an anagram game for emacs
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Commentary:

Provides a function `jumblr-new-game’ (aliased to `jumblr’) which launches a word game closely based on the old TextTwist by Yahoo.

The interface should be pretty intuitive: it displays a sequence of letters, along with a series of blanks. The blanks represent words which can be made from the letters. You type a word and “submit” it by either hitting SPC or RET; the word replaces one of the blanks if it fits. Hitting SPC or RET with an empty guess reshuffles the letters.

I tried to make the interface pretty responsive; take a look at the screenshots below for a sense of how it works

./screenshots/jumblr-normal.png

Typing:

./screenshots/jumblr-typing.png

If you give up and ask for the solution:

./screenshots/jumblr-solve.png

Notes about the implementation:

The implementation is pretty straightforward and mostly consists of functions to find permutations and subsets of words; I’m sure this could be made much faster.

The most important aspect for game play is actually the word list: in order for the game to be fun it must know all the words you can think of, but not have too many obscure words. It turns out to be surprisingly difficult to find that balance. My approach is as follows:

  1. Take the SIL english word list and intersect it with the New Oxford English Dictionary which comes with mac osx. I then removed the three letter words which were obviously acronyms, abbreviations for longer words, or racial slurs. This is the “expert” word list and contains about 85,000 words. (source: http://www-01.sil.org/linguistics/wordlists/english/)
  2. Take the “8” word list from http://www.keithv.com/software/wlist/ and intersect it with the “expert” list. This becomes the “hard” list and contains about 47,000 words.
  3. Take the “9” word list from the above link and intersect with with the “expert” list. This is the “medium” list and contains about 36,000 words.
  4. Take the “10” word list from the above link and intersect it with the “expert” list. This contains 21,000 words and is the “easy” list.

Let me know how you find the difficulty levels – I’d really appreciate the feedback!

Installation:

Use package.el. You’ll need to add MELPA to your archives:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("melpa" . "https://melpa.org/packages/") t)

Alternatively, you can just save this file and do the standard

(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/jumblr.el")
(require 'jumblr)

Customization:

See the defvar definitions at the beginning of the source code. For example, to switch the dictionary, add the following to your .emacs:

(setq jumblr-dict-file "dict/easy.txt")

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Meredith, Brittany, Kathara, and Anna for suggesting the name jumblr!