It's a lovely evening in Letterland and all the little letter couples have gone down to the seaport promenade to stroll about and ride the Ferris wheel.

As the Ferris wheel turns, those on the promenade discover they can read words.

How many words do they see?

Here is a picture of the Ferris wheel:


There's a tiny bit of lateral thinking here, so I don't want to say too much, but I think we can all agree:
1. A couple may not be broken up to form words. Either both letters of the pair are in the word, or both letters are not in the word.
2. The letters of a couple are always read from left to right in a word, and the two never change their positions relative to each other. (Obviously, this is due to the fact that Ferris wheel cars don't turn upside-down.)

  • $\begingroup$ A silly question, does a Ferris wheel rotate in clock-wise or anti clock-wise direction, when you face it in boarding direction? $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Jul 22 '19 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ @MeaCulpaNay - I've seen both, depending on which side of the wheel was set up for boarding. The one common factor I've seen on all wheels is that you are facing the direction of travel as you go over the top. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 22 '19 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MeaCulpaNay — Good question, though I'm not qualified to answer it as I have not ridden many Ferris wheels. I'll defer to Jeff's response (though it might be fun to go over the top of the wheel facing backward!) For this particular puzzle, while the rotation of the Ferris wheel does play a role, the direction of rotation should not. $\endgroup$ – SlowMagic Jul 22 '19 at 23:16

As the wheel goes around, if we're assuming

We can only 'read' words by looking at adjacent carts left to right at any point in the rotation of the wheel

I see

Secure, Cure, Phrase, Anemic, Dean, Side, Reside, Sire, Desire, Recuse, Seraph, Seraphic, Iceman

Edit: If we count 2 letter words, that would trivially add 4 more, for a total of


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I find thirteen words in total: Reading as the cars go past the top of the wheel, I see CU RE, RE SI DE, SI DE, DE AN, AN EM IC, PH RA SE, SE CU RE. Reading as the cars go past the bottom of the wheel, I see SE RA PH, SE RA PH IC, IC EM AN, DE SI RE, SI RE, RE CU SE.

If one allows colloquialisms or slang, one can add DE SI (referring to a native of the part of Asia south of the Himalaya Mountains) (14)

If one allows two-letter words, there's AN, EM (a printer's measure, equal to the width of the capital M in a font), RE (the second note in the Solfege scale, "a drop of golden sun" in the teaching song from The Sound of Music) (17)

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    $\begingroup$ Your last 2-letter word is also a word from Latin (an ablative noun), meaning "about" or "in reference to" - although its use in emails, et cetera, is often misattributed to an abbreviation. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jul 23 '19 at 8:14

I find a few more than other solvers here.

clockwise (2-letter words are counted as "anticlockwise", below)




The most obscure ones:


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    $\begingroup$ si is duplicated, +1! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 22 '19 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ So it is. I wonder why the others aren't :-). Will fix. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 22 '19 at 18:16

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