Friday, June 12, 2009

Wordplay for the Weekend

It's no secret that our Mr. Marsh is a fan of Lewis Carroll, the Victorian children's author and inventor of ingenious puzzles. One of Carroll's puzzles was the "doublet." In his own words:

"The rules of the Puzzle are simple enough. Two words are proposed, of the same length; and the Puzzle consists in linking these together by interposing other words, each of which shall differ from the next word in one letter only. That is to say, one letter may be changed in one of the given words, then one letter in the word so obtained, and so on, till we arrive at the other given word. The letters must not be interchanged among themselves, but each must keep to its own place.

"As an example, the word 'head' may be changed into 'tail' by interposing the words 'heal, teal, tell, tall.' I call the two given words 'a Doublet,' the interposed words 'Links,' and the entire series 'a Chain,' of which I here append an example:

h e a l
t e a l
t e l l
t a l l

"It is, perhaps, needless to state that it is de rigueur that the links should be English words, such as might be used in good society."

Here is a selection of Lewis Carroll's doublets that Mr. Marsh brought in for us to solve. If your local Sunday paper has gone the way of the Borogove, you can try these instead of the crossword!

Drive PIG into STY using 4 Links.

Raise FOUR to FIVE using 6 Links.

Make WHEAT into BREAD using 6 Links.

Dip PEN into INK using 5 Links.

Touch CHIN with NOSE using 5 Links.

Change TEARS into SMILE using 5 Links.

1 comment:

Clint Marsh said...

Wot larks! You'll want to say that there can be more than one way to get to the final word. For example, with that first one, "PIG into STY," Carroll solved it with "PIG, wig, wag, way, say, STY." But when I went to solve it just now, I did so with "PIG, pit, sit, sat, say, STY."