Scaling or Descending the Word LadderWord ladders are fun and simple word puzzles, but they can be very tricky to solve.
The puzzle is accredited to Lewis Carroll, the writer and logician, famous for Alice In Wonderland. Like all good puzzles, the aim is very simple, but the solution may be difficult to come by. Unlike many puzzles, there are often multiple ways of solving a word ladder - this is a feature of the puzzle and not a flaw. Therefore you may well often find an alternative route to a word ladder solution than the one suggested by the publisher.
Generally proper nouns are banned in word ladders, so you couldn't use the name of a person for instance in your solution, nor that of a place. Typically this is followed by all major publications when it comes to word ladders.
If you get stuck solving a word ladder, then there are two possible approaches that might help. The first is to work from the end to the start (or vice-versa); most people work from the start to the end but if that isn't bearing fruit it can be worth changing your angle of attack.
The second is to adopt a systematic approach, and try substituting each letter until you get close to a solution: start by substituting the first letter in the word and go as far as you can; if that doesn't work try to substitute the second letter of the word then try again and so on, until you find a solution.
Related puzzlesHidden Word Puzzle, Kriss Kross, Word Wheels, Wordsearch
Last updated: 05 Jun 2013
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