4
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[This puzzle was previously posted for humans only, but it may have been a little too tough to do manually, so I'm opening it up to computers to solve the remaining unsolved words.]


I am inspired by the story of the boy who came upon an assortment of holiday cookies beautifully arranged on a platter. The boy quietly helped himself to a cookie and artistically rearranged the remaining cookies to make it appear as if none were missing. Then, he helped himself to another and rearranged again. And another. And another. Until all the cookies were gone. (And that's when his mother noticed...)

It's very simple:

  • I will give you a starting word.
  • You will remove a letter of your choosing, and then rearrange the remaining letters to form a new word.
  • Then, remove another letter and rearrange the remaining letters to form a new word.
  • Then, remove another letter and rearrange the remaining letters to form a new word.
  • ...
  • And so on until all the letters are gone.


For example:

Starting word is ALTERCATIONS

-------------------------------------------

Solution:


ALTERCATIONS
                 (remove "T" and rearrange)
LACERATIONS
                 (remove "C" and rearrange)
SENATORIAL
                 (remove "A" and rearrange)
RELATIONS
                 (remove "O" and rearrange)
ENTRAILS
                 (remove "N" and rearrange)
REALIST
                 (remove "L" and rearrange)
SATIRE
                 (remove "T" and rearrange)
RAISE
                 (remove "I" and rearrange)
EARS
                 (remove "R" and rearrange)
SEA
                 (remove "E" and rearrange)
AS
                 (remove "S" and rearrange)
A
                 (remove "A" and you're done)


You can do as much or as little rearrangement as you like. E.g., you are permitted to remove the "R" from BRAKE and leave BAKE, or even just snap the "-S" off the end of a word and leave all the remaining letters as they are.

As always, I construct my puzzles in such a way that they can be solved using only well-known words, so if you find yourself going down a path of increasingly obscure words, you may be overthinking it.

Multiple solution paths may exist, so don't worry if your path varies slightly from your neighbor's path, especially at the tail ends.

Below are 12 starting words. See if you can reduce each one to nothing through attrition.

1.  DISSEMINATORS (solved)

2.  ENCRUSTATIONS

3.  DECENTRALIZED (solved)

4.  IMPERSONATING (solved)

5.  SHAREHOLDINGS

6.  INVESTIGATORS

7.  INDOCTRINATED (solved)

8.  REGISTRATIONS

9.  DETERIORATING (solved)

10.  INDETERMINATE

11.  REINSTALLATION

12.  RESUSCITATIONS

@hexomino — That was fast work!

Here is a solution to #8:

REGISTRATIONS
REGISTRATION
INTEGRATORS
RESTARTING
RESTATING
ANGRIEST
SEATING
GIANTS
STING
TINS
SIN
IS
I

An alternative solution to #2:

ENCRUSTATIONS
ENCRUSTATION
TRANSECTION
CONTAINERS
REACTIONS
ANCESTOR
COASTER
TRACES
RATES
RATE
EAT
AT
A

An alternative solution to #5:

SHAREHOLDINGS
SHAREHOLDING
HIGHLANDERS
HIGHLANDER
HERALDING
ADHERING
READING
GARDEN
RANGE
NEAR
RAN
AN
A

An alternative solution to #6:

INVESTIGATORS
INVESTIGATOR
INVIGORATES
ORIGINATES
ORIGINATE
RIGATONI
RIOTING
ORIGIN
GROIN
IRON
ION
IN
I

An alternative solution to #10:

INDETERMINATE
INTERMEDIATE
DETERMINATE
TERMINATED
DETRIMENT
REMITTED
MERITED
TIERED
TRIED
DIET
TIE
IT
I

An alternative solution to #12:

RESUSCITATIONS
RESUSCITATION
CREATIONISTS
CREATIONIST
RECITATION
INTRICATE
INTERACT
CERTAIN
RETAIN
INERT
TIRE
TIE
IT
I

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4
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Certainly easier with computers

2.

ENCRUSTATIONS
ENCRUSTATION
TRUNCATIONS
CONSTRAINT
CONSTRAIN
CONTAINS
CONTAIN
CATION
TONIC
COIN
ION
IN
I

5.

SHAREHOLDINGS
SHAREHOLDING
HIGHLANDERS
HIGHLANDER
HERALDING
HARDLINE
HANDLER
HANDLE
ELAND
LAND
LAD
AD
A

6.

INVESTIGATORS
INVESTIGATOR
INVIGORATES
INVIGORATE
ORIGINATE
RIGATONI
ORATING
RATING
GRAIN
RING
GIN
IN
I

10.

INDETERMINATE
INTERMEDIATE
DETERMINATE
TERMINATED
TERMINATE
MARTINET
MINARET
MARINE
RAMIE
MARE
MAR
AM
A

11.

REINSTALLATION
ALLITERATIONS
ALLITERATION
RETALIATION
ALTERATION
RATIONALE
RELATION
ELATION
ENTAIL
INLET
TINE
TIN
IN
I

12.

RESUSCITATIONS
RESUSCITATION
CREATIONISTS
CREATIONIST
RECITATION
ITERATION
INTRICATE
INTERACT
CATTIER
ATTIRE
TREAT
TEAR
TEA
AT
A

Still not sure on 8, possibly involves some more obscure words.

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