Doublets - A Word Puzzle - By Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll devised a game called ‘Word-Links’ around Christmas 1877 as a form of entertainment for two child friends. Whether such a game or puzzle had been invented by anyone previously is unknown, but Carroll later described it as "new at least to me".
Having tested the game out on family and friends, he turned it into a form of puzzle, the rules for which he submitted to the journal Vanity Fair, where they were published in March 1879.
Lewis Carroll gave the following rules:
In subsequent issues of the journal, Carroll provided regular examples of doublets to be solved, giving his own solutions and, from time to time, comments on the rules.
Carroll later produced his own glossary of words which were allowed in the puzzles, however, anyone attempting his puzzles today may wish to make their own rules regarding validity of words. The utilities on this website ('Solver', 'Helper') are based on Carroll’s own glossary. Although not stated explicitly in Carroll's rules, the start and end "words" do not need to be accepted English words and may be chosen at will.
Some of the words in Carroll's glossary and in his solutions may appear arcane today and may make some of the puzzles difficult to solve. We have attempted to highlight the puzzles which may proved challenging in the current age.
We emphasise Carroll's rule that words should be "such as might be used in good society" and confirm that this facility can be regarded as family friendly.