# What is a Spanned Word?™

So, I've been "inspired" by JLee's great series of Word™/Phrase™ puzzles to make my own. (It's not stealing an idea if I call it "inspiration"!) As usual: each sentence contains two marked words, one of which is a Spanned Word™ and one of which is not, and the actual sentences are just for context.

1. The guru said, "at least one of you has (GREEN / BLUE) eyes."

2. You have limited weighings to find the odd coin among (NINE / TWELVE).

3. In the Monty Hall problem, one of your options is to (STICK / SWITCH).

4. I hope you will find this puzzle (INVENTIVE / DIFFICULT).

5. This puzzle's solution may depend on (SHAPE / SHAPES).

6. Will similar words make this puzzle (EASIER / SIMPLER)?

7. Or will you focus too much on the (DIFFERENCE / DISTINCTION)?

8. Don't work on this for too long or you may become (CONFUSED / ENTRANCED.)

9. I hope this puzzle isn't too (HARD / EASY)!

10. I can't think of any other relevant sentences so here are some things that annoy me: (INTERRUPTIONS / NOISE) and (STUBBORNNESS / INFLEXIBILITY).

11. (By the way, the previous sentence's pairs were (INDEPENDENT / UNRELATED).)

12. Good luck solving this (CONUNDRUM / CHALLENGE)!

So, what is this property that makes a word a Spanned Word™?

Hint:

NOISE and HINT are Spanned Word™s; FEET is a special case of a Spanned Word™.

Hint 2:

These could also be called Traversable Words.

Hint 3:

Font and case both matter. SHAPE is Spanned; SHAPES is not.

• Do things like case and font factor into whether a word is a Spanned Word™? Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 0:22
• @Riddler: Yes, they do.
– Deusovi
Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 4:30
• Is the first word in the set always the spanned word, or could it be either one?
– Dsel
Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 6:20
• @Dsel: It could be either.
– Deusovi
Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 11:26
• The obvious idea is that if the word were a bridge, it would be possible to walk across. So maybe walking with alternating feet, which would make the second S in SHAPES different from the first. But I haven't found anything consistent. U seems to occur in only one word of the pair, and we know INTERRUPTIONS is not spanned Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 2:21

1. GREEN / BLUE

GREEN

2. NINE / TWELVE

NINE

3. TETRIS / PRISMS

TETRIS

4. STICK / SWITCH

STICK?

5. INVENTIVE / DIFFICULT

INVENTIVE

6. SHAPE / SHAPES

SHAPE

7. DISTRACTION / DIVERSION n/a
8. EASIER / SIMPLER

SIMPLER

9. DIFFERENCE / DISTINCTION

DIFFERENCE

10. CONFUSED / ENTRANCED

ENTRANCED

11. HARD / EASY

HARD

12. INTERRUPTIONS / NOISE

NOISE

13. STUBBORNNESS / INFLEXIBILITY

STUBBORNNESS

14. THIEVES / LAWYERS

LAWYERS

15. INDEPENDENT / UNRELATED

INDEPENDENT

16. CONUNDRUM / CHALLENGE

CHALLENGE

So this is the solution:

SpannedWords are words you can "walk over". Sometimes gaps are allowed, but only if there is a "way" from letter to letter. This is way FEET is a special SpannedWort; there are no (as in zero) gaps between the "top strokes". That's why SHAPES is not a SpannedWord because there is no connection between the E and S at the end.

• That what I thought by reading the puzzle. Exactly the same.. :) But challenge would be spanned too?! Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 9:41
• Ah yeah, you are right. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 9:48
• Nicely done! My precise idea was that there was a continuous path between each letter if you removed all of the spaces in between letters - that is, draw the bounding boxes and remove the space in the middle of them.
– Deusovi
Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 10:28
• @Deusovi I should also note that using your criteria, several of the individual answers in this post are incorrect (#7 and #8 at least, and probably several more). Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 15:25
• I claim victory! Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 20:02

1.The guru said, "at least one of you has (GREEN / BLUE) eyes."

GREEN is a spanned word.

2.You have limited weighings to find the odd coin among (NINE / TWELVE).

NINE is spanned.

3.One of the most popular Puzzling.SE posts is about (TETRIS / PRISMS).

TETRIS is spanned.

4.In the Monty Hall problem, one of your options is to (STICK / SWITCH).

SWITCH is spanned.

5.I hope you will find this puzzle (INVENTIVE / DIFFICULT).

INVENTIVE is spanned.

6.This puzzle's solution may depend on (SHAPE / SHAPES).

SHAPE is spanned.

7.Of course, that might just be a (DISTRACTION / DIVERSION).

DISTRACTION is spanned.

8.Will similar words make this puzzle (EASIER / SIMPLER)?

EASIER is spanned.

9.Or will you focus too much on the (DIFFERENCES / DISTINCTIONS)?

Both words are spanned.

10.Don't work on this for too long or you may become (CONFUSED / ENTRANCED.)

ENTRANCED is spanned.

11.I hope this puzzle isn't too (HARD / EASY)!

Both words are spanned.

12.I can't think of any other relevant sentences so here are some things that annoy me: (INTERRUPTIONS / NOISE), (STUBBORNNESS / INFLEXIBILITY), and (THIEVES / LAWYERS).

13.(By the way, the previous sentence's pairs were all (INDEPENDENT / UNRELATED).)

14.Good luck solving this (CONUNDRUM / CHALLENGE)!

CHALLENGE is spanned.

If my guesses are correct, Spanned words

have lines separating the letter in half in at least half of the word. (If it has to be over half, that might eliminate some of the duplicates I discovered.)

Examples would be AEHINTZ who all divide themselves (with spanners, I guess if you want to call them that).

Note that the font changes when you start editing.

M and W don't look the same when you're typing your answers.

• Thanks, I was mid edit when I got the notice that you'd fixed it. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 21:44
• Nope. There is exactly one Spanned Word™ in each pair, as I said in the original post. Good guess, though!
– Deusovi
Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 4:23