A word or phrase becomes another when one letter is shifted to a new position. For example: ONE = trollop, TWO = roll top.
The solution: ONE = Proust, TWO = sprout.
If the letter is shifted only one space (as in complaint to compliant), the puzzle is traditionally classified as a metathesis instead.
If the letter is shifted from the beginning to the end of the word, the puzzle is a special type of letter shift called a head-to-tail shift.
In a reversed letter shift, a word or phrase becomes another when one letter is shifted to a new position and the result is reversed. For example: ONE = ignited, TWO = dieting.
In a sound shift, a word or phrase becomes another when one sound is shifted to a new position. For example: ONE = umber, TWO = bummer.
A word or phrase becomes another when its first letter is moved to its end. For example: ONE = emanate, TWO = manatee; or ONE = brand, TWO = R and B.
The solution: OHO = holds out, HOO = Old South.
In a head-to-tail sound shift, a word or phrase becomes another when its first sound is moved to its end. For example: ONE = ciao, TWO = ouch.
In a reversed head-to-tail shift, a word or phrase becomes another when its first letter is moved to its end, and then the whole is reversed. For example: ONE = flatcar, TWO = fractal.
A well-known phrase (often not a dictionary entry) is altered by shifting one letter to another position to form a new phrase (almost never a dictionary entry). The cueword stands for the new phrase only; solvers must deduce the original phrase from a clue hidden somewhere in the verse. Ideally, the way the letters in the phrase are divided into words changes after the shift.
The solution: way in a manager (from “Away in a Manger,” clued in the verse by “Christmas . . . Carol.”)
Other variations, like the phrase metathesis, have also been printed; in theory, any flat type where there’s only a small difference between ONE and TWO could be the basis for a phrase puzzle.
The phrase shift was invented by Mr. Tex.
A word or phrase becomes another when one letter changes to another and moves to another location. The changeover is labeled by the starting and finishing locations. For example, a first-to-third changeover: holster, oldster.
The solution: ONE = goatherd, TWO = gathered.
The changeover was invented by Beacon, named by Merlin, and introduced in June 1992.
A word or phrase becomes another when divided into two parts, which are interchanged. For example: ONE = rock-hard, TWO = hard rock (referring to the kind of music). Answers must be dictionary entries (or well known) but the parts need not be: for example, ONE = alloy, TWO = loyal.
The solution: PHRASE = fast break, WORD = breakfast.
A transpogram is most interesting if the parts have substantially different meanings. Houseguest and guest house, for example, are a dull base. Since interesting bases are hard to come by, the transpogram has always been an uncommon type.
In the phonetic transpogram, the two parts that switch remain true to sound but not to spelling. For example: ONE = welfare, TWO = farewell; ONE = Dear John (a kind of letter), TWO = John Deere (a brand name); ONE = zero, TWO = rosy.
This page was last updated on Friday, December 17, 2010. /webmaster
©1883 — 2015 National Puzzlers' League.
Last modified Friday, December 17, 2010