phrases/idioms containing 2+ words.
    – smeeb
    Sep 7, 2014 at 13:15
  • Thanks @EdwinAshworth - I see what you mean, but for practicality's sake, by "same word" I mean the same set of letters combined in the same order :-). But good point!
    – smeeb
    Sep 7, 2014 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


This puzzle has the air of a literary bar bet, where, if I were offering this challenge, I would also tell my marks that expletives are allowed, just to throw them further astray.

You can't overlook the fact that some words can be elided, and the conjunction that is one that is often omitted without any loss in meaning. This is referred to as the expletive that, which is described in the Guide to Grammar and Writing:

Omitting That
The word that is used as a conjunction to connect a subordinate clause to a preceding verb. In this construction that is sometimes called the "expletive that." Indeed, the word is often omitted to good effect, but the very fact of easy omission causes some editors to take out the red pen and strike out the conjunction that wherever it appears.

So, now you can forget about a connector or conjunction and begin to look for something else.

What self-respecting bar bet would expect to follow unstated rules, and why not mislead further, by allowing any of your missing words to be both a common word (including nouns) and a proper name?

Thus the first usage of W3 does not need an accompanying article like the or a, IF IT IS A PROPER NAME THAT IS ALSO A NOUN.

So, just taking a wild stab at some words (I'm not claiming this is an ideal answer), your solution might look like this, or something similar:

There is a COLLECTION in the HOUSE (that) CANE is near where the road bends which contains very important items.

For Instance, the top of the CANE is on the counter.

If you've read this far and are stammering "But, but, but..." or some such, then you may want to avoid bar bets for the time being.


There is no word (at least not one that's common, non-archaic and that I know) that functions as a noun where you can use "the", and also functions as a subordinating conjunction — which is the term for your "connector."

Going by this web page, absolutely none of these words work for W3 in both instances.

I think your puzzle is incorrect or unsolvable.

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