Not a game, but the sort of game puzzle I like
December 28, 2010

I don't know if anyone else read any of the Brown Paper Schoolbooks series. It's held up well--I read my favorites in the library a few months ago and still enjoyed them. Lots of good titles, like I Hate Mathematics and I am not a Short Adult!

The content inside lived up to the titles, too. (Yes, yes, remember to tip your waitress, but don't push her over.) There was one puzzle that I remembered off-and-on, but it seemed so unsolvable at the time. It was this:

The "product" of a word is as follows: let A=1, B=2, ..., Z=26. Multiply all the values together. Duplicates count twice, so BEE=2*5*5=50, not 2*5.

Now what is the closest you can get to 100000000 without going over? Or without getting to 100000000? The book mentioned WYOMING as a good one. That got 98894250. The book was a second edition, though, and it mentioned a reader sent in "LIZZARDS." 99874944. Oops, extra Z.

So I wondered if you could do better than WYOMING, or even LIZZARDs. I wondered if the words would be obvious.

Without a high-powered computer, this sort of thing was impossible--but I finally say down, turned around and figured it out. It was maybe 70 lines of code, 30 of which were parsing input...and the results were interesting. Well, to me.

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aschultz aschultz - December 28, 2010 (11:51 PM)
99809280: spilths
99792000: vixenly deductive inverted overlend
99727200: stirrer cricetids broilers discolor colliers idoliser
99590400: humblest deplumes
99574272: punching
99542520: rovings tugriks sticking tickings
99532800: philtred chippered diplopod
99360000: plywood flywheel towelled
99225000: journey greenery
99111600: twiners winters decrowns rewidens wideners reweighs weighers woodbins bowlines
99066240: blitzing thulium unmilled clomping

None of these beat LIZZARDS, sadly. But it was neat to try. I actually ran up from 99000000 and factored each number, then ran all possible words for that number in a freeware anagram finder. It wasn't a huge research project, but it's immensely satisfying that something like that can be done in the space of a few hours, and it's just one more unusual thing from way back when that I don't have to wonder about any more. I tried googling. I didn't find anything. So I feel good that I was the only/first person to go back and look.

Okay, maybe some smartaleck 12-year-old beat me to it and didn't even find it worth posting on a blog. But it was still fun and interesting.

Oh, yeah: SPILTHS = stuff that's been thrown out. So I even learned a new word from this.
- - - December 30, 2010 (12:02 AM)
I can't really add anything constructive to this thread, but I just wanted to post that - since no one else has - I found it really interesting to read.
Leroux Leroux - December 30, 2010 (12:46 AM)
The fabulous Deejay Daybat will be rocking the club at noon.
aschultz aschultz - December 30, 2010 (02:20 AM)
Ben--Glad you enjoyed it. It was an odd thing I didn't know where I could throw it out, but I thought it might interest someone.

Leroux--well done. Your name called into play something I'd, sadly, forgotten.

Basically, I had excluded words with A's in them. So I get to try again. More possibilities. Yay.

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