MathGroup Archive 2005

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Puzzle Challenge

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg63339] Puzzle Challenge
  • From: gleam at
  • Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 07:19:04 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

A Merry Christmas to all!

I offer the following word puzzle as a friendly challenge to list participants.

Please consider the game board:
        __/C \__
     __/O \__/E \__
  __/L \__/I \__/R \__
/D \__/P \__/N \__/U \
\__/E \__/R \__/A \__/
    \__/A \__/T \__/
       \__/S \__/

The goal is to find as many words as possible of length five or 
greater that each can be spelled by starting on a hexagonal token and 
hopping from one token to the next.

You may use a token multiple times while spelling a word, but not 
twice in a row.  For example, you may spell APART but not COOLED.

Your program should work on a puzzle with arbitrarily chosen letters.

Your solution will not be judged, but please put effort into your 
algorithm, and tell us what makes it excel.  For example, was your 
goal to write the most concise function?  The most 
elegant?  Fastest?  Unusual?  A a robust function that will solve a 
larger set of puzzles?

You will need word lists (dictionary files) and I recommend ENABLE2k 
or the even larger YAWL, both available from:

I hope you will really enjoy working this puzzle, as well as seeing 
each other's results!


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