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I don't understand how I was allowed this word

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  • I don't understand how I was allowed this word

    I'm not sure how "Pricelessnesses" was allowed. I just typed it in on reflex after getting "Pricelessness". I would have had to use the same E and S twice. I'm confused, am I missing something here? Thanks.

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  • #2
    That's something that's supposed to be fixed in time, when all the boards are run through the dictionary to update & fix the allowable word list. (They're stored separately for each board.) Today I got DISREPUTATIONS on a board containing only one S.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. Good to know it's not just me.


      • #4
        Ok, to say "... the boards ... [need to be] run through the dictionary to update & fix the allowable word list..." I agree that's more or less what should have happened, but may I offer ...

        I don't know of any case where a non-dictionary word is being allowed in a game. The recent bug is that non-board-words (i.e. words that can't be found in the boggle game board, under the published rules of boggle) ARE being allowed. It seems like in every case, the rule that's being overlooked is that you can't re-use a letter once it has been used in the current word.

        A quick-and-dirty check, that might catch some of these cases, would be just to count up the number of each letter in the proposed "allowable answer", and if it has more of some letter than can even be found in the board (two "s"-es, vs one "s", as in the example above), then obviously the "allowable answer" shouldn't be allowed.
        (The trouble, of course, is that there could be a "safety 's'" somewhere else in the board, not contiguous to the answer being checked, but giving cover in terms of letter-counts.)

        The real fix would be to run each puzzle's official answer-key (stored-list-of-allowable-answers) against the board, to check if each answer can actually be formed from the board. (If you were doing this from scratch, you might run the whole dictionary against the board this way, to form a brand new stored-list-of-allowable-answers; but what I'm suggesting is just a way to vet the existing lists, on the belief that the only problem they have is the occasional wild wrong-answer that got added by hand (or something?)).

        BTW, if you're running from scratch, there are of course some beautiful ways to organize the dictionary data and the board search so that the work is optimized . There are way more words in the dictionary than will ever show up in a board's answer key; meanwhile, the number of strings-of-letters that can be formed in a 5x5 boggle board must be up into the bazillions. (E.g. if the board has the letters "abcde / fghij /
        klmno / pqrst / uvwxy
        ", don't forget "abcdeihgfklmqupvwrstyx" as a possible word. But (on the other hand), do forget it, because you should have stopped tracing through the board when you got to "abcd", since there are no sowpods words that start with those four letters. ("Stop tracing" in the sense of "backtrack to some useful choice point..." e.g. "abc", and try whatever comes next.)

        Also BTW, another part of a real fix might be to run a nightly process that goes through all the puzzles, and vets the answer-key for each puzzle against that puzzle's board. (I.e., using the puzzle's answer-key file as a stand-in for the dictionary).

        (You could also use the actual dictionary for this nightly check, but what if a word gets added to the answer key one fine day? (Either because it was erroneously omitted at first, or because somebody has just expanded the dictionary.) Ouch -- doesn't that mess up the competitive statistics that seem to be so important to many of the bogglers who hang out here?

        (Then again, you could always do both checks every night, and of course track statistics on how many of each type of error gets caught every day, and why ... fun! ( hah!))

        Anyway, with a nightly check, then maybe you wouldn't have to keep getting helpful process (and technical) suggestions like these from the retired peanut gallery.



        • #5
          This game does NOT use the SOWPODS word list. Perhaps it started with that, but it's been expanded far beyond that. The SOWPODS list is flawed in so many ways that I don't even want to get started because I'm trying to give up polemics. It looks like each random (or manually-created) board was generated, and then a program checked each word in the dictionary to see if it could be found on the board. If it could, that word was added to the list of valid words for the board and stored with the board for use by players later. Evidently, there was a bug in the "is this word found on the board" routine that did not always flag a previously-used letter as illegal. I assume that bug has been found and fixed, but it would have to be run against all flawed boards (which might well mean "all boards") and would probably result in that board's current statistics being reset. The simpler fix would be to run the fix on boards as they are retired (played more than 50 times/current max score exceeds 600, or whatever) since that resets the board statistics anyway.


          • #6
            Hi folks -

            I've just this week finished work on my most recent project and will be able to address these bugs shortly. The entire puzzle library will be rescanned for words and this will knock out those few "phantom words" that are being accepted currently but which aren't actually playable without reusing a specific letter. The scripts are working properly on my local machines here - I just need to rework them a bit and make them a bit less resource-intensive before I move them over to the production server.
            If you enjoy our puzzles, please consider upgrading to a premium account to remove all ads and help support us financially. Thanks for your support!


            • #7
              Polemics. Good word, thanks bwt1213.


              • #8
                > ... The SOWPODS list is flawed in so many ways that I don't even want to get started ...

                Hmm... so there's a reaction to the use of the word "sowpods" ... sorry, it wasn't meant to give offense (but apparently touched a sore spot). It could just be taken as a shorthand for "your favorite dictionary (official or otherwise)", in the context.

                Meanwhile, nobody objected to the use of "bazillions". Not that they should, of course -- apparently that's actually a valid word, listed in the sowpods. (Oops -- said it again. )


                • #9
                  SOWPODS is an actual valid word list. It's not complete and the omissions are profoundly annoying. If you have a word list small enough that it can be memorized (champion Scrabble players memorize alphabetized groups of letters that form words, and all the words those alphabetized letter groupings form, for example) so as to basically turn themselves into computer programs. If SOWPODS were more of a complete list -- say, 650,000 words instead of 250,000 -- that strategy probably wouldn't work any more. The other annoying thing is the omission of derived forms we all recognize as words. Examples: regularly formed plurals of nouns and regularly formed tenses of verbs. The actual rules for Scrabble say (or at least used to say), that all regular forms like those were to be be accepted even if they were not found in a particular dictionary. Somehow, that rule was perverted to say that no word would be accepted unless it were in SOWPODS, paving the way for the human bot players. I don't like the game those people play. I do like Scrabble.


                  • #10
                    There is a certain lexicological rigidity in academia, trying to force English to be what it is not. It is rather like the SOWPODS insistence that words outside their purview are not proper words at all. Another example of this is the insistence that "gerunds are not nouns", and that gerunds therefore don't take plurals. I read the academic reasoning for this position, and it boiled down to the idea that gerunds were not countable things and therefore couldn't take a plural. And yet I can come up with examples of "kinds of" gerunds for every gerund that exists, so their argument is basically invalid. There are many kinds of "swimming", "running", "loving", "frying", and so on. I'm sure everyone playing this game can find legitimate reasons to pluralize every gerund in existence. In fact, gerunds really are nouns. Really. All the way. But I can't change what lexicographers think. They don't listen to me. They tell each other that gerunds are not numerable and not nouns and they agree on that. The facts don't really matter to them.


                    • #11
                      So I probably didn't avoid being a polemic. But I hope I avoided a screed.


                      • #12
                        It's also impossible for this or any dictionary to be perfectly up to date. For example, Wordtwist does not currently accept stan, which means an overzealous fan. It probably will in another year or two.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ShirleyMarquez View Post
                          It's also impossible for this or any dictionary to be perfectly up to date. For example, Wordtwist does not currently accept stan, which means an overzealous fan. It probably will in another year or two.
                          Good word. Stan.

                          Doesn't accept pex either, which is so common in building. A type of cross-linked polyethylene plumbing pipe that's replaced copper in most home construction. PEX has been around for a couple of decades.


                          • #14
                            I had to replace my gal with pex...I don't have a problem with copper, but the gal(vansied) pipe ...chokes.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by floppers View Post
                              I had to replace my gal with pex...I don't have a problem with copper, but the gal(vansied) pipe ...chokes.
                              Love the look of copper. But, pex is cheaper. And hidden behind walls? Who sees it? Plus, copper can freeze and burst when connected to outside faucets when the temperature drops waaaaaaaaay down. Tearing corroded, concrete-embedded gal out is definitely not fun. Nor cheap.