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Author Topic: Well-scored word lists  (Read 1817 times)

axlrosen

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  • Posts: 24
Well-scored word lists
« on: December 01, 2019, 04:00:03 PM »
How important is having a well-scored word list to creating a great puzzle? I assumed that it was crucial.

The Cruciverb wordlist has no scores. I bought the XWordInfo list for $50, and many of its scores do seem useful. But I was also somewhat disappointed. For example, all of these ugly or questionable words have a score of 50, which is the same as all the perfectly good words like NOBLE, AWAIT, ABRAHAM, etc.

  • gstarraw
  • ohfers
  • taxol
  • doya
  • yenisei
  • eatons
  • landru
  • olliehardy

Are my expectations too high? Are there other word lists that have better scoring? Or is this good enough?

Thanks!
Alex

mmcbs

  • Sr. Member
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  • Posts: 357
Re: Well-scored word lists
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 04:10:15 PM »
You'll get varying opinions on this, but I'm on the side that says a well-scored word list is not important to getting a good fill. What is important is doing the fill word-by-word and selecting only words that are "good" whenever possible. Depending on the software you're using you may be able to (while you're doing a fill) delete bad words from the word list, put a higher score on words you like and a lower score on ones you don't like.

The reason those lousy words have 50 points is because that list started out with every word having 50 points, and someone changed the scores of some tiny fraction of the 300K or so words that are in the list. I honestly can't imagine anyone going all the way through one of those massive word lists and assigning a "proper" score to each one.

Every time I fill a puzzle, a knock words out of the word list that come up but are obviously not usable. Hundreds of puzzles later they're still coming up (not the ones I knocked out, but their replacements)! Just keep scrolling down until you find one you can use.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

mmcbs

  • Sr. Member
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  • Posts: 357
Re: Well-scored word lists
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 04:11:10 PM »
PS - Ollie Hardy was Stan Laurel's partner in comedy.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

Glenn9999

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  • Posts: 212
  • Common Solver, New Constructor
Re: Well-scored word lists
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 12:03:02 AM »
How important is having a well-scored word list to creating a great puzzle? I assumed that it was crucial.

Honestly, I never "got" the whole concept of "scoring" a word list, simply because a good puzzle is going to be dependent on human judgment of solving ability and entertainment more than any computer automation.  In fact, a lot of puzzles can be completely computer generated (witness the "auto-fill" function of the editing software) - I wouldn't be surprised if some of the mass-produced puzzle books are.  But the computer will know nothing of what it's like to solve it or if there are any problems of weird words, partials, and so forth.  There's a reason why humans are creating puzzles...

FWIW, use the word list as an aid, but not as a substitute for what you need to be doing as the constructor.

axlrosen

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  • Posts: 24
Re: Well-scored word lists
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 03:44:01 AM »
PS - Ollie Hardy was Stan Laurel's partner in comedy.

Yes, but he's not usually referred to in that way. OLIVERHARDY would be a great answer :)

 


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