At the MIT Mystery Hunt, which begins this Friday, solvers will spend a lot of time staring at lists of words. Each list may seem like a random assortment (FLEMINGS, DOGHOUSE, READING, DUCHIES, UNSHORN…), but in fact each list has been carefully put together to be a puzzle. (Hey! You can change two letters in each word to make the name of a creature out of Lewis Carroll! FLAMINGO, DORMOUSE, RED KING, DUCHESS, UNICORN.) Once you figure out the key to each list, you’ll generally arrive at an answer word or phrase, which is always a huge and satisfying leap forward in the Hunt.
Below are five words. Just like in the Mystery Hunt, these five words are a puzzle. Unlike in the Mystery Hunt, however, these words were not carefully selected. Indeed, this random assortment really was chosen completely at random. I used a random number generator (this one, if you’re curious) and an abridged dictionary so we didn’t get anything too crazy.
Despite the fact that these words that do not belong together in any conceivable way, I’m going to ask you to pretend that these words comprise a puzzle… and solve it. That’s the game of Spaghetti.
Your five words:
You have the option of adding a sixth word to this list, of your choosing. Figure out the “solution” to these words and put it in the comments — along, of course, with your detailed explanation of why your solution is correct. Check back every so often to read the other solutions, because the winner will be determined by vote: If you enjoy a particular explanation, be sure to click the Like button. We’ll have a wrapup of the best answers tomorrow, along with one more game.
Happy solving! Or, well, maybe solving isn’t exactly the right word for this…
Update: Just to clarify, you can vote for as many or as few solutions as you wish, and you certainly don’t have to submit your own answer before voting for somebody else.