Below are three sets of three words. Each word shares a common linguistic property. The words in each set share a nested property. Identify the properties and explain.




This appears to be harder than I had intended, so I'll start providing hints.

Hint 1:

There are two stages to this puzzle. To uncover stage two, it may help to read aloud. There's more in what you'll hear than in what you'll see.

Hint 2:

Some of these words have multiple meanings, but this puzzle only focuses on one. To hopefully weed out some red herrings in future answers, here is a list of which part of speech each word is meant to be:
Lift: Verb
Beams: Plural noun
Destroy: Verb
Gas: Noun
Lapse: Verb
Successor: Noun
Compose: Verb
Correct: Adjective
Custom: Noun

  • $\begingroup$ Looks difficult. Is the title a hint? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    May 12, 2015 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee A very slight one. It's a hint wrapped in further riddle, but not technically part of the puzzle itself. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2015 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ So, if I understand this correctly, all 9 words are related, and then each group has its own, distinct, relationship? $\endgroup$
    – tfitzger
    May 12, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @tfitzger All 9 words have the same general property. The words in each group share the property in a more specific scenario. If this is still unclear I can try to describe it better, and update the question accordingly. I am very sure that there is a unique and recognizable solution, but it may require an "aha!" moment in order to find it. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2015 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Could I ask for the definition of a linguistic property? Or would this give too much away? $\endgroup$ May 13, 2015 at 15:13

4 Answers 4


Each set shares words that have:

synonyms that produce a set of heterographs (words with different meanings and spellings, but the same pronunciation).

Lift, Beams, Destroy:

Raise, Rays, Raze

Gas, Lapse, Successor:

Air, Err, Heir

Compose, Correct, Custom:

Write, Right, Rite

  • $\begingroup$ The word you're looking for is homophones $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    May 14, 2015 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe - Ha, of course (although technically they're heterographs). $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    May 14, 2015 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ Technically they're both :P All heterographs are homophones, but not all homophones are heterographs ^_^ $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    May 14, 2015 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Was going for homophones, but great job! $\endgroup$ May 14, 2015 at 10:17

An over all common property:


Set 1 property:

Building - Lifting support beams or destroying structures
(From nothing transforms to something, or something to nothing)

Set 2 property:

Chemistry - Reaction of Gas over a Lapse of time into a Successor Gas
(From one gas composite transforms to another gas composite)

Set 3 property:

Art - Composing music, Correcting mistakes in it, and Customizing other music
(From imagination/creation, transforms into art)

If some more sets were to be added, I think it could be relate to:

Biology, math or Physics

Creating a over all theme that appears about:

Schooling paths: Engineering (building), Chemistry, Art

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the amount of thought you've put into this. This isn't what I'm going for, but it's very impressive. The correct answer is far less complex. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2015 at 17:48

I have no clue if this is part of it, but

The groups of words increment in syllable count

What I mean is:

Lift - 1
Beams - 1
Destroy - 2
Total: 4

Gas - 1
Lapse - 1
Successor - 3
Total: 5

Compose - 2
Correct - 2
Custom - 2
Total: 6

  • $\begingroup$ That's not related to the puzzle, but it is a neat coincidence. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2015 at 16:44

Well, I don't think this is the intended solution but I think it's technically correct.

The linguistic property they all share:

They are all English words

1st set

They are all English words that are verbs

2nd set

They are all English words having the letter S

3rd set

They are all English words beginning with the letter C


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