How Lewis Carroll's 'Syzygy' Puzzles Worked (Infographic)
The author of the Alice books was also a fan of clever word puzzles and logic games.
Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist
In addition to his famous creations portrayed in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Lewis Carroll was known for his fondness of word puzzles and logic games.
 
In 1879, Carroll noted in his diary that he had created a new type of word puzzle he called “syzygies.” The objective was to turn one word into another by changing letters according to logical rules. For example, “walrus” can be turned into “carpenter,” like so:
 
walrus
(rus)
peruse
(per)
harper 
(arpe)
carpenter
 
When two words both contain the same set of one or more consecutive letters, a “syzygy” is formed. A set of four or more words with syzygies between every two is called a “chain,”  with each word between the two end words called a “link.”
 
Here are some more of Carroll’s syzygy puzzles, as they appeared in a pamphlet published in 1893:
 
(1) OH DO!
 
(2) INDULGE an IDIOSYNCRASY
 
(3) Make BULLETS of LEAD
 
(4) Reconcile DOG to CAT
 
(5) COOK the DINNER
 
(6) Lay KNIFE by FORK
 
(7) CONVERSE CHEERFULLY
 
(8) SPREAD the BANQUET
 
(9) WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
 
(10) DEMAND a CORMORANT

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