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How do you get from the word MANILA to UGANDA in the shortest time?

You can change up to 3 letters at a time to form a new 6 letter word which MUST be either a Country name or a Capital of a country.

No rearranging of letters.

Please no programming either

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    $\begingroup$ Would lateral thinking be appreciated? Would you like to know that it would take over a 16 hr flight to go from Manila to Uganda? google.com/maps/dir/Kampala,+Uganda/Manila,+NCR,+Philippines/… $\endgroup$ – n_plum Apr 21 '17 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ Change meaning substituion only, or is deletion/addition ok? $\endgroup$ – Viktor Mellgren Apr 21 '17 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ n_palum In a way I was also thinking shortest distance. So the final solution should involve the shortest distance and hence shortest time too. Going back and forth all over the world could mean very long time. Of course I should have made it clear. But it is a word changing puzzle $\endgroup$ – DEEM Apr 21 '17 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ Viktor. Must only substitute up to 3 letters to create a new 6 letter word (Country or Capital). Thanks $\endgroup$ – DEEM Apr 21 '17 at 12:18
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My solution is longer than Alconja's, but has a more orthodox spelling ;-)

Manila -> Panama -> Havana -> Guyana -> Lusaka -> Luanda -> Uganda

Formating courtesy of Jonathan Allen. Apparently my bold face letters made no sense to anyone but me. Story of my life...

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  • $\begingroup$ Pfft. Spelling's overrated anyway. :) (+1) $\endgroup$ – Alconja Apr 20 '17 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure I get the placement of the boldface. EDIT: I think I get it, looks like you are shifting letters around, but you don't need to... $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Apr 21 '17 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ This makes more sense to me: Manila -> Panama -> Havana -> Guyana -> Lusaka -> Luanda -> Uganda (for copy-paste, that is: **P**an**am**a -> **H**a**v**a**n**a -> **Guy**ana -> **L**u**s**a**k**a -> Lu**and**a -> **Ug**anda) $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Apr 21 '17 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I changed it. But for the record, I was bolding the...er...letters that stayed the same in the next word? Maybe? $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Apr 21 '17 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ Dr Xorile. Good answer. One thing I was thinking of (Lateral) was the shortest time comment in my puzzle. Geographically which solution will take shortest time (equated to distance which is not always true) ? But I do appreciate that it is lot more work like homework. My answer involves Tarawa and Tirana, not optimum obviously $\endgroup$ – DEEM Apr 21 '17 at 12:25
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Dr Xorile's answer does seem to be the shortest at seven entries, but there are 5 possible variations, for a total of 6 solutions:

Manila > Canada > Havana > Guyana > Guinea > Luanda > Uganda
Manila > Canada > Havana > Guyana > Lusaka > Luanda > Uganda
Manila > Panama > Havana > Guyana > Guinea > Luanda > Uganda
Manila > Panama > Havana > Guyana > Lusaka > Luanda > Uganda
Manila > Manama > Havana > Guyana > Guinea > Luanda > Uganda
Manila > Manama > Havana > Guyana > Lusaka > Luanda > Uganda

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If you like taking the scenic route, I found a path with 17 places:

Manila -> Canada -> Havana -> Panama -> Manama -> Monaco -> Malabo -> Malawi -> Tarawa -> Ottawa -> Astana -> Tirana -> Guyana -> Guinea -> Luanda -> Rwanda -> Uganda

Although I must confess, some programming was involved.

I used wikipedia's List of national capitals in alphabetical order for the source of capitals and countries.

There's an 18 place path if you count Sana'a:

Manila -> Canada -> Havana -> Panama -> Sana'a -> Manama -> Monaco -> Malabo -> Malawi -> Tarawa -> Ottawa -> Astana -> Tirana -> Guyana -> Guinea -> Luanda -> Rwanda -> Uganda


Other interesting paths:

Longest shortest routes between two places:

11 'Bissau -> Nassau -> Maseru -> Majuro -> Malabo -> Manama -> Havana -> Guyana -> Guinea -> Luanda -> Rwanda'
11 'Bissau -> Nassau -> Maseru -> Majuro -> Malabo -> Manama -> Havana -> Guyana -> Guinea -> Luanda -> Uganda'
11 'Rwanda -> Luanda -> Guinea -> Guyana -> Havana -> Manama -> Malabo -> Majuro -> Maseru -> Nassau -> Warsaw'
11 'Uganda -> Luanda -> Guinea -> Guyana -> Havana -> Manama -> Malabo -> Majuro -> Maseru -> Nassau -> Warsaw'

Longest scenic routes between two places:

25 Russia -> Lusaka -> Luanda -> Guinea -> Guyana -> Tirana -> Astana -> Ottawa -> Tarawa -> Harare -> Havana -> Canada -> Manila -> Panama -> Sana'a -> Manama -> Malawi -> Malabo -> Maputo -> Majuro -> Maseru -> Roseau -> Bissau -> Nassau -> Warsaw
25 Rwanda -> Uganda -> Luanda -> Guinea -> Guyana -> Tirana -> Astana -> Ottawa -> Tarawa -> Harare -> Havana -> Canada -> Manila -> Panama -> Sana'a -> Manama -> Malawi -> Malabo -> Maputo -> Majuro -> Maseru -> Roseau -> Bissau -> Nassau -> Warsaw
25 Uganda -> Rwanda -> Luanda -> Guinea -> Guyana -> Tirana -> Astana -> Ottawa -> Tarawa -> Harare -> Havana -> Canada -> Manila -> Panama -> Sana'a -> Manama -> Malawi -> Malabo -> Maputo -> Majuro -> Maseru -> Roseau -> Bissau -> Nassau -> Warsaw

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    $\begingroup$ and what about Sana'a ? $\endgroup$ – Jan Ivan Apr 21 '17 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JanIvan my perl regex counted it as a match, but I manually pulled it out. $\endgroup$ – martin Apr 21 '17 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ Martin you can jump directly from Manila to Panama to Tarawa. They are all scenic $\endgroup$ – DEEM Apr 21 '17 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Can you find the two destinations that are the furthest distance apart. I guess the end points of the diameter in graph theory terms. Ie the two points so that the minimum distance between them is a maximum $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Apr 22 '17 at 16:45

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