Six Degrees Of Francis Bacon

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

A Web game that tests your linking skills.

The rules are simple. We give you two Web addresses. You start at the first one and try to hot link your way to the second using as few links as possible. For example, you can get from the White House to the FBI in a scant four links (a more direct route than most subpoenaed documents take).


White House

Commonly Requested Federal Services

One-Stop Link to Federal Information for State and Local Government Employees

Federal Agencies

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Obviously, you don’t have to count every page you visit as you search for the shortest route–only the shortest route itself. But:

Each link to a new page (even within the same site) counts as one step.

Links to Web search engines are not allowed.

It’s cheating to link through a Web page you have created or control.

(It’s also cheating in spirit to use site-specific search engines instead of roaming the sites yourself, but we have no way to catch you.)

We reserve the right to add new rules as you figure out new loopholes.

We received nearly 100 solutions to Puzzle No. 1, linking Francis Bacon (the 20th-century painter) to Francis Bacon (the Elizabethan writer). Several readers were able to beat our five-link solution, making the connection in an impressive four links. No one was able to do it in three. Congratulations go to Calvin House, the first reader to submit the four-link solution. Here’s how House brought home the Bacon:

Start here

Click on Shakespeare

Click on authorship debate

Click on a site

Click on Sir Francis Bacon’s New Advancement of Learning.

Puzzle No. 2

Get from this page devoted to French postmodernist philosopher Michel Foucault to this page devoted to TV star/dolphin Flipper.

We did it in 16 links. If you can tie or beat that, e-mail your solution (with instructions and URLs) to (All submissions will become the property of Slate and will be published at Slate’s discretion. Slate may publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.)

Results will be announced next week, along with a new puzzle. Readers are also invited to submit their own puzzles (along with a solution path).

Happy surfing!

–Seth Stevenson