Transform Puzzles II
Now With Enhanced Sound!
Jonathan van der Meer
l’École de SpecGram, London
Continuing with the theme of Quasi-Linguistic Pseudo-Anglic Puzzleness
the SpecGram Puzzle Elves™ have concocted another batch of Transform Puzzles—now with Enhanced Sound!
Transform Puzzles I:|
“Vaguely Linguistic Transforms”
Hall of Fame
Hanover, New Hampshire
Princeton, New Jersey
Use vs. “Mention”
David J. Peterson
Garden Grove, California
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.
As a simple improvement, we offered word pairs of different lengths, and added deletions and additions to the repertoire of acceptable transformations.
That improvement was apparently too simple, since several crafty folks found ways to exploit it. Adding and deleting letters, even in word pairs of the same length, opens up many more opportunities. This time we are restricting the class of acceptable transformations to allow additions or deletions, but not both.
To compensate, we are extravagantly and recklessly expanding the class of acceptable transformations to include phonemic transformations. Please note, each transformation must be either entirely phonemic or orthographic, not mixed (though extra credit will be given for a single transformation that can function as both). Phonemic transformations should be monodialectal, and preference will be given to well documented varieties of English. Phonemic transformations may include IPA or some other guide to pronunciation, but must include the normal written form of each word in the transformation.
We are also expanding the class of puzzles to include 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.
The Previous Puzzle
There were a record number of solutions submitted for the previous Transform Puzzle, complicating the already difficult judging process. After careful consideration, and much wringing of hands and wrangling of equations, I arrived at an impartial method for weighing each participant’s submissions, taking into account the transformation length, unnecessary additions and deletions, rarity of words used, the relative difficulty of each puzzle, and the number and relative quality of each participant’s solutions.
The fair and balanced results are presented in order of general awesomeness in the Hall of Fame above at right. The Winners will each receive a SpecGram magnet of their choosing. So will the Honorable Mentions. What’s the difference, you ask? Fame! Honor! Glory! Pride! Respect! In other words, not all that much.
Below are some samples of the better solutions, along with some commentary by yours truly.
I’ve also thrown in the best of the worst solutions for your amusement:
- oral → coral → coal → coil → boil → bail → basil → basal → nasal
(by Trey Jones; note the extra deletion from coral to coal)
- oral → coral → conal → canal → banal → basal → nasal
(by Jonathan van der Meer; no extra deletions or additions)
- langue → mangue → mange → marge → mage → page → pare → parle → parole
(by Richard Benham; this was originally submitted as a solution in French—which is both très drôle and verboten—but all the words checked out in English, too. Score one for the Norman invasion!)
- langue → mangue → mangle → hangle → hangee → hanged → banged → barged → barges → parges → pargos → pareos → pareus → parous → parols → parole
(by Trey Jones; no extra deletions or additions, though it is verrrry loooooooong, and exceedingly abstruse.)
- form → farm → fare → fate → sate → sati → satin → sating → saving → waving → weaving → weaning → meaning
(by Scott Horne; no deletions!)
- form → fore → bore → borne → borine → boring → borning → morning → moaning → meaning
(by Jonathan van der Meer; shorter, with weirder words.)
- Spec → sped → seed → seem → seam → team → tram → Gram
(by Trey Jones, Scott Horne, and Jonathan van der Meer; clearly there is no better.)
- lingo → ling → ring → rang → range → rage → age → ago → argo → argon → jargon
(by Christina Castedo; note the three extra deletions.)
- lingo → pingo → pinto → panto → panton → parton → parson → arson → argon → jargon
(by Trey Jones; note one extra deletion, but no word is shorter than the original. So what if this one was impossible: sue me.)
- words → wards → wands → wends → weeds → deeds
(by Scott Horne and Jonathan van der Meer; perfection.)
- words → woods → woads → roads → reads → reeds → deeds
(by Sara Kessler; excellent, just a little heavy on the woads.)
- Bantu → banty → panty → party → parts → paris → saris → sarin → satin → Latin
(by Richard Benham; paris is semi-dodgy; Webster’s 1913 has it as a common noun, but just barely.)
- Bantu → battu → batts → bates → sates → satis → satin → Latin
(by Trey Jones; more obscure words and OED look ups.)
- NLP → alp → all → ally → rally → really → realty → reality
(by Jonathan van der Meer, and very close to a solution by Scott Horne, who used tall → tally instead of more obscure ally.)
- NLP → nap → rap → rape → tape → tale → tall → tally → rally → really → realty → reality
(by Kristin Kopf; monotonically increasing word length, and all common words!)
- lingo → ling → lin → in → I → a → ag → ago → argo → argon → jargon
(by Scott Horne; way too many deletions—very clever though. Nominated for Best Abuse of the Rules.)
- Bantu → Southern Bantoid → Bantoid → Benue-Congo → Volta-Congo → Atlantic-Congo → Niger-Congo → Niger-Kordofanian → Niger-Saharan → World → Borean → Nostratic → Eurasiatic → Indo-European → Italic → Latino-Faliscan → Latin
(a genetic affiliation-based “solution”, submitted jointly by Merritt Greenberg and Joseph Ruhlen; Nominated for Least Relevant to Real Life, a title they’ve won before elsewhere.)
- dog → bog → bod → yod → cod → cad → bad → bed → bud → bid → bit → zit → kit → kin → fin → gin → git → nit → wit → fit → hit → hat → bat → but → bet → bot → bow → box → boy → bob → fob → fog → jog → log → lag → bag → gag → hag → sag → jag → jug → bug → dug → hug → lug → mug → pug → rug → tug → tag → wag → nag → nog → cog → hog → hot → dot → got → jot → lot → not → pot → pom → poo → coo → goo → loo → moo → too → toe → woe → roe → roo → boo → bop → hop → fop → pop → pow → pox → pod → rod → rot → tot → cot → sot → sat → fat → mat → mut → mud → dud → duo → quo → qua → pua → put → pat → rat → vat → cat
(Submitted by Editor Emeritus Tim Pulju, with the comment, "One hundred
transitions! That is very long, ja?" Yes, Dr. Pulju, yes, it is. Sadly nominated for Missed the Point by the Widest Mark.)
This time we have eight word pairs and two word triplets. Reasonable solutions that do not require too many lookups in the OED may be eligible for a prize—a SpecGram magnet. You may submit two solutions of each type (phonemic or orthographic) for each pair or triplet. If there are any good solutions, one or more winners will be chosen, and one or more prizes will be awarded.
To sum up: shorter solutions with fewer rare words are better. Use of proper names will be penalized. Solutions may not mix phonemic and orthographic transformations, nor additions and deletions.
If you can come up with a few decent solutions, email them to SpecGam by June 15th, 2008. Solutions and prize winners will be revealed in the upcoming July 2008 issue.
Sample solutions will be provided in that issue, along with a final round of lexicon-bruising transforms.
Your task for this puzzle contest (Hint: some are easier orthographically, some phonemically):
- transform cow into beef
- transform pizza into pie
- transform king into queen
- transform witch into broom
- transform yin into yang
- transform hate into love
- transform tense into lax
- transform sweet into sour
- transform ice into water
and water into steam
- transform weasel into lawyer
and lawyer into shark
||Linguistics for Lazy People—Psammeticus Press
||SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 1 Contents