Article Title

A Word Stair Contest


Roger Hannahs


A sequence of letters forms a word stair if each set of n consecutive letters in it forms a word: for example, a 16-space word stair of three letter words is WASHERAYETAGEMUD (was, ash, she, ... , emu, mud) from the May 1970 Kickshaws. In its May/June 1978 issue, the magazine Games sponsored a contest based on a generalization of the word stair. It allowed words of any length and any degree of overlap to be formed out of the letter sequence: for example, a 12-space generalized word stair is WORDUPSTAIRS (word, dups, upstair, stairs). More specifically, the contst objective was to construct a 20-space generalized word stair out of words taken from the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, Third Edition, the winning entry being the one with the greatest total of letters in the words used.