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:


List 2:



1 Answer 1


The question has to do with

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


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


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.


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).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.