Q: It's an anagram word ladder. For example, take the word "spring." If the last letter is changed to an "o" and the result is rearranged, you get "prison." Or, instead, if the last letter is changed to an "e" and the result rearranged, you get "sniper." Or change the last letter to an "a" and get "sprain," and so on. For this challenge, start with the word "autumn." Changing one letter at a time, and anagramming it each step of the way, turn "autumn" into "leaves." Each step has to be a common word. In how few steps can you do it?I know Will frowns on capitalized or plural words, so I initially looked for an ideal answer without any plurals (except for leaves). As luck would have it, that forced me to use "vestal" or "teasel" which seemed worse than using plurals so I relaxed that restriction. There are multiple answers, but I believe only one acceptable length.
Edit: My clue was intended to hint (but not give away) that there is an ideal 5-step* answer. The word "luck" hinted at amulet being required in most of the common 5-step chains. *In my terminology a step is when you go from one word to the next.
A: The following chain is 5 steps and uses common words. Your answer may be different.
AUTUMN (remove N, add L)
MUTUAL (remove U, add E)
AMULET (remove M, add S)
SALUTE (remove T, add V)
VALUES (remove U, add E)