Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vox's Game

I spent some time today messing with Vox's puzzle. I found it most entertaining. You get well bonused for bigger words, but sometimes when you use a longer word, the remaining letters are very difficult to use up, and you get harshly penalized for that. One way of simplifying the scoring in terms of word repetition, might be to allow repeated words (which you would use only to avoid the penalty for not using all letters), but not give any points for them at all. I'm not 100% sure I'm solving this correctly, but the best way to find out is to post a solution. For scoring, I'm assuming that if you use a word, then on another line use the plural form of the same word, they count as different words. I'm not offering any guarantees that my scoring is 100% accurate... Here is my first stab at it:





Anonymous said...

i think that you are onto something with regard simplifying the scoring by just not giving any points for recycled words....As for your solution, it is excellent. (And yes, adding an "s" to a word makes it a different word.) What i find interesting is that we seemed to rely upon different strategies in arriving at our solutions. You seemed to place more emphasis on longer words than i did while appearing less concerned with reusing words. In the solution i came up with, no word had more than 7 letters -variegated is a real beaut- but the only word i recycled was "a" and that only twice.
As for your score, i believe it actually would total 1,044.93. In the 4th line, you reused "drake" from the line above and you over-penalized yourself on lines 13 and 15 for the word "a". Still, a better score than i came up with....(i was not aware that Mr. Anchovy knew Masa from Gackt Job. :-))

mister anchovy said...

I don't know what a gackt job is (is it fun?)...I think masa is an ancient dough, no? I did try to use a number of longer words, because because the payoff was good, but at the same time, I discovered that there were some longer words, though, that simply wrecked the rest of the line and that was so costly I abandoned them. The other thing I did was to give myself a benchmark. When I first tried the puzzle, I achieved line scores that varied greatly from up in the 60s way down to the 30s. I made a totally arbitrary decision that I would not accept any scores under 45, and when I did this, I started to achieve consistently higher scores. I suppose that reasonalbe scores would differ with different keywords. I tried very hard to use all the letters, although I believe I didn't achieve that with every line. Do we get a new keyword next week?

mister anchovy said...

I've been thinking about simpler ways to score the game... What would it play like if you scored it like something like this:
...score 5 points if you use all the letters in a line
...score 0 points for 1,2,3 and 4 letter words
...allow repeated words but score 0 points for them
...if you don't use all the letters, no bonus but no extra penalty either
...score 1 point for every 5 letter word
...score 2 points for every 6 letter word
...score 3 points for every 7 letter word
...score 4 points for every 8 letter word
...score 5 points for every word 9 letters or above

Candy Minx said...

I'm exhausted...I'm over half way but this is a brain strain for me...

Candy Minx said...

I have no idea if this was following the rules or add/subtract poinst, this took me all evening...but here goes...I guess all I have to do is count if the letters add up to 19 and then demerit points though...right?

K kosher agave drake tim
A averaged streak him ok
D diverger shame tao kak
A amherst sievage koa do
V videogame shark taker
E emerger shoat kaki da v
R remerge khaka tsao ki
G greaser dakota hike
E everest damask oak hi
H horsemeat give dark ka
O ogre ashram tike deva
R remask khadi verge to a
S starker gave khoi dam
A asteroid remake ugh
M marketer avid sake
K kiosk tread verge ham
E eager marsh kite ado
I imager shaver eked
T traverse homage kadi

Anonymous said...

i must say uncle. The scoring system is a mess as is. It takes way too long to figure out and you should almost get bonus points if you get it right. However, the real problem with it may not so much be the scoring system itself, but the apparatus used to make the calculation. There is a fair bit involved in making certain that all of the letters have been used in each line and checking to see if any of the words have been used before. For me, that takes much longer than adding up the word values contained in each line. Indeed, in scoring your solution, Mr. A., i was rather lazy in that i did not check every line for full compliance. i concentrated on repeat words and otherwise just verified your own math.
In scoring Candy's solution, i was going to take the same approach. But i noticed as i reread my favourite line: "asteroid remake ugh" that there is a "u" in ugh, but not in the keyword....Anyway, it took me a good half hour, maybe more, to come up with a score. And that is way too long.
The score i gave your entry Candy was 964.25. The asteroid line really hurt your final score in that you actually wound up losing 3 points for it. (But i allowed "videogame" as a single word and i was quite certain that in the line "remerge khaka tsao ki" that you had added the missing "d" from the keyword to make "kid" and scored it accordingly.)
In terms of a simplified scoring system, i think it a must if the game is to continue being played using scraps of paper. As for the system that has been suggested by Mr. A., it seems to me that it has 2 chief advantages going for it; it gets rid of fractions and makes for smaller numbers to add up. But i wonder if that would significantly speed up the process of scoring. The most time-consuming aspects of scoring are still maintained (checking for the completeness of the keyword and searching out for duplicate words).As well, i am not sure that i like the idea of a 10 letter word being worth no more than one of 9. And for a puzzle such as this one with 19 letters in the keyword, you would actually be penalized for using one of 11 or more letters in that your chances for having another scoring word in that line would be diminished.
So yes, it needs some work still....
One thing that it will require is a standardized English reference for determining what is an English word. (i thought that "masa" is a Spanish word for what you describe, but perhaps like "ko", it is one of those foreign imports.) And as for "tsao", i only know that you can make oats in Taos.(But i figured you knew that and i was just too lazy to find out what tsao means.)
As for a new puzzle this weekend; while i would like to, i will make no promise. i think it would be a good idea to work the bugs out of what is firstly.
Lastly, let me say thanks to both Ms. Minx and Mr. A. for taking up the challenge. It really does chew up the better part of an afternoon or evening to complete.

Candy Minx said...

I swear, I was going to never look at this word or letters again heh heh...but as soon as I started reading your notes...I had to go through mine again.

I was pretty tired by the time Iposted it and similar challenges are involved with completeing the puzzle as there are with scoring.

The most time consuming job is going through a solution and making sure all the letters are presented and not doubled.

I am guessing you both must have had to use a similar method as mine...pieces of paper. For a half hour I thought I could create a matrix on word to use...but that was impossible so I used pages froma sketch book. About 8 sheets of paper. Writing the word out...making words, then eliminating the letters with cross hatch then scrubbing them out completely when approved...then writing out the word again and double checking.

I threw my notes out last night (ha) in fatigue and immediately dug themout of the garbage this morning to check what I "meant" to write instead of "ugh." I know I was not supposed to transcribe "ugh" into the solution...oops.

See...with the paper scraps and several exercises/attempts...I too hastily thought the word answer was ugh...when it was hag.

"tsao" is a first name.

I didn't bother with capital letters although thatmay have helped for checking scores I see now. One of the reasons i began solving with more esoteric words or names like "tsao" was to save "oats" or "Taos" for further into the puzzle.

I was keen to not repeat words for some became my main fact I probably didn't take enough time to consider a high score instead was more concerned with finishing the exercise.

It is going to be tricky to assess words that have either been transplanted, are names of newcomers, or have beenassimilatedto English.

After all the main word we used is German, no?

You know it is amazing how many letters one could find use for...

At some point anacronyms have become words. The letters "hagk" are used in gaming as a "word" "Hide and go kill".

I kind of wanted to use that but it really is obviously a anacronym. But I thought it would be funny.

For a word like "kadi" which I was familiar with, but not sure if it was usable for mainstream...I used my computer dictionary to check...and if my computer-issued dictionary took a word then I figured the word had entered pop culture...make sense?

The only reason I managed to perseverelast night was because I've been playing a few games of online scrabble and had some quick words.

Actually, coming up with wors was the fastest aspect of the game...confirming accuracy and using all the letters and double checking was the slow-poke aspect.

I kind of had fun.


Oh...well this seems like a game that might be well served to also work like pictionary or charades...and that players take turns coming up with new words and solutions, no? It seems like a vast enterprise for one person.

In keeping with Pynchon here is a Shakespeare word,


Obviously this word enchants young people for generations,


Here is a collection of word oddities and trivia:

But should the words for the game always be so long? Is it helpful or not? Part of the reasons we could make so many words is because the word was long and German containing many combinations of words with common etymologies no?

Candy Minx said...

Oh wasn't "hag" either...I just looked again...and it was simply "id"

Candy Minx said...

See I'm all screwed up...instead I better make breakfast! "id" was the final word in "R" line...and "hag" was supposed to be final word on "A: line.

mister anchovy said...

I did an experiment with a shorter key word...well, really a phrase. I tried snap beans no salt. I found it wasn't nearly as interesting as the longer keyword. If I made longer words, it seemed I was doomed to a useless jumble of left-over letters. I wonder if there is an ideal length (I notice that Vox's keyword has 19 letters, the same number of lines on a go board...the perfect number for that game).