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Word for the Wise June 14, 2007 Broadcast Topic: A favorite word puzzle

Listeners who love their word puzzles often challenge us by passing along a favorite. One such puzzle that only recently crossed our desk has in fact been around for decades, but its freshness remains. (来源:EnglishCN英语问答中心[e问e答])

Here we go. Try your hand at guessing the common nine-letter English word that has an unusual characteristic. If one letter at a time is removed from the word, the remaining (un-rearranged) letters spell out first an eight-letter word, then a seven-letter word, and so on, all the way down to a one letter word. All the words in this spelldown are ordinary, and the final word is I.

The word is startling . . . that is to say, the actual word is startling. Strip off the second T or the L and startling turns into either starling or starting. Remove either the L or the second T and the seven-letter string looking back at you spells staring. Eliminate the A from staring for the six-letter string. Then eradicate the R to turn string into sting. Take away the T from sting to spawn sing. Jettisoning the G from sing secures the three-letter sin. Suspend the S from sin and in is in; nix the N from in and I stands all alone.

 
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