# From jafe to El-Guest

Largely inspired by From Puzzling to StackExchange by CodeNewbie

From jafe to El-Guest

jafe > cafe > cate > cete > cet > get > gest > egest > e gest > e guest > el guest

Rules:

• In any move, you can either 1) replace a letter, 2) add a letter, 3) remove a letter, 4) split a word or 5) combine two words. These are the ONLY five valid moves, and only one of these can be applied in a move.

• After each move, each of the resulting words must be valid by itself, even if it makes no sense as a phrase. To level the playing field, only words defined as LEGITIMATE WORDS are considered valid. No proper nouns, abbreviations, prefixes or suffixes allowed. (However, words like jack, john, jane etc. are allowed as they are used as common nouns too.) Alternate spellings and archaic words are permitted, but words referring to specific persons, places or events are not valid.

• You may only add a letter to an existing word, but a new letter (such as a or I) cannot create a new word separately. Likewise, you cannot drop a letter from a one-letter word to remove it altogether.

As an example, consider the following solution where @GordonK went from stack to exchange:

stack, stark, shark, sh ark, eh ark, ex ark, ex hark, ex hare, ex chare, ex charge, ex change, exchange

This solution required 12 moves. (It may not be the optimal strategy for this pair of words, but it is a valid strategy, given just as an example).

Challenge:

Use the same method to link as many names of prominent Puzzling.SE users as possible.

The solution which achieves this with the largest number of usernames will be awarded the green tick. In case of a tie, the method with the least number of steps win.

No computers except for word-checking and answer-posting. If you are unsure whether a word could be used, please post it in the comments and I will reply ASAP.

Definitions

Prominent P.SE User

A user with 3k+ rep [Reason: to prevent cases where new accounts are registered for this puzzle]

Names:

Display names, replacing any numbers/ symbols that are not English Alphabets with spaces. [El-Guest would become El Guest; and Brandon_J would become Brandon J]

Legitimate Words:

Words that have an independent entry in Dictionary.com, or
Words within the name of the next linked user

User                 Names     Moves
PiIsNot3              36        128   [accepted]
Gareth McCaughan      22         79
jafe                   5         15


P.S. PiIsNot3's answer has been temporarily accepted. The green tick will be transferred to another person should anyone come up with a record-breaker. Well done!

• Could you clarify what you mean by words within the name of the next linked user? Presumably, from context, these don't need to have a dictionary.com entry -- are you saying that any substring will do there? Or is there some other criterion of wordiness we're meant to apply? – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 10:25
• @GarethMcCaughan We have no chance of getting a mention, do we? – Jaap Scherphuis Mar 31 '19 at 12:05
• Heh. No, indeed. Perhaps if taking anagrams were allowed ... nope, not even then. – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 12:22
• @OmegaKrypton I’m honoured to get the mention! :D – El-Guest Mar 31 '19 at 13:40
• What if the set of prominent users changes in the future? – noedne Mar 31 '19 at 17:04

Current attempt: 36 names (128 moves)

athin > at hin > at hon > at on > at o > ate o > ale o > alee o > glee o > Glen O > glee o > lee o > loe o > joe o > Joe Z > joe o > woe o > we o > me o > m o > m om > m ohm > M Oehm > m ohm > m om > mom > mum > hum > humn > hum > hue > due > dee > DEEM > dees > bees > baes > Bass > ass > as > aa > Aza > aa > a a > A J > A. P. > A.D. > A E > ae > ape > Apep > ape > are > art > arth > art > are > ale > Alex > lex > Len > lee > JLee > lee > led > lid > Sid > did > dig > dmg > dig > dip > sip > Sp3000 > spy > sky > skv > sky > soy > sob > SQB > sob > job > Joe > toe > Tom > tot > cot > COTO > GOTO 0 > got > not > no > NL628 > nil > ail > wail > wall > Will > wall > Walt > watt > Matt > mast > past > paste > pate > sate > safe > jafe > jake > rake > rale > rile > Riley > riles > rills > gills > Gilles > gills > fills > files > filet > fillet > filet > file > mile > mike > mikeq

Past attempts:

27 names (78 moves)

A J > A. P. > A.D. > A E > ae > ape > Apep > ape > are > art > arth > art > are > ale > Alex > lex > Len > lee > JLee > lee > led > lid > Sid > did > dig > dmg > dig > dip > sip > Sp3000 > spy > sky > skv > sky > soy > sob > SQB > sob > job > Joe > toe > Tom > tot > cot > COTO > GOTO 0 > got > not > no > NL628 > nil > ail > wail > wall > Will > wall > Walt > watt > Matt > mast > past > paste > pate > sate > safe > jafe > jake > rake > rale > rile > Riley > rile > file > filet > fillet > fill et > gill et > gill es > Gilles

27 names (92 moves)

(Thanks to noedne for finding a way to put Len and JLee in!)

A J > A E > A. P. > a pi > a pin > a tin > a thin > athin > a thin > a tin > a ton > a don > a do > A.D. > ad > ade > ale > Alex > ale > ape > Apep > ape > are > art > arth > art > at > sat > sit > Sid > did > dig > dmg > dig > dip > sip > Sp3000 > spy > sky > skv > sky > soy > sob > SQB > sob > job > Joe > j oe > j loe > j lee > JLee > lee > Len > ten > ton > Tom > tot > cot > COTO > GOTO 0 > got > not > no > NL628 > nil > ail > wail > wall > Will > wall > Walt > watt > Matt > mast > past > paste > pate > sate > safe > jafe > jake > rake > rale > rile > Riley > rile > mile > male > ale > ales > alas > alias > elias

• I was thinking Len > lee > JLee, but then I don’t know how to get to Len with the sequence I have – HTM Mar 31 '19 at 17:56
• Oh, I didn’t see the dictionary.com requirement... OK, I think that might work then! Just need to turn Len into something else, maybe Alex – HTM Mar 31 '19 at 18:06
• Pretty sure "es" isn't allowed by dictionary.com. (It knows about the chemical symbol Es, but that's not a word.) Nor is "ade". But you found a lot of short usernames I somehow overlooked completely... – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 19:20
• For “es” I was thinking “the plural of e,” but I’ll see if I can find a better route – HTM Mar 31 '19 at 19:54
• Add the following before your current attempt to improve it: A J > A E > A. P. > a pi > a pin > a tin > a thin > – Mr Pie Apr 2 '19 at 5:14

Here are 22 names with 79 changes:

Rob Watts | gob watts | go watts | o watts | watts | watt | Walt | wall | Will | wall | (Walt) | watt | Matt | mate | pate | paste | pate | rate | Rafe | jafe | cafe | cape | cap | sap | Sp3000 | spy | sky | skv | ski | skip | sip | sap | sal | sale | ale | Alex | ale | ala | alas | alias | elias | alias | alas | ala | aa | ae | A E | ae | are | art | Arth | art | hart | hat | ha | h34 | he | hen | Len | led | lad | A.D. | ad | bad | bads | Bass | bads | bids | bid | Sid | did | dig | dmg | dug | tug | tum | Tom | toe | Joe | Joe Z

[EDITED to add: It's been pointed out in comments that I carelessly included one user who is slightly below the 3k mark. Here's how to fix that up. The number of users goes down by 1; the number of changes is unaltered.]

Replace pate | rate | Rafe | jafe with pate | pane | jane | jafe.

These are more or less all the short names of 30k+ users that seems like they have much chance of being connected to words.

It feels as if connecting the longer ones (those that aren't obviously impossible) would be easy but boring: almost everything connects to almost everything else, eventually. By way of example, starting at one of my endpoints there and picking a longer name more or less at random:

Rob Watts | hob watts | hoe watts | hie watts | hike watts | mike watts | mike watt | mike wast | mike west | mike nest | mike a nest | mike ba nest | mike bar nest | mike ear nest | Mike Earnest

so there, if you like, I now have 22 names with 89 changes. But I'll leave it there.

A few short ones I realise I omitted:

Oray (or ay / o ray), athin (a thin), Glen O (glen o), Tryth (truth), DEEM (deem), ...

(I also edited in one more because it was quite close to one I already had.)

• I believe Rafe is just below the 3k rep mark, unfortunately – HTM Mar 31 '19 at 17:51
• Oops, you're right. Not quite sure how I made that error. (I don't think it's that they just lost a load of rep.) – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 19:13
• My name should be pretty readily usable but I’m not sure if I’m a prominent enough user ;) – Rubio Mar 31 '19 at 19:24
• Indeed. And slightly to my surprise it turns out that io is a word according to dictionary.com. – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 19:27

5 names in 15 moves:

m oehm - m ohm - m om - mom - tom - toms - toss - boss - bass - mass - mast - matt - mat - may - ray - oray

• I was very surprised to wake up this morning and see my name in a puzzle title, how about you? Great answer by the way — +1! – El-Guest Mar 31 '19 at 13:40
• @El-Guest Yeah I was pretty surprised as well... Mother of clickbaits :p – jafe Mar 31 '19 at 17:20
• @jafe Oops, I accidentally deleted that comment -- pure misclicking. I've undeleted it again. I'm leaving this comment just in case the deletion shows up in your inbox or something. – Gareth McCaughan Mar 31 '19 at 19:22
• @El-Guest !!! – jafe Apr 1 '19 at 7:23
• You and @El-Guest are the best guys on Puzzling. I expect to see a $♦$ next to each of your names, soon ;) – Mr Pie Apr 1 '19 at 14:35