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Posers and Puzzles

Posers and Puzzles

  1. Standard member talzamir
    Art, not a Toil
    05 Nov '11 15:49
    Find the shortest path from the start word to the end word. Every word between the two needs to be valid. You may replace a letter, delete a letter, or add a letter.

    e.g.

    CAT -> COT -> COG -> DOG
    WHEAT -> HEAT -> HEAD -> HEED -> REED -> BREED -> BREAD

    A few challenges that look doable:
    LEAD -> GOLD
    WORK -> GOLF
    BOY -> MAN
    KISS -> LOVE
    KING -> MATE
    BLACK -> WHITE
    RANK -> FILE
    WAR -> PEACE
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's about respect
    05 Nov '11 16:33
    Originally posted by talzamir
    Find the shortest path from the start word to the end word. Every word between the two needs to be valid. You may replace a letter, delete a letter, or add a letter.

    e.g.

    CAT -> COT -> COG -> DOG
    WHEAT -> HEAT -> HEAD -> HEED -> REED -> BREED -> BREAD

    A few challenges that look doable:
    LEAD -> GOLD
    WORK -> GOLF
    BOY -> MAN
    KISS -> LOVE
    KING -> MATE
    BLACK -> WHITE
    RANK -> FILE
    WAR -> PEACE
    BOY TOY TON TAN MAN
  3. 05 Nov '11 16:56
    Originally posted by talzamir
    Find the shortest path from the start word to the end word. Every word between the two needs to be valid. You may replace a letter, delete a letter, or add a letter.

    LEAD -> GOLD
    WORK -> GOLF
    BOY -> MAN
    KISS -> LOVE
    KING -> MATE
    BLACK -> WHITE
    RANK -> FILE
    WAR -> PEACE
    LEAD ->
    LOAD -> GOAD
    (2) -> GOLD
    WORK ->
    WOK -> WOO -> WOOF -> WOLF
    (4) -> GOLF - and I can get that one two steps shorter if
    Star Trek Klingons
    are allowed.
    RANK ->
    RINK -> PINK -> PINE -> FINE
    (4) -> FILE
    WAR ->
    PAR -> PARE -> PACE
    (3) -> PEACE

    I suspect there is no pair of words which cannot be done as long as you allow adding and removing letters. For one, you could always go down to "A" and back up to the target. But here's a nice secondary problem: is there a pair of words which cannot be done if you allow only adding or removing letters, not both?
    Or if that's too strong: how about only allowing adding letters until your step is as long as the longer word, or removing letters until it's as short as the shortest? IOW, in (say) NO -> SURE, allow removing letters from three- or four-letter words, but not from two-letter ones, and adding to three- or two-letter words, but not to four-letter ones?
    I'm really not sure if there is an impossible pair under either restriction, but I do believe that there has to be one under the former, at least.

    Richard
  4. Standard member talzamir
    Art, not a Toil
    05 Nov '11 17:12
    The first version I thought of was to use replacement only, so that's one more variant in addition to yours.

    The requirement that the words in between are also valid makes some combinations challenging. For chess lovers, PAWN -> QUEEN is fairly obvious.. but how to do it? Admittedly, it's hard enough on the chessboard too.
  5. 18 Nov '11 23:42 / 1 edit
    Here are a couple of new solutions, and a couple improvements on ones already posted.

    WORK WORD WOLD WOLF GOLF
    BOY BAY BAN MAN
    KISS MISS MOSS LOSS LOSE LOVE
    KING KINE MINE MANE MATE
    BLACK SLACK SACK SAC SAT SIT WIT WHIT WHITE
    RANK RINK FINK FINE FILE

    I have to say that PAWN->QUEEN looks nearly impossible, though.
  6. 18 Nov '11 23:45
    Just saw another improvement:

    KISS LISS LOSS LOSE LOVE
  7. 19 Nov '11 00:06
    Here's a fun one: In the movie "The Blob", an amoebic creature comes out of an asteroid.

    Turn ROCK into BLOB.
  8. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    19 Nov '11 00:35 / 1 edit
    ROCK ->
    BOCK -> BOOK -> BOOB
    -> BLOB

    I think that's as fast as you can do it, 4 letters, 4 changes.
  9. 25 Nov '11 01:51
    Yes, forkedknight, although (this being a chess place) I was thinking of

    ROCK ROOK BOOK BOOB BLOB

    Same length, but it has "rook" in it. <grin>
  10. 26 Nov '11 14:55 / 1 edit
    The problem with PAWN -> QUEEN is undoubtedly the Q. How do you get it in there? You need a pretty awkward word that already has the U.

    My Scrabble Dictionary allows UEY (a U-turn) and QUEY (a heifer) but UEY is a pretty rubbish looking word that I object to on principle!

    SUINT (something to do with lanolin?) to SQUINT looks more promising. SUINT may be ten kinds of obscure but I'm happier classifying it as a "real word".

    So I think it's going to be a pretty long chain, most of which will have little to do with the starting word or the target. But I'd be surprised if there were many combinations which are completely impossible.
  11. 26 Nov '11 15:08 / 2 edits
    Actually, now I've written it down, QUEY -> QUEEN is pretty easy. (QUEY QUERY QUERN QUEEN)

    So something like PAWN FAWN FAN FEN FEY UEY QUEY QUERY QUERN QUEEN

    That might even be the fastest possible.

    But I still don't like UEY!
  12. 26 Nov '11 23:47 / 7 edits
    Hmm if uey is no good, how about quit->suit? or squit->suit?
    e.g.

    queen
    quern (a stone for grinding by hand)
    query
    quey (a heifer)
    quay
    quat (a drug)
    quit
    suit
    spit
    spat
    pat
    paw
    pawn

    or quin->ruin
    queen
    quern
    query
    quey
    quay
    quat
    quin (a quintuplet)
    ruin
    rain
    pain
    pawn
  13. 27 Nov '11 02:46
    Oh I was overthinking it. I totally overlooked Quit/Suit or other similar pairs.

    I also didn't realise QUAT was a word. So you may as well go...

    QUEEN
    QUERN
    QUERY
    QUEY
    QUAY
    QUAT
    QAT
    PAT
    PAW
    PAWN

    Also apparently QUEYN is a word, which cuts out a step at the other end by going directly between QUEEN and QUEY. No idea what it means - probably some Spenserian nonsense or something similar.

    But if it's allowed that would make 8 steps in total. I wonder if that can be improved upon...
  14. 27 Nov '11 17:14
    Originally posted by richmcd
    I also didn't realise QUAT was a word.
    It isn't, really. The drug is properly written...

    ...
    QUAT
    QAT


    ...thus. No 'u'. Apparently it's pronounced with a guttural rather than a velar 'k', and not with a 'w'-sound after it.

    Also apparently QUEYN is a word, which cuts out a step at the other end by going directly between QUEEN and QUEY. No idea what it means - probably some Spenserian nonsense or something similar.

    A variation on queen or quean, I suspect. It's not in my OED. I know "queynte" from Chaucer, but that doesn't count.

    Richard