This is a variation on the old word ladder puzzle. The object is to change WHOLE to HEART by either adding or subtracting one letter at a time, making a new, common, uncapitalized word at each step.
For example, you can change RED to ROSE in five steps. Starting with RED, you could add a U, making RUED; drop the D, leaving RUE; add an S, making RUSE; add an O, making ROUSE, and then drop the U, leaving ROSE.
Changing or rearranging letters is not allowed, neither are plurals or verbs formed by adding -S. No word in the chain can have fewer than three letters.
How many steps are needed to change WHOLE to HEART? I have my best answer. We'll compare results next week.
And here's the NPR Contact Us form, so you can send your word ladder whizzing through the ether to clatter at the feet of the current Hapless Unpaid Intern.
You wrote such lovely things about this blog and us in your comments to Thursday's announcement that we're stopping. We thank you. No, really, we thank YOU, because it's been so much more fun to feel that there's a community here, and not just a vacuum. Thank you for all the ranges picked, photos requested, hints obscured, and so forth.
My thanks--and sadly I can't do everyone--go as follows. For Mendo Jim, I thank you for being our "curmudgeon." Here's a curmudgeonly photo (and a fascinating rant about invasive species in California):
For David, who would have parked himself at 1001-1050 forever if it hadn't become completely obvious that we rarely see a thousand entries these days, I give you a photo of "consistent."
For legolambda, here is a "puzzle" (I checked; they didn't have any photos for "puzzleria"):
For Maggie Strasser, here's a photo for "good guess":
For Margaret G., I have a photo for "anonymous":
For B. Haven, here's "behaving":
For Joe Kupe, who seemed always to be the last guess in our Pick a Range game, here's "latecomer":
And for everyone else, a simple...
Oh, and the magic number this week was 410. I won the Pick a Range! Whoo-hoo!!