Are we allowed to post 'Link Puzzles', such as this:

Get 'Beetle', from 'Bird' using 4 links.


Bird -> Fly -> Wings -> Paul McCartney -> The Beatles -> Beetle

They work as follows:

  • You are given two words and a number of links.
  • You must try to find a word related to the first word (in the example, this is bird), and continue to do this until you get to the final word. You must also use the specified number of links. (Birds FLY, they fly with WINGS, which is the name of PAUL MCCARTNEYS band, who also played in THE BEATLES which is a homophone of beetle, which is the end word).
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand how this puzzle works. Could you add some details regarding what the purpose of these puzzles are, and how they're solved? $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul Edited. $\endgroup$
    – user9377
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 18:31
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ These seem like they could end up being very open-ended. $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 18:38
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Regardless of policy, I think such a puzzle would be poor. "Related to" is hopelessly vague and subjective, and there would be disagreement about whether an answer is valid. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ For example, I could easily do this example as Bird -> Fly -> Beetle (most beetles can fly), and just add in arbitrary additions to get to four links. For that matter, you could probably argue that birds are already "related to" beetles in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ bird --(rhyme)--> turd --(synonym)--> dung --(type of)--> beetle $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ I could also solve this as Bird -> Blackbird -> The Beatles -> Beatle. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 0:16

1 Answer 1


As it stands, no. There's no chance that a puzzle like that would be left open, since it's far too open-ended. However, there are a few ways I can think of to fix it so that you could post them on PSE.

Crossword-Style Clues

For instance, a puzzle like this:

Vehicle -> compassion -> measurement -> exists -> body part

Where the possible conversions are to add a letter, subtract a letter, change a letter, or anagram. That would give you an answer of:

car -> care -> acre -> are -> ear

Not an incredibly complex example, but I think with a hint for the starting point ("three letters", perhaps) you're not in much danger of being called out as too broad.

Indicate the Conversion

Another possible version of this puzzle starts with a clue and ends with a clue, but simply notes the conversions in between. For instance:

Animal -> add a letter -> change a letter -> change a letter -> remove a letter -> remove a letter -> remove a letter -> animal

Which would give you:

Otter -> potter -> patter -> matter -> matte -> mate -> mat -> cat

This one is a bit broader, and probably less fun as well (though that's an opinion).

Word Bank

Well, kinda. You could provide a bank of possible changes that we have to fill up to get from one point to another. Using your example:

Bird -> ? -> ? -> ? -> ? -> Beetle

Word Bank:
- Verb association
- Noun association
- Music association
- Music association
- Homophone

The whole trope of "associations" might be too broad, but it's a possible way to get there.


Not much of a conclusion, really, other than saying that my favorite version is the first version. If this is something you attempt in the future, these are some interesting ways you can make it limited enough that you don't get slapped with the "too-broad" close notice. Of course, other ways surely exist as well! If you discover any, feel free to use them.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 May I suggest adding something about turning it into a riddle? While not exactly the same, it has a similar feel. $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that the linked example in Geobits's comment is a great way of doing one of these. :) $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 19:35

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