Now that the word LEAD was turned into GOLD in only three steps (kudos n_palum) can you turn the word LEAD into IRON changing one letter at a time creating new legit 4 letter words (from Dictionary) in 5 steps or less? Again I am sure there are more than a few answers. And can you do it without using a Proper Noun or name? ( I could not).
If you want to use proper nouns, you could:
The best I can do:
Starting with this list of 4 letter words
I've found the following three words that are one away from IRON,
Unfortunately, the first one only leads back to iron or the 2nd word.
The best I've figured using the 2nd word has 7 steps, and uses some uncommon words.
However, using the 3rd word, I've found the following 5 steps, which appears to be optimal.
The most optimal solution that I have been able to find is this:
LEAD -> TEAD -> TRAD -> TROD -> TRON -> IRON
5 steps is the minimal you can do due to the disparity in the letters. Lead is not as close to iron as it is to gold. I think words like Tron or Trad are debatable as to whether or not they constitute as a word. In scrabble they would count but in dictionary means it's up in the air.