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A Solution for the Ten Letter Acrostic Puzzle?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the word-play dept.

Puzzle Games (Games) 258

rmo101 asks: "A story in the Times reports a solution to the ten letter acrostic square puzzle that has defied solution since the ancient Greeks. An acrostic puzzle comprises a square of letters where the arrangement of letters from words written in rows result in the same words appearing vertically in the same order. The ten letter solution, however, is not accepted by all as one of the words does not appear in a dictionary. Sounds like a puzzle in search of a fiendish algorithm for interrogating a dictionary. The ancient Greeks believed that the solver of the ten letter puzzle would become immortal. Anyone fancy their chances?" Of course, the Times article doesn't report the proposed ten-letter solution (they show a five-letter one), but they do mention the controversial word: "nonesevent". Are any of you interested in trying your hand at a better solution?

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258 comments

Article messed up the latin square (5, Informative)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178151)

The actual square is:

SATOR
AREPO
TENET
OPERA
ROTAS

Which is the vertical flip of the stories' version. This one spells out the sentence in the same direction as Latin would be written (top to bottom). Also, this one generates more hits on google, with 19900 versus 1320 hits (with "SATOR AREPO" versus "AREPO SATOR").

Re:Article messed up the latin square (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178215)

Why would greeks gain immortality by making a solution in latin anyway?

Re:Article messed up the latin square (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178357)

Actually, it's a horizontal flip.

Re:Article messed up the latin square (4, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178655)

This one is also curiously palindromic, with lines of reflectional symmetry at 45 degress and 135 degrees, and rotational symmetry.

Lifetime of immortality? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178153)

The creator of the ten-letter acrostic would acheive "a lifetime of immortality"...

that's useful, hm?

Re:Lifetime of immortality? (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178203)

It's the same as a 'lifetime guarantee'.

Once it fails, that's the life over, hence no guarantee...

Re:Lifetime of immortality? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178209)

I have a lifetime guarantee on my artificial heart. Oh, wait...

Re:Lifetime of immortality? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178259)

I think you missed the point. The Greeks appreciated and had respect for thought, logic and mental prowess for its own sake. No doubt someone achieving at that level(10x10), sans computer, would have been a formidable mind indeed! No doubt an immortal in his time. Now if only so many cultures today weren't so concerned with shortcut, bottom line driven mindedness.

hm

Re:Lifetime of immortality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178420)

Immortality may well have meant in memory in the same way as many of their greatest philosophers.

Even today names such as Archimedes and Plato are known by everyone... even some people who do not know who they were have still heard of them.

Solution to the solution (4, Funny)

jerometremblay (513886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178158)

Change the dictionary.

Re:Solution to the solution (1)

qwerty shrdlu (799408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178172)

For example, use modern English instead of anchient Greek. You get a lot more words to play with that way.

Re:Solution to the solution (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178284)

nonesevent: (n) A word which must exist to solve that damned ten letter acrostic puzzle.

Mod parent up (4, Funny)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178523)

Since slashdot has stopped giving me comment points for some reason.

It's a simple enough solution - if you have a word with no meaning, just find one for it. Problem solved, the neologistical way!

The solution (4, Informative)

alanw (1822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178160)

This posting [yahoo.com] by Ted Clarke on the Yahoo! group wordgame-programmers announces his tensquare acrostic
DISCUSSING
INCANTATOR
SCARLATINA
CARNITINES
UN LIKENESS
STATESWREN
SATINWEAVE
ITINERATES
NONE SEVENT
GRASSNESTS
</tt>

There are two others mentioned, one of which contains the word "Orangutang", which is also mentioned in the Times article. Interestingly, this directory listing [gtoal.com] implies that the BENCHMARK file, which contains the above solution, was created no later than November 1999. Sorry - but I can't stop the ecode tage from inserting spaces into the text.

Re:The solution (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178244)

dudes, i'm not a fan of the implied spacing for none sevent (versus nones event) - and there should not be a hyphen...this is really like pissing and moaning over the grains and winnowing to find the valid phrases...but i do agree with that commentary below - why not just add it to wikipedia!?

Re:The solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178383)

Well done to him :)

Although it seems like an easy thing to do (albeit time consuming) using a computer once you have a list of all the words of proper lenght. If the words are in sorted in memory and all, and with some optimization, it could be pretty quick perhaps. If there aren't too many 10 letter words (not sure)then a new fast computer could try 'em all pretty quick. Feed it a different word list and slightly tweak the code and it'll work for any lenght of words... Someone very keen with a complete word list could even have the program pre-sort all the words by leght and alphabetical order and try to fill the grid for every lenght possible (every combinations). It doesn't even sound hard to do, the worst part seems to be acquiring the word lists (good ones).

There's just much more credit to doing it by hand centuries ago.

Re:The solution (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178526)

You could try /usr/dict/words.
But if you solve it now - using a computer or otherwise - the best you will get is a mention i a online newspaper article. Today nobody cares about how smart you are.

Re:The solution (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178400)

According to this article [timesonline.co.uk], this solution is contested. First of all, it uses compound words. Secondly, the word "nonesevent" may be made up or a bastardized version of "noneevent". Still, it is apparently considered the best attempt anyone has made without repeating words with the same sound.

Solution not valid (4, Funny)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178166)

The solution is not valid if the word does not exist in a dictionary. Does an encyclopedia count as a dictionary? If so I would say:
Long live Wikipedia.
Just add the word, and the puzzle is solved.
Probably the ancient greeks solved it too once, since out of frustration comes the simple answer:
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAA

Re:Solution not valid (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178193)

No, but Wiktionary does.

So does Urban Dictionary.

So does Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary.

That is a valid word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178395)

Just use Windows for a while...

Re:Solution not valid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178509)

Your solution is correct!
At least your word is in the vocabulary of my stammering boss. He uses it whenever I ask him about the holidays or salary increase.

Jut make a program... (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178171)

Couldn't one make a program that could use a whole dictionnary to try to make one of these, and try lots of dictionnaries of different languages?

If one could have such a completly-automated program (because Clark's wasn't) and tried many dictionnaries, how knows...

Maybe will we see emerging something like a Acrostic@Home grid computing program?

Re:Jut make a program... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178403)

Couldn't one make a program that could use a whole dictionnary to try to make one of these, and try lots of dictionnaries of different languages?

Just put it behind Port 22, the Russian hackers will figure it out

Re:Jut make a program... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178480)

Maybe will we see emerging something like a Acrostic@Home grid computing program?

Yes, but what happens when you have a million computers connected to each other and granted immortality?

Skynet..

History of Puzzles (-1, Troll)

PlayfullyClever (934896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178174)

From the beginning, people have played with language both for entertainment and to improve communications. Once written language developed, it was inevitable that humans would begin playing word games.

While there is certainly more to puzzle history than the traditional crossword, this extremely popular word game is worthy of special attention. The crossword evolved from a long line of word games, from the simplest riddle or pun to the cryptic crosswords and acrostics, which delight so many puzzle solvers today. Some of the earliest evidence of crossword-like word play dates from the first century A.D.

THE WORD SQUARE
The earliest precursor to the crossword is the word square. A word square consists of a group of words, all equal in length, arranged to form the same words across and down. The first known word square, called the Sator Square, is carved in stone and dates from the first century A.D. in Pompeii.

R O T A S
O P E R A
T E N E T
A R E P O
S A T O R

This particular square, which can be read four ways (left to right, right to left, top to bottom, and bottom to top), is often translated as "Arepo, the sower, watches over his works." (Its significance is unknown.)

Another early word square is the Moschion stele, circa A.D. 300; it is actually part crossword, part cryptogram, and part word seek. In the stele, Moschion, an Egyptian, is honoring Osiris (Egyptian god of the underworld) with this monument, which contains words and messages that can be read in different directions. One message on the stele is "Moschion to Osiris, for the treatment which cured his foot." In other words, a thank-you note! Word squares continued in this manner for centuries.

In the mid-1800's, the clue was introduced, although it was not a consistent feature. In fact, such clues were not "definitions" in the modern sense, but rather riddles. In 1875, St. Nicholas magazine ran a puzzle with a small grid in which, for the first time, the Across answers were different from the Down answers.

CROSSWORDS
In December 1913, Arthur Wynne took the idea of different Across and Down answers a step further, creating a diamond-shaped "word-cross" for the Sunday "Fun" section of the New York World. Wynne had created anagrams, riddles, rebuses, and word squares for the newspaper, but the word-cross was different. He added clues to the concept of the word square, borrowing from the acrostic, a popular puzzle of the day. The readers loved Wynne's new game (generally recognized as the first crossword) and soon were clamoring for more.

The New York World continued to publish crosswords (the name changed from word-cross within a month of the first publication) for ten years without real competition. Then, in April 1924, Simon & Schuster, an upstart publishing company, decided to publish an all-crosswords book. They hired Margaret Petherbridge (later Farrar) and other editors from the New York World to compile and edit the book. Since it was a risky proposition, Simon & Schuster did not put its name on the book as publisher. Instead, they used the moniker Plaza Publishing. When the 3,900 copies in the first printing quickly sold out, Simon & Schuster knew they had a winner. By the end of the year, they had four books on the best-seller list, and the name Simon & Schuster appeared on the book along with Plaza Publishing.

CROSSWORDS IN THE NEWS
The success of the Simon & Schuster book made crosswords big news in 1924 and throughout the rest of the decade. University professors gave their opinions on the educational and health benefits, as well as the potential "risks" (gasp!) of solving crosswords. Solving competitions cropped up. One Cleveland woman claimed her husband's obsession with crosswords led to their divorce. Dictionary sales soared, and libraries limited the usage of dictionaries. Black and white clothing and jewelry became the rage.

Even Broadway musicals featured crosswords! Puzzles of 1925, a musical revue starring Walter Pidgeon, Cyril Ritchard, and Helen Broderick, included a skit focusing on crossword solvers.

In November 1924, the New York Times claimed the crossword phenomenon was causing "temporary madness." This same paper actually declared the "crossword epidemic" over in February 1927.

Many newspapers, not just the New York Times, were resistant to the success and popularity of the crossword. Eventually even the New York Times started publishing crosswords. Margaret (Petherbridge) Farrar became the editor for the New York Times, and on February 15, 1942, the first Sunday crossword appeared in the Sunday Magazine. The daily crossword puzzle made its debut in 1950.

CROSSWORDS TODAY
Of course, crosswords continue to be tremendously popular with solvers around the world today. There is the U.S.-style, symmetrical crossword with which we are so familiar, available in newspapers, magazines, and books. There are also cryptic crosswords and diagramless crosswords, as well as other variety-style crosswords. And, we still have the simple word square (available in puzzles such as Across & Down® Penny Press). With the increasing accessibility of technology, crosswords are also available as electronic games. It appears that these delightful word games will continue to entertain us for generations to come!

History of Karma Whoring (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178325)

From the beginning of time people have tried posted comment solely in order to gain karma, rather than by trying to actually provide the community with anything. Once Slashdot evolved, it was inevitable that people would start whoring for karma.

HISTORY OF KARMA WHORING

Karma whoring has existed for as long as Slashdot has existed. The earliest karma whore to achieve substantial success was Signal 11 [slashdot.org], who is unfortunately close to forgotten by now. Earlier users may remember him as an outstanding karma whore, taking the whoring to a new level. Unfortunately, Signal 11 quit karma whoring in 2000, citing no reasons. Many people have claimed to be his successors, but thus nobody is even close to achieving his legendary success.

KARMA WHORING TODAY

Since Signal 11's withdrawal, the karma whoring profession has florished, but the newcomers are mostly amateurs. Newcomers like PlayfullyClever are in late 2005 trying to replicate the achievements of Signal 11 and other early pioneers, but are sorely lacking in skills. Oldtimers long for the good old days when karma whoring actually took skill rather than merely ripping semi-relevant articles from unacknowledged sources.

Bah, why bother (1, Interesting)

Seiruu (808321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178177)

When the word doesn't even exists? What could they possibly ponder over? If it's not in the dictionary, then shut the hell up.

Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (5, Funny)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178179)

0000000000000000 - (lameness filter
0000000000000010 - sure is great
0000000000000000 - there are carrots
0000000000000000 - on my plate
0000000000000000 - I have a buick
0000000000000000 - which I hate
0000000000000000 - I cut my kittens
0000000000000000 - into bait
0000000000000000 - la la la la
0000000000000000 - lameness filter
0000000000000000 - is this enough yet?
0000000000000000 - I realize the kitten line
0000000000000000 - may be a bit offensive
0000000000000000 - I'm a supporter of felinism, I swear
0100000000000010 - I just think that a kitten's place
0000000000000001 - is in the kitchen)

I don't see the big deal. How is this one of the big puzzles in computer science again?

Re:Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178233)

You repeated one of your words. The best solution would have unique words for each line.

Re:Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (4, Informative)

swilde23 (874551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178265)

What's the difference in computing a square where each position can be 1 of 2 values, vs 1 of 26??? We should only have to deal with the upper half of the square (as it needs to be diagonal)

So, for a square of size 10 you are looking at 55 open positions. The binary case has 2^55 possibilities. A mere 36,028,797,018,963,968 different squares that need to be checked. If you only use 26 letters you are looking at 26^55 different squares! That's 6.66091878 × 10^77 different squares. Even on a network of computers (seti@home, supercomputers, whatever) that is still going to take a loooong time.

The problem itself is super easy to run through a computer, it just takes years and years of time to compute. It's the same reason that the major encryption schemes still work. Their formulas may be known, but if you don't know the factors of a number with a thousand digits in it, you can't break it. The real kicker is no one has developed a method for finding factors quickly (at least quickly enough to make encryption obsolete!)

Re:Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (1)

Triple Click (898568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178307)

That's a lot more possibilities than you need.

Just preprocess a set of known dictionaries and extract all ten-letter words. Add an option of prefixes and suffixes. For every word in that list, take each letter individually and search through the dictionary for words beginning with that letter. Check the result after each letter to see if conditions are held.

Re:Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (1)

swilde23 (874551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178336)

I know what you guys are saying, and yes you are correct. But do you happen to have a dictionary of binary words in it? I was simply pointing out the differences between what the op was saying, and what the problem required. (we could also narrow down the search space by knowing that we shouldn't have duplicate words, but that is way to much thinking for this early on a Sunday)

Re:Easy, heres one with a 2 byte wordsize: (3, Interesting)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178312)

That's not quite correct. The state space of this problem is greatly reduced because you're constraining each row or column to be a word from the dictionary. As a result, you don't have a choice of 26 for each grid cell, or 26^10 for each row or column. If you use a 100,000 word dictionary, you're looking at approximately 100000^10 choices for the whole puzzle, which is large, but not completely unmanageable.

lameness filter: justified! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178566)

is this a first?

Just wait a year (3, Funny)

Animus Howard (643891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178188)

Next year's English Oxford Dictionary will have an entry for that last word.

"Noun;The only word in the 2005 ten-letter acrostic solution which did not appear in a dictionary at the time."

Attention, this is the NSA (3, Funny)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178190)

We at the United States National Security Agency hereby order you to stop posting on this thread immediately. The solution to this puzzle is clearly of great value to our national defense and therefore is to be used only with proper authorization from us. Big Brother is watching, and any further discussion will be appropriately terminated. And yes we will know. Now get back to work finding some more prime numbers, we need those too.

Abra-Melin? (4, Interesting)

calharding (897307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178192)

This brings to mind something I read once about the "Abra-Melin" squares connected to the work of SL Macgreggor Mathers and Aleister Crowley.

One which stuck in mind goes as follows:

ALLUP
LEIRU
LIGIL
URIEL
PULLA

When ritually consecrated they are said to be capable of producing magic effects; at least according to the mystics.

Re:Abra-Melin? (1)

Ithika (703697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178246)

And if you believe that, I have a ten-letter acrostic (comes with free lifetime immortality) you may be interested in buying...

Re:Abra-Melin? (0, Troll)

Achra (846023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178520)

You should be really careful about posting those, you know. The fact that that one _stuck in your mind_ should be a warning. Lord only knows what that one is _supposed_ to do, but if you read that book, there aren't any acrostics to generate "supposed mystical effects". More like "Smite down your neighbor with boils" or "Create tempests of snow" or whatever. I'm not saying it's not all a bunch of bullshit.. I'm just saying, be careful what you're playing with. Trivializing something doesn't necessarily make it trivial.

Umm (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178199)

"Are any of you interested in trying your hand at a better solution?"

No.

Solution inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178216)

The english language is constantly acquiring words but not decommissioning them. It would seem to reason that over time the english language would accumulate enough words to solve this puzzle. Even if it is not solved yet, how many words will be added in the near future that will provide a solution? My guess is that it's only a matter of time.

Anient Greeks? (3, Interesting)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178243)

The ancient Greeks believed that the solver of the ten letter puzzle would become immortal..

Gee, um... I bet it's either less or more difficult to do it in Ancient Greek than in English. Or maybe they ancient Greeks did it in English too?

Also, as the article states, one of his words does not appear in the dictionary. Now, maybe it's just me, but using words not found in the dictionary seems to make this task a little bit easier. He is basically saying "No one could solve this using real words, but I did using a (fake) one".

Re:Anient Greeks? (1)

Haydn Fenton (752330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178641)

Using english would at seem much easier at first, since the English langauge has more words than any other language (I can't find this fact on wikipedia [wikipedia.org], but I'm sure I remember it from somewhere credible). This is mainly because we steal words from other languages ( Schadenfreude [reference.com] off the top of my head, from German 'to take pleasure from others misfortune') and we meld words to make new ones all the time ( meld [reference.com] itself comes from melt and weld - or possibly another German word, Melden, according to reference.com). Because we have the biggest vocab it's more probable that it's easier to use English instead of any other language, but when you think about it, all that matters is that you have enough 10-letter words with the right letter combinations that you can use them all to make a 10-letter acrostic puzzle. I'm not much of an expert on languages, but there's porbably a language more suited to this than English.

Only the Fool... (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178257)

Reminds me of a bit of Hofstader's Metamagical Themas [wikipedia.org]:

Only the fool would take trouble to verify that his sentence was composed of ten a's, three b's, four c's, four d's, forty-six e's, sixteen f's, four g's, thirteen h's, fifteen i's, two k's, nine l's, four m's, twenty-five n's, twenty-four o's, five p's, sixteen r's, forty-one s's, thirty-seven t's, ten u's, eight v's, eight w's, four x's, eleven y's, twenty-seven commas, twenty-three apostrophes, seven hyphens and, last but not least, a single !

There's got to be a piece of math that finds the positions where all constraints are satisfied as in the above quote.

Re:Only the Fool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178316)

Without fooling, shouldn't there be at least twenty-six apostrophes?

Re:Only the Fool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178437)

Nope, since there are only twenty-three apostrophes in the text.

Re:Only the Fool... (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178439)

Nope. There are only 23 different kinds of letters in the sentence. No q's for example.

Re:Only the Fool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178448)

If the sentence contained and j's, q's, or z's. Which it doesn't.

"nonesevent" not in google (3, Funny)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178282)

The only Google hits on nonesevent have to do with this puzzle. The remarkable thing here is not the solving of the puzzle, its the solving of the puzzle with a word so completely fake that even Google hasn't seen its likes before.

One slight difference (3, Insightful)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178289)

If I remember correctly, there were about 20,000 words in the ancient Greek language. There are over 300,000 and counting in English. I think it's safe to say we're practically cheating. The problem was probably impossible in their time, but not in ours.

Re:One slight difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178452)

The problem was probably impossible in their time

Isn't it cheating to ask someone to solve a problem that cannot be solved?

LanguageLog notes issues in the story (5, Interesting)

h4ter (717700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178303)

Benjamin Zimmer over at Language Log notes some problems with the story [upenn.edu]. Most notably:

There's no evidence that the composition of word squares, let alone 10-squares, was a pastime in ancient Greece.

And, there's the timeliness of the article:

[I]t's unclear why the Times thought that this was at all newsworthy, considering that Clarke announced his discovery of the square back in April 1999, in an issue of his e-zine WordsWorth.

Re:LanguageLog notes issues in the story (1)

Bongoots (795869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178376)

Just as on TV they have re-runs, on Slashdot they have dupes and The Times is feeding us news that is over 6 and a half years old!

You have to love the Christmas season :)

Etymology nazi! (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178338)

According to Mr Clarke the word, perhaps more correctly nones-event, is an event that takes place during a period of the month known as the nones by the Ancient Romans, rather like the Ides of March.

In other words, he combined two Latin-based words to solve an English version of a Greek puzzle.

Suddenly, English [mithrilstar.org] neologisms [ucam.org] that combine Latin and Greek don't bother me at all.

the purpose of puzzles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178342)

is not necessarily to solve the puzzle.

it is to exercise one's brain.

thus a 'computer solution' is kind of irrelevant, other than being a semi boring technical exercise.

like programming a computer to play tic tac toe, or cards.

Re:the purpose of puzzles (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178429)

One of the classic "beginner" programs is tic-tac-toe. You don't get to write chess programs until the second semester.

:mod 7up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178347)

she had no fear website Third, 7ou SmitH only serve I ever did. It Came as a complete you to join the

That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178356)

There are 300,000 word in an english dictionary. Hence, there are no more than
300,000^10 possible solutions (it's much less, of course, since the number of 10-letter words is much less than 300,000). That makes the problem easier than braking a 256-bit chiffre. Pfft -- lazy greeks.

I dont see a problem (0, Redundant)

mrsalty (104200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178369)

Nonesevent is a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:I dont see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178430)

Now we even get comments that are dupes? Only on Slashdot!

Sparse space (5, Interesting)

tgv (254536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178380)

It's a sparseness problem. The space of two letter words is pretty full, but as the length of the words increases, the number of words does not increase as fast as the number of possible combinations.

I've actually written a program to generate the Dutch solutions to the 5x5 puzzle somewhere around 1990, and it found several good solutions with a 210,000 word dictionary. However, it didn't find solutions for the 6x6 square. So I would expect that the 10x10 square is near impossible, unless wacky compounds would be allowed, since they are the only thing that can keep the letter combination filled...

Forget English... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178386)

I'd like to see a ten-by-ten block with Internet acronyms. Or ASCII art.
o_O
_~_
O_o

A more efficient algorithm (1)

Paul Crowley (837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178407)

Using a dictionary

(1) Calculate all the possibilities for the first five words
(2) Calculate all the possibilities for the last five words
(3) Look for a compatible pair

You can filter the possibilities down quite a lot before you start match-finding. And you can do this recursively to a certain extent.

cruel (3, Funny)

plopez (54068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178445)

Tossing something in front of an audience with a larger than normal percentage of people with some sort of OCD. What were you thinking? I for one am getting tired of having to quit my jobs, drop out of school and deal with relationship breakups while i try to be the first to solve yet another stupid puzzzle... :)

Language? (2, Insightful)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178478)

Wouldn't you have to solve it in ancient greek since any new language could just make up words to fit?

English solutiosn (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178485)

Some English solutions are given How abut a GREEK solution in ancient greek? Just make a list of all 10 letter words and have a program a go at it. The worst that can happen is that it will be proven that there is no solution.
Do the same for all other languages as well.

Orangutang (3, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178524)

So what's the problem with Orangutang? It seems like a perfectly valid word to use in such a "puzzle" to me.

And the real solution to the problem seems obvious. Considering that the term "Cyber Monday" was only created two weeks ago but is now being reported by all the major news organizations as a real thing, it would seem to me that all one needs to do to solve this problem is to work out a solution where one or two of the words look reasonably well formed and sound ok even if they are in no dictionary. Then start using them, work them into some blogs, get them some mention in the news, and wait a year or two for them to show up as new words in the dictionary (what's a year or two to an immortal?) Problem solved.

Bastards (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178548)

Of course, the Times article doesn't report the proposed ten-letter solution (they show a five-letter one)
Looks like they want to keep that immortality all to themselves!

Squares are fun. (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178604)

Now do it with a Cube.

ON - NO
NO - ON

net - ewe - ten
ewe - wow - ewe
ten - ewe - net ...

Then a hypercube...

A solution was already published a while ago... (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178702)

It was the words 'A PATERNOSTER O' written in a cross shape.
(A/O as in alpha to omega)
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