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.
Brampton, Cumbria, England
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|Date:||Nov 1, 2017|
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