Sunday, 13 October 2013

out of order

Long-distance air travel cannot be described as a pleasant experience, unless, that is, you have the wherewithal to travel first class. The cramped conditions at the back of the plane are to be endured, not enjoyed. I have several strategies for mitigating the tedium of spending hour after hour in such an uncomfortable environment, one of which is the consumption of rather more alcohol than the medical profession deems is good for me.

A second is to listen to my own music selections. In-flight entertainment has improved in recent years, but bringing my own guarantees that I will like everything I hear. However, flying is the only time I listen to my MP3 player. I would not, for example, listen to music while cycling; I may not actually wish to see someone splattered by a speeding car that they hadn’t heard approaching, but it is hard to imagine any freely chosen action that is more dangerous, and thus more stupid. Cycling blindfold might qualify.

A third stratagem is the solving or devising of some complex and devious puzzle. On my recent journey from Manchester to Hong Kong, I devised the following puzzle, which I present now for your delectation (or annoyance):
What do the following seven words have in common, bearing in mind that it isn’t possible to add any more words to the list, and that each word is in the wrong position in the sequence?

wildflower • melancholy • communist • dye • cowardly • fruit • inexperienced?
As usual, I have no idea whether this is hard or easy, but I’d like to think that it presents an interesting challenge. If you spot the connection, you will have no problem arranging the words in the correct order.

This will be the last puzzle for a while. Normal service will now resume, although I’m not sure what I will be writing about next. Stay tuned to find out.

spoiler alert
The correct solution has been submitted below.


  1. I think I am getting better at these. The answer is: violet, blue, red, indigo, yellow, orange, green (either synonyms or examples of the words given). Re-arranged it gives the common names for the colours of the visible spectrum.

  2. Siegfried is again the first to submit a correct solution, but everyone else will have to wait until the end of the month to see his answer.

    1. That was the intention, but it’s Saturday night, and I’m drunk, so I accidentally approved Siegfried’s answer while accepting a comment on another post.


Please leave a comment if you have time, even if you disagree with the opinions expressed in this post, although you must expect a robust defence of those opinions if you choose to challenge them. Anonymous comments will not be accepted.