### A word challenge

One of the highlights of my Sunday mornings is listening to "Weekend Edition Sunday" on NPR, and the highlight of that show, to me, is Will Shortz (former editor of Games Magazine, now New York Times Crossword Editor) and his weekly puzzle. I think I've played along for about 15 years now. (Jeez, where does the time go?)

One of Will's puzzles Way Back When has stuck in my head for well over a decade. I didn't get the answer at the time, but I've fought with it off and on since then (who, me, OCD? Nah.), looking for other solutions.

It's a word puzzle. Think of a four-letter word (no, not one of THOSE four-letter words). Then replace the first letter with a different letter and form a new word. Do that to each letter in turn from the original letter, and make four new words (all common words, found in any dictionary).

The answer Will provided was "COOT," with "L" being the key letter. By replacing the letters in "COOT" with an L, you get LOOT, CLOT, COLT, and COOL.

In the intervening years, I've found two more words that work as well. I'm not telling what they are, though -- I want to see if the Wizbang readers can find them -- or others -- without my help.

I'll post an update in a day or so, listing my own solutions if no one else has hit on them.

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take too long. Dave and Johnny did indeed nail my two answers -- "GOAD" (with "L") and "TEAM" (with "R").
I've often said that the blogosphere is collectively smarter than any of us, but this time my nose got really rubbed into it. I spent a LOT of time trying to find those two; you folks got them in less than 10 hours.

Boot is one. Using an L yo... (Below threshold)

Boot is one. Using an L you get Loot, Blot, Bolt and Bool (a reserved word indicating a boolean value in programming).

Wouldn't it have been easie... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't it have been easier to make the last one BOOK?

Nevermind, I decided to rea... (Below threshold)

Nevermind, I decided to read the rules. Won't work.

Bool doesn't count; it's an... (Below threshold)

Bool doesn't count; it's an abbreviation of Boolean. Besides, we are looking for common English words, not programming commands.

i looked it up in the dicti... (Below threshold)

i looked it up in the dictionary which is how common word is defined.

Well, first of all, the pos... (Below threshold)

Well, first of all, the post says "found in ANY dictionary." I don't have one handy to check, but I suspect "bool" is not included in simple abridged dictionaries.

And that's not how "common word" is "defined", either. The fact that they can be found in any dictionary is just another piece of information that helps to describe them. It's as if I said, "bananas, which are yellow." That doesn't mean that anything yellow is a banana.

A common word needs to be more than just included in the dictionary. It needs to be, well... common. Otherwise, you could have:

TOOT
ROOT
TROT
TORT
TOOR

Regardless, I'm guessing "bool" is not going to be involved in JayTea's two new solutions.

Here's another, with R as t... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Here's another, with R as the key letter. TEAM, REAM, TRAM, TERM, TEAR. By the way, I also have popup problems with the Matt Drudge site. I use Firefox, which is usually very good at suppressing popups, but I get the damn things anyway.

GOAD, with L as the key let... (Below threshold)
Johnny Catbird:

GOAD, with L as the key letter.

GOLD
GOAL

And I don't want to hear anyone telling me "goad" isn't a common word. It's not my fault your vocabulary is lacking.

Here's another, that's a bi... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Here's another, that's a bit more iffy than my previous one. Again, R is the key letter. CUED, RUED, CRED, CURD, CUER. I tried finding CUER in several electronic dictionaries, with no luck. However, the word seems to be in fairly wide use.
Go to: http://www.ceder.net/callerdb/view.php3?action=ftt

The term seems to be used mostly by square-dancers, but it also applies to people who help the deaf.

I think Dave and Johnny nai... (Below threshold)

I think Dave and Johnny nailed it.

COMESOMECAME<... (Below threshold)
ciaochow:

COME
SOME
CAME
CODE
COMA.

DOTE
NOTE
DATE
DOME
DOTS.

TONE
BONE
TINE
TOME
TONS.

PORK
CORK
PARK
POCK
PORE.

PILE
MILE
PALE
PIPE
PILL.

SOLE
POLE
SALE
SOME
SOLD.

this is fun.

Showoff... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

Showoff

What am I missing, ciaochow... (Below threshold)
Mark:

What am I missing, ciaochow?

I prefer "wildcard words." ... (Below threshold)

I prefer "wildcard words." A wildcard word has a vowel in it which can be replaced by any of the other 4 (standard) vowels to form another legitimate word. For example:

PAT PET PIT POT PUT

-- or --

BALL BELL BILL BOLL BULL

Most such words are short. The longest I've yet found is seven letters:

BLANDER BLENDER BLINDER BLONDER BLUNDER

TEAMREAMTRAM<... (Below threshold)
trappedinmn:

TEAM
REAM
TRAM
TERM
TEAR

Damn you, Jay!You,... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Damn you, Jay!

You, too, trappedinmn--I nearly had that one, but somehow missed it.

I blame the vicodin.

Just for fun, here's anothe... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Just for fun, here's another, if I may be allowed to use the DRACULA author's name. Jay's rules don't specifically say no proper nouns allowed, though that may have been assumed. BRAM (short for Abraham?) won't appear in most dictionaries, but the name is widely recognized. For what it's worth, with R again the key letter: BEAM, REAM, BRAM, BERM, BEAR.

Nah, I call BS on that one!... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Nah, I call BS on that one!

I tried it previously, and was hung up on Bram. I didn't connect it with a proper noun, and perhaps I should have. But sour grapes prevents me from voting in your favor here. Not that my vote ever counts around here.

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