47 2 min 5 mths

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 31, 2021): Driving Across the USA

Q: Starting in Montana, you can drive into South Dakota and then into Iowa. Those three states have the postal abbreviations MT, SD, and IA — whose letters can be rearranged to spell AMIDST. The challenge is to do this with four connected states to make an eight-letter word. That is, start in a certain state, drive to another, then another, and then another. Take the postal abbreviations of the four states you visit, mix the letters up, and use them to spell a common eight-letter word. Can you do this?

I’m using a list of states directly connected by physical roads/bridges. This leaves out states that might legally touch on a map (e.g. UT-NM, AZ-CO, MI-MN, NY-RI, etc.). But even still, I’m not convinced there is only one answer. I guess it comes down to your definition of “common”.

Edit: Unless there is some further restriction, I have at least 6 words that I consider common, 3 more if you allow an added S.

A:
Common words:

  • animator (IA-MO-AR-TN)
  • condemns (SD-NE-CO-NM)
  • diamonds (ND-SD-IA-MO)
  • diocesan (SD-IA-NE-CO)
  • dioramas (SD-IA-MO-AR)
  • flagrant (AR-TN-GA-FL)
  • nominate (NE-IA-MO-TN)
  • ornament (AR-TN-MO-NE)
  • ransomed (SD-NE-MO-AR)
  • Less common words:

  • contused (UT-CO-NE-SD)
  • diaphone (IN-OH-PA-DE)
  • eduction (ID-UT-CO-NE)
  • galavant (GA-AL-TN-VA)
  • magneton (NE-MO-TN-GA)
  • mediants (MT-SD-NE-IA)
  • moleskin (NE-KS-MO-IL)
  • moralism (IL-MO-AR-MS)
  • nomadism (SD-MN-IA-MO)
  • nonmetal (NE-MO-TN-AL)
  • saintdom (SD-IA-MO-TN)
  • tangrams (MS-AR-TN-GA)
  • Uncommon words:

  • coenamor (CO-NE-MO-AR)
  • domaines (SD-NE-IA-MO)
  • makimono (NM-OK-MO-IA)
  • martagon (MO-AR-TN-GA)
  • matronal (MO-AR-TN-AL)
  • monecian (CO-NE-IA-MN)
  • takingly (IL-KY-TN-GA)
  • Check out more at puzzles.blainesville.com

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