Rex Gooch


This article responds to the challenge posed by Susan Thorpe on page 212 of the August 2001 issue of Word Ways. We seek a word that still produces valid words when the first letter is replaced by A, and when the second letter is replaced by B, etc. However, much of this article is taken up with two generalizations. The first is to examine other word lengths. In the second, we depart from the concept of invariance, in which the position of a letter in the word is the same as its position in the alphabet, and merely require that successive positions in the words be occupied by successive letter of the alphabet. All words are in the OED or Webster 2, except those marked Ch (Chambers), EDD (English Dialect Dictionary), Lo (Longman), OSPD (Official Scrabble Players Dictionary), Pull (Pulliam). Pname = personal name, and vf = OED variant form.