SUNDAY PUZZLE — The title of this puzzle immediately brought to mind an old article that ran in the Times Magazine way, way back in 1996. The story seemed to scoff at our best intentions to recycle as “garbage,” bad business and ineffective — back then, recycling was being posited as a new, clean industry of the future — and I remember being up in arms about it. I skimmed it anew this week, in the hopes of scoffing back at its bad prediction.
So, the bad news: We’re not all recycling robber barons. The good news is sort of still to come. People are getting more inventive about reusing and avoiding waste, new technologies are arising to deal with the insane amount of plastic we’ve already discarded and big countries are waking up to the problem.
Fortunately, cogitation is a low-waste activity. Today, Will Nediger brings us a puzzle that takes ingenious advantage of its ingredients and leaves nothing to discard.
The trick behind the main theme today is the “letter bank,” a variant of anagramming that lets you use all the letters of one word, plus repeat those letters, to make a new word. You need to use each letter once, but you can then continue to use each one to create a word of any length; for example, a little word like IMPS could “letter bank” into MISSISSIPPI. Or LENS could become SENSELESS.