Article Title

Non-Crashing Word Sets


Jeff Grant


In a December 1981 letter, the editor of Word Ways proposed the following challenge:

The September/October 1981 issue of Games magazine sponsored a contest to find the maximum number of four-letter mutually non-crashing words in boldface in Webster's Third (or inferred plurals of boldface). To my surprise, the winner came up with 21 words: abbe, baff, cleg, djin, eddy, frum, gnaw, huzz, isn't, jowl, Kthu, Lvov, myth, Omsk, PFCs, repp, skyr, Tchi, upgo, vild, Xtra. I'm now wondering if, with all the weird spellings in the OED, whether that dictionary might be used as a single source to equal or exceed this record.