I'm looking for the name of puzzle in the picture below, commonly found in puzzle books.

A 'filippine' written in Dutch. Equal numbers are equal letters, and the solution vertically in grey is expression

In Dutch, it's called a ''filippine''. It has its variations, including anagrams, rebus, trivia questions, crossword clues, and so on, but the construction of the puzzle is the overall the same and pictured above. I've tried looking with queries such as ''list of puzzle book puzzles'' and ''equal numbers are equal letters'', but with no result. The evident ''filippine english'' only leads me to Google correcting is to ''the Phillipines'' (and its ''Filipinos''). I'm even wondering whether these types of puzzles are even known in English-speaking countries, or that this puzzle is just a Dutch thing?

Edit: psosuna asked me where the word filippine comes from, so I will (try to) translate the section of ''Oorspronkelijke betekenis'' (Original meaning) on the Dutch Wikipedia page on 'Filippine' partially:

"A filippine is an almond nut with two seeds, and it was a game that whoever found such an almond should share it with their neighbour under the silent promise that they, at their next meeting, should greet each other with ''bonjour filippine''. The one who did that first was the winner and will expect from the other a small gift. The promise could also be that the two will write each other on a particular date. The promise itself is also called a filippine. [Followed by an not-so-relevant quote from Martinus Nijhoff.] The word filippine or filippien is thought to originate, through the French philippine, from the German Philippchen , a bastardization from Viel-Liebchen (many love).

  • Not a crossword puzzle because the answers only run horizontally. Completing the puzzle reveals the hidden word. Hmm.. there's bound to be a name for it. Just wait a couple of minutes.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 16:44
  • I'd probably call it a word jigsaw, but it's not a puzzle format I'm familiar with. Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 16:49
  • 3
    The fact that there's a Wikipedia article on this puzzle in only Dutch and West Frisian is most likely a sign that it's a Dutch "thing". It's quite rare that the English version of an article will not be there. This is your time to shine and create the article yourself. Just knowing the title of the article will be problematic.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 17:06
  • @Zebrafish ahh! I have definitely seen this type of puzzle for ESL and EFL students. I just never stopped to ask myself what it's called. Hidden message, but in word searches, seems to come closest.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 17:10
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    According to Google Translate: "Thus a filippine is in fact a simple mesostichon in puzzle form." "mesostichon" I believe in English should be "mesostic" which is like an acrostic. Not sure if there's a term for the puzzle, maybe it's as Mari-Lou says.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


The puzzle is a form of acrostic. There are several types of acrostic, most common these days being something more like a codeword puzzle but the original acrostics going back at least 2000 years were pieces of writing where the initial or final letters of each line formed a word. A good example is the ICTHYS acrostic used by the early Christian church where the letters of the Greek words for Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour form the Greek word for fish. This acrostic is discussed in the Wkipedia article under the above link.

  • It's only vaguely similar to the puzzles that are called acrostics in English today. Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 22:40
  • @PeterShor It is, however, what comes to my mind when I hear the word "acrostic". I have a feeling that the more complex acrostic similar to a codeword puzzle is American rather than British. I've certainly never seen the codeword-with-clues type puzzle called an "acrostic" in British puzzle books, in fact I don't think I've ever seen one at all.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 3:17
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    @PeterShor An unknown crossword answer can be found by filling in other cross-sected answers you do know. A filippine is characterized by the fact that you can get letters from other numbered cells elsewhere in the puzzle (1-on-1, or not (ex., 2 and 5 are A)). (Mainly to discourage peaking on the internet, of course.) Another difference is that a filippine extracts a final answer, just like in word searches, and a crossword doesn't. So yes, an acrostic is indeed a filippine (and are called such in puzzle books), and are just a variation of the main style pictured above: the mesostichon.
    – Stacker
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 7:03
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    @PeterShor Example
    – Stacker
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 7:04
  • @Stacker: you're right, American double crostics are a kind of filippine (not quite the same as that example—in double crostics there are exactly two of every number). So maybe you should call filippines "Dutch acrostics". Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 12:01

We call that puzzle 'CROSSWORD' in English...

Here's a wikipedia link for proof: CROSSWORD PUZZLE

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