I could do a few testing runs through your Spring Thing game before the end of the month.
Also, I was reading your word ladder post and recalled that I'd written a similar program in Python a while back after reading Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart, in which word ladder puzzles were mentioned.
My initial naive algorithm (BFS through a graph constructed from the dictionary in /usr/dict/words) was fine for shorter words, but building the graph could take several minutes for longer words. I did some research and found a better algorithm: basically hashing an n-letter word into n distinct buckets using wildcard characters for each letter position. For example, the word BREAD would be hashed into five buckets using keys *READ, B*EAD, BR*AD, BRE*D, and BREA*. So, words separated by a single letter would all be hashed to the same hash bucket.
I could dig up the program if people are interested, but it may be a bit sloppy as I was only writing it for my own amusement at the time and not for public consumption.
Edit: originally wrote this as if it were a PM, but posted it publicly. Oops. There's nothing especially private in it, so I've mildly edited it and decided to let it be.