day 38 – word ladders

Word ladders are Lewis Carroll’s idea. You start with a word and change only one letter at a time to reach another given word. Each rung must form a new word. If the start word and the end word are opposites, this is called a word doublet.

For example, you can change LOOP to POOL, and WARM to COLD, in only 4 moves. You can get from FIND to LOSE, and LOVE to HATE, in 5 moves. It will take you something like 15 moves to get from LARGE to SMALL. A scrap of paper and a pencil or biro is all you need. Racing each other is fun.

As a variation, especially if you’re working together, make a ladder with no end word in mind – just make as many words as you can.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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