Just signed up to share some of the solutions (3 of them) I was able to come up with in 6 steps:
OH MAN! After a lot of searching I was able to do it in 5 steps (5 solutions):
I confirmed the words on Anagrammer.
EDIT: although all words are accepted on Anagrammer, someone pointed out in the comments that two of the words used in the 6-step solutions ...
My first is in Family and also in Hill
My second in Circle and also in Flood
My third is in Forest and also in Clock
My fourth stands alone in my frozen wastes.
These together make
First Try: Selecting letters for No. 1, No. 2, etc.
I'm not sure if this holds water but is it an
Title: Frozen Wastes
Start with eleven in one e four e six;
add what is missing from otherhood, oke, icks;
improving position, go upwards by one;
mix up for organs, remove fifty-one.
Add to the end an American nation;
abbreviate all and add short operation;
age for a few more years, then turn around;
prefix by fifteen – a trap on the ground!
I think you are an
My infix is energy,
My prefix a curve.
My suffix full of honey,
And docs I preserve.
My prefix a curve,
My infix entering through vein.
My suffix is earth,
And I am where records remain.
Here's one way. It probably isn't close to optimal. 42 steps if I've counted right.
Credit where due: the path from EIGHT to SEVEN is derived from Hunter's answer to an earlier puzzle, though not much of that answer remains in what I have there now. JonMark Perry spotted what in hindsight should have been an obvious improvement in the path from FOUR to ...
This is a proof that Omega Krypton's answer of 38 is optimal, as long as these words are nonexistent (single implication):
First, a calculation of the theoretical best (although no suitable words may exist), by using a Levenshteins distance (word difference by letters) ...
I really hope the answer is
In a creature is my natural home.
Have me in your meal and you'll become me.
(With me, this line would be adjacent.)
Experts take more time with me.
In winter wear, I might be half a mile.
Title: I wish, I yearn, for an answer to this riddle
In this answer I will show that five steps is the minimum number required (from the answer by @JoãoBravo).
Suppose by contradiction that there are four. Then the sequence will be of the form
F i v e, _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _, F o u r.
If the first letter remains unchanged the whole way through, the sequence is
F i v e, F _ _ _, F _ _ _, F _ _ _, F o u r....
As @RossMillikan pointed out correctly, the proof from @TheSimpliFire is incomplete.
The following part
F i v e, F _ _ _, F _ _ _, F _ _ _, F o u r.
Therefore, at each step, one of i v e must be changed to match o u r, without any deviations. This is clearly impossible.
can be done with any of the following sequences
Five => F_ve => F_ue / F_vr => F_ur ...
Here it is, no explanation needed i think :)
As @IvánNokonoko mentioned in the comment, the NNE grid in the second layer (from outside) can also be R instead of A to form (GRIT and BRIT). Thanks!
I hope my initial thoughts for your puzzle are
I hide as a puzzle in Malaysian spoon,
Bounding sturdy monument and sturdy wood.
Upside-down in common marsupials' and rare antelopes' front,
I'm a gesture, or three, for good.
My infix is somewhere in the Middle East,
My prefix annoy and make you muddy,
My suffix a line, peculiar at least.
And I, concealed, is what you see!
My prefix on the road, is not an island,
My infix is three dots on the left.
My suffix is to Anglo-Saxons, an island.
And I, and I, when would I come back?