SpecGram—Transform Puzzles III—The Final Showdown—Jonathan van der Meer
Transform Puzzles III
The Final Showdown
Jonathan van der Meer
l’École de SpecGram, London
Finishing out the theme of Quasi-Linguistic Pseudo-Anglic Puzzleness,
the SpecGram Puzzle ElvesTM have concocted one last batch of Transform Puzzles—for the Final Showdown!
Transform Puzzles II:|
“Now with Enhanced Sound!”
Hall of Fame
Princeton, New Jersey
The basic goal of Transform Puzzles is to transform one English word into another, one letter at a time, where each intermediate form is also an English word. For example, dog → cog → cot → cat.
We sometimes have word pairs of different lengths, and allow either deletions or additions for a given pair. We even have some word triplets. Each transformation (from the first word to the second, and from the second to the third) must follow the rules and guidelines for normal pairwise transformations. There will be no phonetic transformations this time.
The Previous Puzzle
There were a number of solutions submitted for the previous Transform Puzzle. I have abandoned my earlier unbiased algorithm for comparing each competitor’s submissions, taking into account the transformation length, rarity of words used, the relative difficulty of each puzzle, and the number and relative quality of each participant’s solutions; I’m just winging it this time. The equitable and objective outcome is set forth in order of overall impressiveness in the Hall of Fame at right. The Winners will each receive a SpecGram magnet of their choosing.
Below are some examples of the better solutions, along with minimal analysis by yours trēowlīce. Note the trend to play fast and loose with diphthongs, syllabic consonants, and semi-vowels. This is apparently not a game for the overly ethical.
In addition, I’ve tossed in the choicest of the unacceptable answers for your merriment:
- cow → now → not → net → bet → beet → beef (sound & spelling, by Trey Jones)
- hate → late → lave → love (sound & spelling, by Sara Kessler and Siva Kalyan)
- pizza → pita → peat → pot → pie (sound, by Siva Kalyan)
- king → kin → keen → queen (sound, by Siva Kalyan)
- yin → bin → ban → bang → yang (sound & spelling, by Sara Kessler and Richard Benham)
- tense → tens → ten → tan → tax → lax (sound & spelling, Scott Horne)
- witch → winch → wench → bench → beach → brach → broch → brock → brook → broom (short obscure spelling, by Trey Jones)
- witch → winch → wench → bench → beach → peach → peace → place → plane → plank → blank → bland → blond → blood → brood → broom (long familiar spelling, by Scott Horne)
- witch → rich → rim → room → broom (sound, by Sara Kessler)
- sweet → sweat → swear → sear → soar → sour (spelling, Sara Kessler and Richard Benham)
- sweet → skeet → scout → scour → sour (sound, by Trey Jones)
- weasel → teasel → teaser → tenser → tender → lender → lander → sander → sawder → sawyer → lawyer (spelling, by Richard Benham)
- lawyer → layer → sayer → shyer → shier → shirr → shirk → shark (spelling, by Richard Benham)
- weasel → wheedle → weeder → wider → wire → lier → lawyer (sound, by Sara Kessler)
- lawyer → liar → like → lark → shark (sound, by Siva Kalyan)
- ice → ace → ate → late → later → water (spelling, by Sara Kessler)
- water → later → layer → sayer → shyer → sheer → steer → steel → steal → steam (spelling, by Richard Benham)
- ice → lice → light → lighter → whiter → water (sound, by Trey Jones)
- water → whiter → whiner → wined → wound → sound → soured → stirred → steed → steam (sound, by Trey Jones)
- 阴 → 阳 (A Chinese orthographic solution for yin → yang, by Scott Horne. Clearly this game is no fun at all in Chinese.)
cow → ME cou → OE cū → Gmc kwō → IE root *gwou- → L. bouem, acc. of bōs → ML bovem → OF buef → ME boef → beef
(An etymological solution, submitted by Editor Emeritus Tim Pulju, with the comment, “This one is better, ja?” Yes, Dr. Pulju, much better than last time! Rightest Wrong Answer Ever!)
The New Puzzle
This time we have ten word pairs and one word triplet. Some of the puzzles are cleverly related. There are also three homonym pairs for your diversion (hence no phonetic transformations this time). There are also four pairs where each item is the other reversed. If you are a Transform Puzzle Master, you may try for completely palindromic solutions. As a trivial example, reified → deified → deifier.
Sensible solutions that do not necessitate too many searches in the OED may be qualified for a prize—a SpecGram magnet. You may offer up to two solutions for each pair or triplet. If there are any suitable solutions, one or more winners will be selected, and one or more prizes will be given away.
To sum up: shorter solutions with fewer rare words are better. Use of proper names will be penalized. Solutions may not mix additions and deletions. A big bonus will be given for completely palindromic solutions to any of the four reversal pairs.
Under no circumstances will hig or hih be considered an acceptable part of any solution—I know what you’re thinking, and it is not allowed. If you can think up some suitable solutions, email them to SpecGam by August 15th, 2008. Sample solutions and prize winners will be made known in a forthcoming issue.
Your task for this puzzle contest:
- transform hi into high
- transform new into gnu
- transform bare into bear
- transform Sapir into Whorf
- transform star into rats
- transform repel into leper
- transform snoops into spoons
- transform deliver into reviled
- transform night into day
- transform right into left
- transform pollen into honey
and honey into bee
||An Interpreter’s Dictionary of Linguistic Argumentation—Psammeticus Press
||SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 3 Contents