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I was reading a book that my friend had lent me and came across a slip of paper that I supposed was a bookmark. Reading it I saw the following:

DAM

GAS

LOS

NET

NIM

TOR

VIC

WED

YAK

Knowing my friend likes word games and puzzles I tried to see what, if anything, connected the words. In the end I gave up and phoned him.

Him: Oh ha, yes that's just a list of words that I was playing with.

Me: Well I can see that. I wondered why you included LOS. That's Spanish isn't it?

Him: Just read me all the words.

I read them down the phone.

Him: Oh no, all the words on that paper are perfectly ordinary English dictionary words.

Me: Are you sure that the name 'VIC' is in the dictionary?

Him: No, I mean I just cut that bookmark from the edge of a larger piece of paper. I obviously cut through the list of words as well. They were originally longer - all were five letters long in fact.

Me: So what were the original words then?

Him: I think you have now have enough information to work that out for yourself.

Me: Are you sure?

Him: Just find what they all have in common.

Question

Knowing that my friend likes words and word-games. What were the original five-letter dictionary words? What did they all have in common?

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    $\begingroup$ The answer to the question in the title is clearly "yes". $\endgroup$
    – jamesdlin
    Aug 18, 2015 at 1:23

1 Answer 1

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I'm going to guess that the words were all originally

Palindromes!

Which would make the original words:

MADAM, SAGAS, SOLOS, TENET, MINIM, ROTOR, CIVIC, DEWED, and KAYAK.

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    $\begingroup$ You probably shouldn't have distinguished 5-letter words - I got the 5-letter word from 'yak' all too quickly. :) $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Aug 17, 2015 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK you could have considered words of different lengths. $\endgroup$
    – Rohcana
    Aug 17, 2015 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ At first I assumed the 3-letter strings were all at the start of the 5-letter words. @chaslyfromUK did you deliberately leave that ambiguous? But there didn't seem to be any 5-letter words starting with NIM, and then I realised what YAK had to be ... and by then Bailey had got the answer :-) $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2015 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Bailey's fast...Bailey real fast. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Aug 18, 2015 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @chasly-supportsMonica this should probably be accepted as the answer right? $\endgroup$
    – ferret
    Aug 4, 2021 at 4:02

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