Please do NOT post your answer, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

A non-mathematical one this week.  What four-letter word is the same when it is read forwards, backwards and upside down?

If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now.  For everyone else, the answer is after the break.

The answer is …… NOON. Did you solve it?

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.

1. Fran6co says:

NON, I didn’t…

1. Dougal McTavish says:

I got ‘DEED’

2. Bert says:

Yeah, me too. Looks like “upside down” was ambiguous, and Richard specifically meant “when rotated by 180°, rather than reflected. Which is a better puzzle, admittedly.

3. Jonny says:

I wouldn’t say ‘upside-down’ is ambiguous at all. The keyboard in front of you. Turn it upside down. Do you get your mirror out? No, you turn it by 180 degrees.

4. If I turned my keyboard upsidedown, I’d be looking at the back of my keyboard 🙂

2. @Sceptic_Tank says:

Also BOOB

1. Eddie says:

Upside down B-ers and D-ers – are you also allowing TOOT?

2. Eddie says:

Well, how do B and D work back to front. This whole puzzle is poorly stated. Are we reflecting, rotating, and if so, about which axes?

3. Becky says:

I got DEED and BOOB but I guess they turn upside down by mirroring rather than rotating…

4. D’oh! why did I skip the N?

BOOB DEED and KOOK were my answers with mirroring. And I had another, but I realize it is false.

In Dutch SOOS would work as rotating, and EBBE DEED DOOD KEEK and KOOK would also work as mirror.

1. …except “EBBE” is not a Dutch word. You’re probably thinking of “EBBEN”.

2. Well, yes; “Ebbe en Vloed”.

5. Alma says:

No mention was made in the puzzle of using a mirror. Just backwards, forwards and upside down. So – the only one (in English anyway!) that works is NOON. But then – Richard didn’t state that it only works if capitals are used. Needs to be a bit more care in exactly how the puzzles are worded – and maybe how they’re read as well. 🙂

6. Slange Navarr says:

I read far too much into the original question and was aiming for really obscure words. Somehow I had also formed the opinion that capital letters were not allowed, although it says nothing of the kind. I guess my mind wasn’t on it much on Friday. 🙂

7. Bill says:

or POOP!!!

8. Tibi says:

What is N upside down?
Certainly not N.

1. Hmm? If I draw an N and turn it upside down, it sure looks like an N to me…

2. Alma says:

Eh? N upside down (in capitals) is still N. 🙂

3. Pigturion says:

@Alma and Ken. Depends on the definition of upside down. If you place a mirror along the top of a word containing N, the word in the reflection is upside down but N will be reversed and no longer be an N if trying to read the reflected word as it is displayed.

9. Richard says:

I thought it was a trick question so my answer was “book” – a book is the same whether read forwards, backwards or upside down.

1. Bert says:

Disagree. A book that begins with a butler raising the dead is a quite different book.

10. John says:

Just BOOB

11. bletherskite says:

I had noon but then dismissed it as I was writing ‘n’ not N. If i’d just made that leap to capitals!

12. Nick 666 says:

Re John – not tryi g to be a smart arse a nd I like your thinking but a book readd backwards aint the same as oneread normally 😉

13. yup, got this one (for a change)

14. Paul de Boer says:

This only works if you specify that the word is rotated upside down and order switched backwards. A mirrored N would look like this I/I. These conditions make the most sense as when you picture reading a book upside down, you would rotate the book and reading text backwards you would read right to left. Under these conditions BOOB and DEED do not work as solutions.

15. OHW says:

lol I kept trying to do something with “L” or “I”

16. James Bailey says:

Yes, I figured it was going to be NOON, but that doesn’t work for all modes of rotation. If you invert it through a central axis like a strike-through, the Ns don’t work. Only rotating it around a point placed between the two Os will be identical. Only words with symmetrical combinations of H, I, O, and X would seem to work for all, but I’m damned if I can come up with any.

1. Eddie says:

17. h3rne777 says:

@Bert. That was the wrong moment for me to have a mouth full of drink.

And someone soooooo needs to write that book…

18. As a read geek, I created two little programs to find the solution (I first tried it manually, but I missed the character N ad I did not find a solution).

In the first program, I use an online wordlist and search for words that contain the characters

H I N O S X Z

and which an be read forward and backward. The solution is NOON.

The second program generates all possible words (excluding words with only consonants and with only the same letter). It comes up with this list:

1 HIIH
2 HOOH
3 IHHI
4 INNI
5 ISSI
6 IXXI
7 IZZI
8 OHHO
9 ONNO
10 OSSO
11 OXXO
12 OZZO
13 NIIN
14 NOON
15 SIIS
16 SOOS
17 XIIX
18 XOOX
19 ZIIZ
20 ZOOZ

Here you need to bee a really good native speaker to be sure that none of the words is a legal english word….

19. Idiot Shavant says:

I’m going to get out of bed soon and have a shave.
I usually use a shaving mirror for this procedure, but having read all of the comments I think I will do it upside down and stand on my head instead.

1. Anders says:

What is an illegal word?and why do I have to be a native speaker, good or otherwise to be able to use a dictionary, many many native speakers, as evidenced by the internet, do not know what one is are they illegal?

20. ivan says:

I own some cycle clothing made by OZZO.

1. Snus says:

Snus?

21. Andreas, I think there is no english word with only consonants nor is there one with 4 times the same character in a row. Hmm, just looking up in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_words_without_vowels, they consider ZZZZ a word. So, my assumption may be false.

Choose a language you do not speak, and find a word that starts with ‘a’ and ends with ‘b’. Using a dictionary manually may be difficult. if you speak the language, doing it in your head it may be easy …

1. Dave says:

Rhythm?

1. Idiot Shavant says:

You must remember this from Friday – one requires capitals, the other works in lower case, your Lordship.

22. Just Mike says:

I had the proper name “otto”. It reads essentially the same forward, backward, upside-down and in a mirror.

1. Paul de Boer says:

Only if you draw a T like this +

23. Bill T. says:

The comments about “upside down” and “backwards” being ambiguous are not totally out of line, however, the most common interpretations are; Read right to left and rotate 180 degrees.

24. OSSO as in “osso buco” is really the only common word that qualifies as correct.