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ZIPWORDS--AKA ALTERNADES.

In Language on Vacation, Dmitri Borgmann introduced the subject of "alternades". He gave four 9-letter examples: CALLIOPES, CHAINLETS, FLEETNESS and TRUANCIES. What makes these four words alternades is that their letters can be read in a zigzag fashion, with alternate letters spelling out genuine words or names. Thus:
CLIPS
 CANES
FETES
TUNIS
ALOE
HILT
LENS
RACE


Borgmann also provided another name for alternades--"drop-letter charades". He pointed out that there are very few first-rate 9-letter examples, and still fewer ones of greater length. He offered these 10-and 11-letter examples-SPEARHEADS, COURTLIEST and TRIENNIALLY:
SERED
 CUTIS
TINILY
PAHAS
ORLET
RENAL


Borgmann went on to explain that instead of reading each second letter of a word, there is the option of reading each third one, to create what is called a "trinade". Some of Borgmann's 9-letter examples are: ABOMINATE (AMA, BIT, ONE), DECORATED (DOT, ERE, CAD), SEPARATED (SAT, ERE, PAD) and SIMILARLY (SIR, ILL, MAY). He said that 12-letter specimens are much harder to find, and offered MANIPULATORS (MILO, APAR, NUTS) and PUTATIVENESS (PAVE, UTES, TINS).

According to the National Puzzlers League, the alternade was introduced by L'Allegro just over 100 years ago in the June 1917 edition of The Eastern Puzzler. L'Allegro was the nom (puzzling name) used by Joseph McClintock Garrison, from Pittsburgh. His very first alternade was the relatively modest 8-letter SCHOOLED (SHOE, COLD).

Wikipedia has an entry for "alternade", and offers some additional 11-letter examples: CARPETWEEDS (CREWES, APTED), CURTAIN LESS (CRANES, UTILS) and SPALLATIONS (SALTOS, PLAIN)-as obscure as some of the words may be, they are all in Webster's Third.

In this article, I am going to improve substantially on the alternades offered by Borgmann and Wikipedia. Recently, I have been investigating alternades further, with considerable input from my good Scrabble friends David Sutton (of Woodcote, Oxfordshire, England) and Chris Hawkins (of Eye, Cambridgeshire, England). Chris posted a query on Facebook asking for examples of words where alternate letters spelled out shorter words; Chris was unaware of the century-long history of alternades. As my other Scrabble friend David Sutton and I became involved, we started to use a different terminology with which to discuss alternades. We have replaced "alternades" with "zippable words" (shortened to "zipwords") where a zipword is defined as a word from which one can take letters at prescribed intervals, for a given interval, and concatenate them to produce a set of valid component words. We have called the interval the "ply". Thus, referring back to the very first alternade, SCHOOLED is a 2-ply zippable word. This updated terminology will make it easier to refer to improved examples of alternades.

David Sutton's role in our zipwords project was to carry out computerised searches of Collins Official Scrabble Words (2015 edition). As a result, he managed to find over 3500 2-ply zipwords having 4 to 11 letters. The majority of these 3500+ are of lengths 4 to 7 letters. But the longer ones, 8 and more letters, are those of most interest to the logologist. Here are 25 examples from his collection of 230 2-ply 8-letter zipwords:
bluetits
 butt
leis
countess
cuts
ones
encarpus
ecru
naps
fiascoes
face
isos
furrings
frig
urns
grounded
gone
rudd
guardees
gade
ures
hairnets
hint
ares
isleless
ills
sees
mounseer
muse
oner
obviable
oval
bibe
oghamist
ohms
gait
personae
proa
esne
pleonasm
pens
loam
psalmist
pams
slit
rainouts
riot
anus
shoalier
sole
hair
soybeans
syen
obas
stewpots
sept
twos
teosinte
toit
esne
theorems
term
hoes
triadist
tids
rait
triolets
tilt
roes
tweeness
tens
wees
weirdoes
wide
eros


As the length of zipwords increases, the number of 2-ply zipwords decreases substantially. David has unearthed 40 2-ply 9-letter zipwords. Here are all 40:
agrarians
 arras
gain
ambiances
abacs
mine
ampassies
apsis
mase
arrestees
arses
rete
ballooned
blond
aloe
bluebeats
bubas
leet
calliopes
clips
aloe
chainlets
canes
hilt
choosiest
coset
hois
collapses
class
olpe
deergrass
degas
errs
fleetness
fetes
lens
forwastes
frats
owse
furriness
fries
urns
gainliest
gilet
anis
greeniest
genet
reis
greenness
genes
rens
insensate
isnae
nest
maintains
mitis
anan
mounseers
muses
oner
peartness
pates
erns
plainness
panes
lins
priestess
pises
rets
rheumiest
remet
huis
sapiences
specs
aine
saprobial
spoil
arba
seapieces
saies
epee
seigneurs
sinus
eger
sheerness
seres
hens
smoochers
soces
mohr
speedless
sedes
pels
sphairees
shies
pare
spurnings
sunns
prig
staidness
sades
tins
stainless
sanes
tils
sternites
sents
trie
sweirness
seres
wins
teosintes
toits
esne
threeness
trees
hens
weirdness
wides
erns


David has unearthed 7 2-ply 10-letter zipwords; here are all of them:
barberries
 brere
abris
barretries
brere
artis
carpetweed *
crewe
apted
heartseeds
hated
erses
parrotries
prore
artis
peopleless
polls
epees
spallation *
salto
plain


Here are all 4 of the 2-ply 11-letter zipwords which David has found:
carpetweeds *
 crewes
apted
spallations *
saltos
plain
stoicalness
socles
tians
triennially *
tinily
renal


Asterisked (*) items have been mentioned earlier in this article, and aren't new to the world of logology. Even so, the unasterisked items are remarkable additions to the very limited collection of 10-and 11-letter examples. David has found no 2-ply zipwords longer than 11 letters.

As mentioned above, Borgmann provided some 9-and 12-letter examples of trinades. Using the new technology, trinades have become 3-ply zipwords. David Sutton has managed to find a total of 695 3-ply 9-letter zipwords. Here are 20 examples:
archaisms
 ahs
ram
cis
baseliner
ben
ale
sir
copulated
cut
ole
pad
esuriency
ern
sic
uey
facetimed
fem
ate
cid
garageman
gam
aga
ren
homelands
hen
old
mas
jugulates
jut
ule
gas
kawakawas
kaw
aka
was
lunitidal
lid
uta
nil
majorette
mot
art
jee
nanoworld
nor
awl
nod
offloaded
old
foe
fad
peasantry
pst
ear
any
resoluble
rob
ell
sue
satanical
sac
ana
til
televised
tes
eve
lid
vasovagal
vog
ava
sal
washrooms
who
arm
SOS
zopilotes
zit
ole
pos


David has managed to unearth 171 3-ply 10-letter words. Each of these breaks down to one 4letter word and two 3-letter words. Here are 20 examples:
arabicized
 abid
riz
ace
benevolent
belt
eve
non
catamarans
cars
ama
tan
denaturant
dart
eta
nun
ejaculated
ecad
jut
ale
forebodies
feds
obi
roe
gelatinate
gane
eta
lit
halogenate
hone
aga
let
isomerized
imid
sez
ore
legitimate
lime
eta
git
memorisers
moss
ere
mir
notepapers
neps
ope
tar
overeaters
orts
vee
ear
philosophy
ploy
hop
ish
rereleased
read
els
ree
saccharify
scry
ahi
caf
temulently
tuny
elt
mel
titanesses
tass
ins
tee
uraninites
unis
rit
ane
wateriness
wens
are
tis


David has discovered 58 3-ply 11-letter words. Each breaks down to two 4-letter words and one 3-letter word. Here are 20 examples:
amobarbital
 abba
mail
ort
baronetical
bota
anil
rec
cinematised
cete
imid
nas
deregulated
dele
egad
rut
fumatoriums
farm
utis
mou
gamogeneses
gone
ages
mes
hamamelises
hale
amis
mes
imprisoning
iron
ming
psi
laminarises
lire
anis
mas
meganewtons
mawn
ents
geo
mineralists
melt
iris
nas
paroxetines
pote
axis
ren
popularised
pure
olid
pas
radicalised
rile
acid
das
reticulated
rile
ecad
tut
revegetated
rete
egad
vet
seriousness
siss
eons
rue
telekineses
tene
ekes
lis
vitaminised
vane
imid
tis
vomeronasal
vena
oral
mos


David has identified 17 3-ply 12-letter words. Each breaks down to three 4-letter words. That all three constituent words are the same length is more aesthetically pleasing than the 3-ply 10-and 11-letter words. Here are all 17 examples:
agamogeneses
 ames
gone
ages
amobarbitals
abba
mail
orts
curativeness
cave
utes
rins
definiteness
dite
enes
fins
derisiveness
dive
eses
rins
disinherison
dies
inro
shin
facilenesses
fins
alee
cess
fugitiveness
five
utes
gins
literariness
lere
iris
tans
locomobility
lobi
omit
coly
malapertness
mare
apts
lens
manageresses
mars
agee
ness
metapolitics
mali
epic
tots
moderateness
mete
ores
dans
nugatoriness
nare
utis
gons
retiringness
rine
ergs
tins
separateness
sate
eres
pans


Onwards and upwards. David has found four 3-ply 13-letter words, each consisting of one 5letter word and two 4-letter words. They are:
melanogeneses
 mages
enes
lone
novocentenary
nonny
octa
veer
tumorigeneses
toges
ures
mine
tumorigenesis
toges
ures
mini


David has found a solitary 3-ply 14-letter word, consisting of two 5-letter words and one 4letter word. It is:
benevolentness
 belts
evens
none


David was unable to find any 3-ply 15-letter words, which is a shame, as any such words would be composed of three 5-letter words, which has an appealing aesthetic to it.

Longer 4-ply examples exist. At the 13-letter level, the constituent words would be one 4-letter word and three 3-letter words. David managed to locate just eight of these:

How about 4-ply zipwords? Language on Vacation calls these "quadades" or "quaternades", and offers just two of these: PANTALOONERY (PAN, ALE, NOR, TOY) and SUBTERRANEAN (SEN, URE, BRA, TAN). However, David Sutton has found 39 4-ply 12-letter words. The full set is:
adulterating
 att
dei
adulterising
ats
dei
ameliorating
ait
moi
ameliorators
ait
moo
amelioratory
ait
moo
carrageenans
can
aga
continuators
cit
ono
defaecations
dei
eco
defeudalised
dui
eds
defeudalises
dui
eds
deflationary
dan
eta
etherealness
ern
tee
gradualities
gut
rai
heatednesses
hes
eds
heavenliness
hen
ene
labouredness
lun
are
leopardesses
las
ers
longicaudate
lid
oca
lophophorate
lor
opa
motherhouses
meu
ors
overdeviated
oda
vet
pantaloonery *
pan
ale
paraldehydes
ply
add
passemeasure
pes
amu
pathobiology
pol
abo
reflationary
ran
eta
rootednesses
res
ods
smithereened
she
men
speleologist
seg
poi
spheroidises
sri
pos
spheroidizes
sri
poz
subauditions
sui
udo
subterranean *
sen
ure
superfusions
sri
ufo
superpraises
sri
ups
superrefines
sri
urn
trophobiotic
tho
rot
unadmonished
urns
noh
uninterested
uts
net
adulterating
urn
lag
adulterising
urn
lig
ameliorating
ern
lag
ameliorators
err
las
amelioratory
err
lay
carrageenans
ren
res
continuators
nur
tas
defaecations
fan
ats
defeudalised
fae
eld
defeudalises
fae
els
deflationary
fir
loy
etherealness
has
els
gradualities
ale
dis
heatednesses
ane
tes
heavenliness
als
vis
labouredness
bes
ods
leopardesses
ode
pes
longicaudate
nat
gue
lophophorate
pht
hoe
motherhouses
the
hos
overdeviated
eve
rid
pantaloonery *
nor
toy
paraldehydes
ree
ahs
passemeasure
ser
sae
pathobiology
tig
hoy
reflationary
fir
loy
rootednesses
one
tes
smithereened
ire
ted
speleologist
els
lot
spheroidises
hie
eds
spheroidizes
hie
eds
subauditions
bin
ats
subterranean *
bra
tan
superfusions
pun
ess
superpraises
pre
eas
superrefines
pee
efs
trophobiotic
obi
pic
unadmonished
ane
did
uninterested
ire
ned


Longer 4-ply examples exist. At the 13-letter level, the constituent words would be one 4-letter word and three 3-letter words. David managed to locate just eight of these:
baccalaureate   bare   ale   caa   cut
 bacteriolyses   bels   ary   cis   toe
emotionalised   eild   moi   ons   tae
perditionable   pine   eta   rib   dol
savourinesses   sues   ars   vis   one
speleologists   segs   poi   els   lot
subterraneans   sens   ure   bra   tan
subterraneous   sens   ure   bro   tau


And 4-ply 14-letter words can also be found. David found just 5 of these:
baccalaureates
 bare
ales
etherealnesses
erne
tees
labourednesses
lune
ares
pansexualities
pele
axis
pathobiologies
pole
abos
baccalaureates
caa
cut
etherealnesses
has
els
labourednesses
bes
ods
pansexualities
nut
sai
pathobiologies
tig
hoi


David didn't manage to find any 4-ply zipwords longer than 14 letters.

Even 5-ply words are possible. David found 155 5-ply 10-letter zipwords, each composed of five 2-letter words. Here are some of them:
aborigines
 ag
bi
on
aluminised
an
li
us
apostrophe
ar
po
op
balneation
ba
at
li
bituminate
bi
in
ta
deliberate
de
er
la
elaborator
er
la
at
expatriate
er
xi
pa
harpooneer
ho
an
re
kinetosome
ko
is
no
lepidolite
lo
el
pi
mazarinade
mi
an
za
metafemale
me
em
ta
outpassion
os
us
ti
piperidine
pi
id
pi
remunerate
re
er
ma
seminomata
so
em
ma
taxability
ti
al
xi
telomerase
te
er
la
urinometer
um
re
it
aborigines
re
is
aluminised
me
id
apostrophe
sh
te
balneation
no
ven
bituminate
ut
me
deliberate
it
be
elaborator
bo
or
expatriate
at
te
harpooneer
pe
or
kinetosome
em
te
lepidolite
it
de
mazarinade
ad
re
metafemale
al
fe
outpassion
po
an
piperidine
en
re
remunerate
ut
ne
seminomata
it
na
taxability
at
by
telomerase
os
me
urinometer
ne
or


5-ply words with 11 letters also exist in profusion. These are built up from one 3-letter word and four 2-letter words. David found 211 of these, including the following:
aluminosity
 any
lo
us
apostleship
alp
pe
os
camerawomen
can
aw
mo
dehumanised
dad
en
hi
elaborating
erg
la
at
featherhead
fed
er
ah
gelatinated
gid
en
la
hematoxylin
hon
ex
my
imagination
inn
ma
at
jealoushood
jud
es
ah
keratometer
kor
em
re
leatherhead
led
er
ah
mountaineer
mar
oi
un
naturalises
nas
al
ti
outmarriage
ore
ur
ti
petalomania
poa
em
ta
readmission
rin
es
as
subpoenaing
seg
un
ba
telomerases
tes
er
la
zootrophies
zos
op
oh
aluminosity
mi
it
apostleship
sh
ti
camerawomen
em
re
dehumanised
us
me
elaborating
bi
on
featherhead
te
ha
gelatinated
at
te
hematoxylin
al
ti
imagination
gi
io
jealoushood
lo
oo
keratometer
at
te
leatherhead
te
ha
mountaineer
ne
te
naturalises
us
re
outmarriage
ma
ag
petalomania
an
li
readmission
di
mo
subpoenaing
pi
on
telomerases
os
me
zootrophies
ti
re


And then there are 85 5-ply 12-letter zipwords which David found. Composed of two 3-lettei words and three 2-letter words, here are some examples:
arpeggiation
 ago
rin
pa
bituminating
bin
ing
ta
canaliculate
cit
ace
nu
deliberating
den
erg
la
evaporations
ern
vas
at
foolhardiest
fas
ort
od
gelatinating
gin
eng
la
hematologist
hos
elt
mo
isoperimeter
ire
sir
om
jealoushoods
jud
ess
ah
keratometers
kor
ems
re
literateness
las
its
te
metagalaxies
mae
els
ta
nematologist
nos
elt
mo
octaploidies
ole
cos
ti
preachership
phi
rep
er
rehabilitant
rin
elt
hi
semiparasite
sat
ere
ma
solidarities
sae
ors
li
weatherwomen
wee
ern
aw
arpeggiation
et
gi
bituminating
ut
mi
canaliculate
al
la
deliberating
it
bi
evaporations
pi
oo
foolhardiest
li
he
gelatinating
at
ti
hematologist
ag
ti
isoperimeter
pe
et
jealoushoods
lo
oo
keratometers
at
te
literateness
en
re
metagalaxies
ax
gi
nematologist
ag
ti
octaploidies
ad
pi
preachership
as
ch
rehabilitant
at
ba
semiparasite
is
pi
solidarities
it
di
weatherwomen
to
hm


And then there are 26 5-ply 13-letter zipwords which David found. Composed of three 3-letter words and two 2-letter words, here are some examples:
appetisements
 ain
pst
pes
leatherleaves
lev
ere
als
legitimatised
lis
eme
gad
metabolisable
mob
ell
tie
metasomatoses
mos
eme
tas
parameterised
pes
ate
red
spelaeologist
sei
pos
elt
thermoelement
toe
hen
elt
unpasteurised
uts
nee
pud
volumenometer
vet
one
lor
appetisements
em
te
leatherleaves
te
ha
legitimatised
it
ti
metabolisable
as
ba
metasomatoses
at
so
parameterised
ar
mi
spelaeologist
lo
ag
thermoelement
re
mm
unpasteurised
ar
si
volumenometer
um
me


At the 14-letter level, it's still possible to find 5-ply zipwords, these having four 3-letter words and one 2-letter word. Here are the full 9 such words which David discovered:
cohesibilities
 cit
obi
hie
deliberateness
den
ere
las
legitimateness
lin
eme
gas
literatenesses
las
its
tee
percussionists
psi
ess
rit
spelaeologists
sei
pos
elt
thermoelements
toe
hen
elt
volumenometers
vet
one
lor
waterishnesses
wis
ass
the
cohesibilities
els
si
deliberateness
its
be
legitimateness
its
te
literatenesses
ens
re
percussionists
cos
un
spelaeologists
los
ag
thermoelements
res
mm
volumenometers
urns
mev
waterishnesses
ens
re


We like the aesthetic appeal of 5-ply 15-letter zipwords as each will be composed solely of 3letter words. The only two such words which David found are:
elaboratenesses
 ere
las
ats
undernourishing
uns
noh
dui
elaboratenesses
bee
ons
undernourishing
ern
rig


And now finally at the 6-ply level.... Starting with 12-letter zipwords, these will comprise six 2letter words. David discovered 40 of these, including:
adulteration
 ar
da
ut
amalgamation
am
ma
at
antiheroines
ar
no
ti
demutualises
da
el
mi
deuterostome
do
es
ut
diazomethane
de
it
ah
elementarily
et
la
er
equabilities
el
qi
ut
exopeptidase
et
xi
od
hemodialysis
ha
el
my
italianating
in
ta
at
materialised
ma
al
ti
motoneuronal
mu
or
to
opotherapies
or
pa
op
salutational
st
ai
lo
testamentary
te
en
st
unhabituated
ut
nu
ha
unionisation
us
na
it
unsaturation
ur
na
st
utopianising
un
ti
os
adulteration
li
to
en
amalgamation
li
go
an
antiheroines
in
he
es
demutualises
us
te
us
deuterostome
to
em
re
diazomethane
za
on
me
elementarily
mi
el
ny
equabilities
ai
be
is
exopeptidase
pa
es
pe
hemodialysis
os
di
is
italianating
li
in
ag
materialised
es
re
id
motoneuronal
on
na
el
opotherapies
ti
he
es
salutational
un
ta
al
testamentary
ta
ar
my
unhabituated
at
be
id
unionisation
oi
no
in
unsaturation
ai
to
un
utopianising
pi
in
ag


6-ply 13-letter zipwords are comprised of one 3-letter word and five 2-letter words. David discovered 34 of these, including:
damageability
 day
ab
mi
demutualising
dag
el
mi
denationalise
doe
en
na
desexualising
dag
el
si
familiarising
fag
ar
mi
fetishisation
fin
es
ta
haemodialysis
his
aa
el
immaterialise
ire
mi
ma
labialisation
lin
as
ba
monoaminergic
mic
on
ne
monotherapies
mes
or
na
multinational
mal
ut
li
peneplanation
pan
en
na
podsolisation
pin
os
da
radialisation
rin
as
da
renationalise
roe
en
na
ritualisation
rin
is
ta
semasiologist
sot
el
mo
solemnisation
sin
os
la
subsaturation
sun
ur
ba
damageability
al
gi
et
demutualising
us
ti
un
denationalise
al
ti
is
desexualising
es
xi
un
familiarising
is
li
in
fetishisation
it
si
ho
haemodialysis
my
os
di
immaterialise
al
ti
es
labialisation
it
ai
lo
monoaminergic
or
ag
mi
monotherapies
op
ti
he
multinational
to
in
na
peneplanation
et
pi
lo
podsolisation
st
oi
lo
radialisation
it
ai
lo
renationalise
al
ti
is
ritualisation
ut
ai
lo
semasiologist
ag
si
is
solemnisation
et
miv
no
subsaturation
st
ai
to


6-ply 14-letter zipwords are comprised of two 3-letter words and four 2-letter words. David discovered 17 of these, including:
annexationists
 att
nis
no
cautiousnesses
cue
ass
un
fetishisations
fin
ess
ta
immaterialised
ire
mid
ma
labialisations
lin
ass
ba
multinationals
mal
uts
li
peneplanations
pan
ens
na
radialisations
rin
ass
da
renationalised
roe
end
na
semasiologists
sot
els
mo
annexationists
en
xi
as
cautiousnesses
te
is
os
fetishisations
it
si
ho
immaterialised
al
ti
es
labialisations
it
ai
lo
multinationals
to
in
na
peneplanations
et
pi
lo
radialisations
it
ai
lo
renationalised
al
ti
is
semasiologists
ag
si
is


6-ply 15-letterzipwords are comprised of three 3-letter words and three 2-letter words. David discovered just 1 of these:
opinionatedness
 one
pas
its
ne
id
on


And now finally, 7-ply zipwords. David found three 7-ply 14-letter zipwords, comprised simply of seven 2-letter words:
admeasurements
 ar
de
mm
ee
onomatopoieses
op
no
oi
me
onomatopoiesis
op
no
oi
me
admeasurements
an
st
us
onomatopoieses
as
te
os
onomatopoiesis
as
ti
os


David found no 7-ply 15-letter words.

David's searches ended at the 15-letter level, as Collins Official Scrabble Words (2015 edition) only contains words up to 15 letters. Of course, there may be many zipwords of lengths 16 or more letters among the words listed in mainstream dictionaries. Can readers offer any zipwords with more than 15 letters, and of any ply (although 2:ply words seem highly unlikely, given that the best so far discovered have only 11 letters).

Footnote 1: All of the words in this article, except one, both zipwords and the shorter words making up the zipwords, can be found in either Collins Official Scrabble Words (2015 edition) or Webster's Third. Indeed, most of the words can be found in both these sources. The exception not listed by either of these sources is PUTATIVEN ESS, the 3-ply 12-letter zipword offered by Borgmann-nor is it listed in other major dictionaries. PUTATIVENESS will be the subject of a separate article.

Footnote 2: A full listing of David's zipwords finds, from 2-ply to 7-ply for all word lengths from 4 to 15 letters can be requested from the author of this article.

Darryl Francis

Brampton, Cumbria, England

darryl.francis@yahoo.co.uk
COPYRIGHT 2017 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Francis, Darryl
Publication:Word Ways
Article Type:List
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2017
Words:7194
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