# Choo-choo! Word trains

All aboard the Word Train Express!

Engineering a word train is simple: I'll give you the locomotive (the first word) and the caboose (the last word), and I'll specify the number of boxcars (intermediate words), and then you construct the train.

Like this:

Locomotive:  PORCHES
Number of boxcars:  4
Caboose:  STATIONARY

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

Solution:

PORCHES
ORCHESTRA
ESTRANGE
STRANGEST
GESTATION
STATIONARY


And like this:

Locomotive:  COLONIALIST
Number of boxcars:  5
Caboose:  INGENUITY

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

Solution:

COLONIALIST
LISTEN
STENCH
ENCHANT
CHANTING
TINGE
INGENUITY


Note:
— Each unit must be indented from the previous unit by at least one letter
— Each unit must extend beyond the previous unit by at least one letter
— Each unit must overlap the previous unit by at least four letters
— Each unit must overlap the previous previous unit by at least one letter

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

See if you can construct the following four word trains:

The A Train
-----------
Locomotive:  GASLIT
Number of boxcars:  7
Caboose:  GINGER

The B-1 Train
-------------
Locomotive:  SCRAM
Number of boxcars:  11
Caboose:  ESSENCE

The B-2 Train
-------------
Locomotive:  SCRAM
Number of boxcars:  12
Caboose:  YESTERDAY

The C Train
-----------
Locomotive:  CUBIST
Number of boxcars:  14
Caboose:  GINGER


Epilogue:

Nice work, @PiIsNot3 , @cpark , and @hexomino ! People really came up with some amazingly efficient paths from locomotive to caboose!

I realize now that by giving the number of boxcars, the puzzle became over-specified. This didn't allow the puzzle solvers enough room to freely explore their own paths. I'll keep this in mind in future puzzles.

In case you're interested in seeing the trains I had in mind, see below.

@WeatherVane — I would still be curious about the solutions your computer program came up with.

The A Train:
GASLIT, SLITHER, THERE, HERETIC, RETICENT, CENTER, ENTERING, RINGING, GINGER

The B-1 Train:
SCRAM, CRAMP, RAMPANT, PANTHER, THEREFORE, REFOREST, RESTRICT, STRICTEST, TESTABLE, STABLES, BLESS, LESSEN, ESSENCE
—OR—
SCRAM, CRAMP, RAMPANT, PANTHER, THEREFORE, REFOREST, RESTRICT, STRICTEST, TESTABLE, TABLES, BLESS, LESSEN, ESSENCE
—OR—
SCRAM, CRAMP, RAMPANT, PANTHER, THEREFORE, REFOREST, RESTRAIN, STRAINED, INEDIBLE, EDIBLES, BLESS, LESSEN, ESSENCE
—OR—
SCRAM, CRAMP, RAMPANT, PANTHER, THEREFORE, REFOREST, RESTRAIN, TRAINED, INEDIBLE, EDIBLES, BLESS, LESSEN, ESSENCE

The B-2 Train:
SCRAM, CRAMP, RAMPANT, PANTHER, THEREFORE, REFOREST, RESTRICT, STRICTURE, TUREEN, REENLIST, ENLISTING, STINGRAY, GRAYEST, YESTERDAY

The C Train:
CUBIST, BISTRO, STROP, TROPE, ROPER, OPERATIONAL, RATIONALIST, LISTENS, TENSE, ENSEMBLE, EMBLEM, BLEMISH, MISHAP, SHAPING, PINGING, GINGER

• This reminds me of Bridge Words! :D Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 17:39
• @user477343 — Cool! Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 18:22
• Using rot13(pbzcbhaq jbeqf) is definitely a strategy... how many can we use? Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 18:48
• Definition of SlowMagic: "provider of quality and creative wordplay puzzles, mostly stressing in the transformation of words." ~ Omega Krypton Dictionary. +1ed! Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 13:37
• Thank you, thank you, @OmegaKrypton ! I do stress the transformation of words, but what gets me stressed is worrying about whether I have presented everything clearly, accurately, and unambiguously. Puzzle solvers always manage to come up with something I didn't foresee! Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:19

Partial

The B-2 Train (10 boxcars)

SCRAM
CRAMP
RAMPANT
PANTHER
THEREIN
REINSURE
INSURES
SUREST
RESTING
STINGRAY
GRAYEST
YESTERDAY

The C Train (7 boxcars)

CUBIST
BISTRO
STROLL
ROLLOVER
LOVERS
OVERSLEEP
SLEEPING
PINGING
GINGER

• These are using the wrong number of boxcars though ...?
– Rubio
Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 4:53
• I hope it's OK - the last one I did, I managed to find significantly shorter solutions than the author intended, and they were accepted, so I assumed for this one it'd be the same
– HTM
Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 8:03
• Clever and elegant solutions! But now you've made me realize that I put myself into quandary. I should have stated explicitly whether the number of boxcars was meant as a requirement or just a suggestion. (And that also points out the difficulty with creating these types of word chain problems — everyone is working from a different definition of what qualifies as a word. So I have to be pretty permissive.) Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:18

Partial

The A-Train

GASLIT
SLITHER
THERE
HEREIN
REINVEST
INVESTOR
STORING
RINGING
GINGER

SCRAM
CRAMP
RAMPANT
PANTHER
THEREFORE
REFOREST
RESTART
STARTLE
ARTLESS
LESSEN
ESSENCE

I previously refrained from posting this computer solution because of the "no-computers" tag.

But now an answer has been accepted and @SlowMagic invited me to post. I found a lot of similar variants to the answers, but here are the shortest boxcar solutions I found:

GASLIT (7 5) GINGER

GASLIT
SLITHER
THEREFORE
REFOREST
RESTING
STINGING
GINGER


SCRAM (11 9) ESSENCE

SCRAM
CRAMP
RAMPANT
PANTHER
THEREFORE
REFOREST
RESTART
STARTLE
ARTLESS
LESSEN
ESSENCE


SCRAM (12 7) YESTERDAY

SCRAM
CRAMP
RAMPART
PARTING
TINGES
INGESTING
STINGRAY
GRAYEST
YESTERDAY


CUBIST (14 6) GINGER

CUBIST
BISTABLE
TABLES
BLESS
LESSENS
SENSING
SINGING
GINGER


I didn't find any solutions to the B-2 Train until I added REENLIST and GRAYEST to my dictionary. On the other hand, I didn't want to use a more exhaustive dictionary because it contains too many words I am not familiar with.

• Excellent! Thank you for sharing! You must have written a very fine breadth-first search algorithm to come up with such highly efficient solutions. BTW, I also made special consideration for REENLIST. I seem to remember it being spelled with a hyphen... Or maybe that's just another example of the Mandela effect... Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 14:26