Lunchtime Diversion

In case you have a few minutes to kill over your lunch break today, here is a fun word game. Take a word and knock one letter off at a time until you have no letters left. However, after the removal of each letter, what remains, without re-arrangement of letters, has to be a word.



Your word to start with is STARTLING, see if you can do it in 100 seconds.
If you want a hint, my own solution’s (there are several) 8 letter word was a bird.

If you can come up with other words that work well with this game please post them here.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

30 thoughts on “Lunchtime Diversion”

    1. Sorry Max as in the example there is no rescrambling of letters – I will add in an instruction to make the explicit

  1. Untrailed. Precourse. Deflation. Lacerated. Unpraised.

    I can’t seem to find any with more than nine letters, though (depending a bit on what you accept as a “word”).

    U T ILE
    T ILE
    T IL
    T I

    TI is the 7th of the major scale in the modified solfeggio system (it used to be si, which was problematic because then there are two note in the major scale with the same initial syllable (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti (formerly si), do.

    1. Dang. Just googled ting. It’s in the urban dictionary, but not others. 😉 I play Scrabble a lot and coulda sworn it was a word.

      1. This is a very good example of the limits of the internet–google, etc. Ting is indeed a word, with several meanings noted in my copies of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary.

          1. “Ting” means “a single light metallic sound, as of a small bell” or as a verb, “to emit a light metallic sound.” Webster’s New College Dictionary II. See my comment just above yours.

  3. I got the same, but of course I is not a legitimate Scrabble word because it is always capitalized. 🙂

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