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Here are two lists of five English words each. The first list is ordered in a certain way. Your challenge is to order the second list in the same way.

Here is some helpful (I hope) information:

  • All ten words have a common property.
  • The property has nothing to do with the meaning of the words
  • Only a small percentage of English words have this property.
  • Each of the words in each of the lists can be associated with a number from one to five according to this property.
  • If you know the property, you can take any one word from either list and determine what number it is associated with.
  • Not all words which have this property are unambiguously associated with a single number. I chose these to make it easy for you. :-)
  • Five is not a hard limit. Some other words correspond to larger numbers.
  • The first list is not in order from one to five

List 1:

Cell
Canes
Flat
Nun
Live

List 2:

Vet
Avid
Limb
Tasted
Bits

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The question has to do with

inserting a letter O into a word to make another word.

Thus:

cello, canoes, float, noun, olive; and veto, avoid, limbo, toasted, obits.

Here

the positions where the O is to be inserted are 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in the first case; 4, 3, 5, 2, 1 in the second.

So

presumably we want reverse order for the second sequence as for the first: LIMB, VET, AVID, TASTED, BITS.

The title

of course refers to putting the letters of the words about (i.e., around) nothing (i.e., O).

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