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.