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.

Most recent blog posts from Andrew Schultz...

aschultz aschultz - December 28, 2010 (03:51 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 29, 2010 (04:02 PM)
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 29, 2010 (04:46 PM)
The fabulous Deejay Daybat will be rocking the club at noon.
aschultz aschultz - December 29, 2010 (06:20 PM)
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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