A specified letter is changed to make a new word or phrase. For example (a third-letter change): ONE = pastry, TWO = pantry.

B we’ll get some rain today
Or all my garden flowers will A.

The solution: A = wither, B = either. (The solution would appear as “w/e-ither.”)

Letter changes can have more than two parts. For example: ONE = boast, TWO = beast, THREE = blast.

If the last letter is being changed, the flat is called a last-letter change. For example, ONE = molts, TWO = molto is called a last-letter, instead of a fifth-letter, change.

In a reversed letter change, a letter is changed in a word or phrase and the result is then reversed to make another. For example (reversed second-letter change): ONE = twanger, TWO = regnant.

In the Brookline letter-change, a word or phrase changes each one of its letters in turn to make others. Example: BASE = rice, ONE = nice, TWO = race, THREE = rile, FOUR = rich.

He C not to BASEWORD the girls any more;
That A of his life was now over, he swore.
But looking? To B that would leave a great E.
The very idea could make a man D.

The solution: BASEWORD = chase, A = phase, B = cease, C = chose, D = chafe, E = chasm.

The Brookline letter-change was introduced by Newrow (from Brookline MA) in 1991.

See also repeated-letter change.


A word or phrase becomes another when one letter is changed to another letter wherever it appears (the letter must appear at least twice). For example: ONE = monocle, TWO = manacle.

She sat in her wheelchair, in the sun,
Laughing and chatting, having fun.
She liked to PRIMAL with delicate thread,
And make lacy patterns out of her head.
She liked to read Old Testament tales
Of kings and FINALs, serpents and whales.

The solution: PRIMAL = crochet, FINAL = prophet.

A repeated-letter change may have more than two parts. For example: ONE = skunk, TWO = stunt, THREE = sauna. In this example, the second and fifth letters are changed in ONE to make TWO; the same positions must have changed letters to form all other parts.

As is true of similar types (like the spoonergram, transposal, reversal, and letter change), the repeated-letter change must work in both directions -- that is, be reversible. For example, puffy cannot be changed to puppy, because reversing the change would produce fuffy, not the original puffy.

The repeated-letter change was introduced by WILLz in 1980.


One sound is changed in a word or phrase to make another. Example: ONE = tungsten, TWO = tonguester (a last-sound change).

Detroit announces this year’s line:
Three compact cars all named for TWOs!
(How chic, you say? Of course!) You’ll pine
For our new Peanut. (Cheap!) Or choose
Our two-door hatchback Pea. (It’s small
But loaded!) Need more ONE, you say?
We’ve built a car to suit the tall:
Test-drive a String Bean Coupe today!
=Trazom and Uncanny

The solution: ONE = legroom, TWO = legume.

See also the discussion of what constitutes a single sound under phonetic flats.


A word or phrase (ONE) contains a shorter one (TWO) within it; when this is removed and another (THREE) is substituted, a new word or phrase is formed (FOUR). For example: ONE = wander, TWO = and, THREE = is, FOUR = wiser. To save space on the solution page, this may appear as “w-and/is-er.” Another example: ONE = Pandora, TWO = and/or, THREE = ark, FOUR = parka. The enumeration of all parts is given.

WORD SUBSTITUTION (10, 6, 7, 11)
   (THIRD = NI3)
Some THIRD had painted placards
Quite offensive to the SECOND
And left them, it is reckoned,
In a shop, on FOURTH, to sell.
In Araby, to sell.
Recommended lopping digits,
Which gave the THIRD the fidgets
(And the manager as well).
In Araby, as well.
Some changes in the wording,
Then, were managed in a hurry-
Which meant they needn’t worry
And that everything was swell.
In Araby, was swell.

The solution: PRIMAL = consultant, SECOND = sultan, THIRD = sign-men, FOURTH = consignment.

If the smaller parts to be substituted are at the beginnings of the words, the puzzle is an initial-word substitution. For example: ONE = pungent, TWO = pun, THREE = deter, FOUR = detergent.

If the smaller parts to be substituted are at the ends of the words, the puzzle is a final-word substitution. For example: ONE = Cleveland, TWO = land, THREE = rest, FOUR = cleverest.

In an extended word-substitution, the shorter word is replaced more than once to form new words. For example: ONE = list, TWO = is, THREE = en, FOUR = lent, FIVE = of, SIX = loft.

The word substitution was invented by Alf.

This page was last updated on Thursday, June 18, 2015. /webmaster