The pernicious influence of puzzles (Almost an hour wasted on this so far...)

Got an email today telling me about a TTC puzzle to try and find ~70 English words (no-abbreviations, proper names, contractions, etceteras) formed from just the letters in "TRANSIT". I've got 54 so far (stop reading if you want to try the puzzle yourself):

a, I,
an, it, is, at, in, as, nit,
tan, sit, tin, rat, sin, ran, sir, tit, tar, sat, ant, art, (its?), nits,
rant, tart, tans, tits, tins, rats, tars, rain, star, ants, arts, tint, tsar, tarn, snit,
tarts, rants, train, trait, rains, satin, start, sitar, tints, tarns,
trains, traits, stint,
strait, strain

And that will teach you peddlers of such puzzles to send them to poor Mikeys who are trying to get work done. Oh, and before anyone tells me, yes, it's a trivial task to automate finding the answers to such problems, the fun is in the doing, not the answer.


  1. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/15/2004 3:07 p.m. #

    The puzzle pusher tells me that her rather ahem non-standard dictionary includes "ar" as a word meaning "r". I've granted her the word as "Ar, me mateys", but I stand firm to on my "that's ridiculous" ruling for the 'r' meaning.

  2. x

    x on 06/16/2004 1:34 a.m. #

    Actually that's "har". That's all.

  3. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 11:17 a.m. #

    Hmm, just realised that stair isn't in the list yet!

  4. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 11:22 a.m. #

    Or stir, for that matter.

  5. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 11:27 a.m. #

    Had to check that this one really is a word, and my dictionary says it's "A Spenserian form" of race/raze, which wasn't what I was expecting... still... it's a word: rast ... okay, enough of this silliness.

  6. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 12:35 p.m. #

    tat, as in "tit for tat", meaning IIRC a tap or hit. Also, and I had to check that this really is a word "tait" (and no, it doesn't mean 'tater). Waiting for database operations to complete is a surprisingly "creative" time.

  7. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 10:34 p.m. #

    sarin (as in the deadly gas)... I think that makes 60 so far (plus the puzzler's disqualified "ar")

  8. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/16/2004 10:36 p.m. #

    Oh, knock off the n and you get sari (Indian woman's garment).

  9. Rew

    Rew on 08/13/2004 12:33 a.m. #

    Hi: if you're still running this post, I have a few additions that might be useful: since you've used some Indian terms like 'sitar' (unless you meant "sytar"?), you can add 'rani' (Indian Queen and other meanings). If you like British terms (they show up in the OED at least): 'ta' (as in "bye") and 'ait' (as in small island). If you enjoy Italian white wine, you may think of 'asti'. You had 'tan' but I didn't see 'tans' or 'tanist', so they may add to your list. People are always forgetting to breath correctly, so no wonder we won't think of a word like 'air' to put on the list (and possibly we could cheat a bit and add 'airs', as in "wait until the stink airs out of those dirty shirts")?).<br />
    'Trans-' and 'it's' might be fair additions, especially since 'trans-' is used very commonly in slang and even in medicine (we can add 'STAT' if we're adding medical terms, too). 'Titan' and 'titan' are good words to use. You could aslo use 'instar' (a term that refers to sub-stages in insect metamorphosis) and 'astir' (as in when you wake up).<br />
    So hopefully you'll find my weird suggestions useful in your quest: pehaps I've been a lexical saint (hint, hint, 'saint' also works for the list). I've missed a few, I think, since I had a list of 85 words when I actually made my first attempt. Maybe I used 'IRS', since it comes readily to mind, but I'm not sure it would check out in standard dictionaries. Anyway, I hope this is useful information: nice job on finding 'sarin': I think you're right on that one, it just never entered my mind when I did my first list a week or so ago. Anyway, I stumbled on your post because I was stumbling along looking for other people's answers, just to see what would pop up. Peace,<br />

  10. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 08/13/2004 1:21 p.m. #

    Lot of nice ones. Think the challenge said English only (we took that to mean "in an English dictionary", but with caveats that we weren't accepting e.g. Welsh words that just happened to show up in the dictionary... basically only accepting foreign words that are commonly used in North-American English).<br />
    <br />
    Trans and stat are abbreviations AFAIK, IRS definitely is.<br />
    <br />
    Tans is actually in the first list (they're arranged by word-length, btw). Tanist is very good. Never would have thought of that myself. "ta" is one we'd left out as slang. <br />
    <br />
    Titan... don't know how we missed that, but I think it would only count as one (we weren't counting upper/lowercase variations as separate words).<br />
    <br />
    Astir, missed that, good one.<br />
    <br />
    Instar... never heard of it, very nice.<br />
    <br />
    I'd certainly accept airs, if for no other reason than that I'm embarrassed to have missed "air" :) . Thanks for all the words. I'll pass them along to the puzzle pusher.

  11. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 08/16/2004 9:36 a.m. #

    Puzzle-pusher passes on that the word-a-day list says "stat" is *not* an abbreviation.

  12. Honey

    Honey on 11/30/2005 10:19 p.m. #

    am I blind?? or is stain not on your list? woz the second word i thought of :-S and now thinking i shouldn't delve too deep or i won't make it back to your poetry :-)

  13. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 11/30/2005 11:40 p.m. #

    Egadzooks! You're right! Hard to believe we missed it with strain staring us in the face.

  14. Honey

    Honey on 12/01/2005 4:47 a.m. #

    so hows about 'taint' and 'taints' (yipes now i have marilyn manson singing in my head). sorry, i'm too lazy to do the puzzle myself.

  15. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 12/01/2005 6:32 p.m. #

    Doing pretty well, actually... wait a minute, I remember this puzzle now... are you just reading them off of the post where we used the computer program to find them?<br />
    <br />

  16. Honey

    Honey on 12/02/2005 4:29 a.m. #

    ah no, but wish i had now :-D...what was that? calls.

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