What tool do I need to turn intense into incense, using sentence?

The same tool can turn dated into demented, using statement.


(Kudos: the accepted answer was published before the hints.)

Hint 1:

sEntEncE and (respectively) sTaTemenT will work as well.

Hint 2 (it's a tiny puzzle by itself):


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is so clever! $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


The 'tool' is

sed, the UNIX "stream editor" program which applies edit commands to text.

“sentence” and “statement” are to be interpreted as sed replacement commands (which search for text matching a pattern, and replace it with a different piece of text): s/nt/nc/ and s/a/emen/. (As hexomino pointed out, the character after s doesn’t have to be a slash; the character after s is treated as the delimiter. Those are e and t respectively in these cases.) Each one transforms the first word into the second.

Commands (for Unix/Linux) that prove it:
echo intense | sed sentence
echo dated | sed statement

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Note that rot13(lbh pna ghea sebfg vagb evzr hfvat pevzr). $\endgroup$
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 18:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hint 2 explained: rot13(cbfvk) $\endgroup$
    – Ed Murphy
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 1:55

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