Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Friday and I work for Google

Today, on my own time, I have devised a variation on the Word Morph game.

In the Word Morph game, you start with a word and try to transform it into another word of the same length by changing one letter at a time. Another real word must be the result of any letter-change. For example,

Transform MISS to HITS.


Simple. Notice that the words are short, usually less than five letters.

Now suppose, you can either add a letter or subtract a letter, instead of changing a letter. This variation of the game allows words of different lengths to be morphed into each other.

How is the game to be played? An assumption is made that everybody has access to a gadget that will check the degrees of separation between any two words and then show the solution. If any. It is recognized that there may not be a solution for a given pair of words. In either case, with the gadget, it is a trivial matter to solve the puzzle, or demonstrate that there is no solution.

The game, then, will be played by searching for word-pairs that have solutions. It's a process of discovery. Many, if not most, word-pairs will have no solution. Solutions for big words and for words of different lengths will, therefore, be sought as holy grails. Elegant solutions and those having interesting word-plays will be prized.

A further variation of the game, which could become an area of research by serious word mongers, is one which would allow multiple words, phrases or sentences to be morphed into other words, phrases or sentences.

The game will be endlessly fascinating, because a general solution for even modest languages would require a computer bigger than the Earth.

But not bigger than the Solar System.


Tin said...

Why a BIG computer? I can see needing a FAST one, but in my experience computer size is overrated.

Larry Blumen said...


I think you're right about that. Years ago, I had a computer that was about the size of a washing machine, and it didn't do diddly.

Nice to hear from you again.