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1.5 Finding words from a Scrabble® rack

TEA template and anagram patterns have been introduced separately in previous steps. They can also be used together by adding an anagram pattern at the end of a template, with the semicolon (;) separating the two parts. This type of pattern is useful for finding words when playing Scrabble®, Lexulous and other word games such as Boggle.

Suppose you were faced with this Scrabble® rack for the first move of a game:

Step 5 initial image

A TEA anagram pattern of ;bdeillu would help you find anagrams of the seven letters, but you won't usually be able to find such a "bingo" and will need to play less than the seven letters. To find a range of word lengths, you can add a template with a wildcard, as shown below:

Step 5 intermediate image

Type *.....;bdeillu into the box below the Pattern label and click on the Word Search button. You should see that TEA actually does find a bingo for this rack (bullied). It also finds several shorter words such as illude; TEA's Anagram Balances show the tiles that would be left if you played a word (in this case a B).

The five dots in the template mean that only words of five of more letters will be matched. If the template part of the pattern had been just a * wildcard, large numbers of irrelevant short words would have been shown in the results. Note that with this kind of pattern, TEA helpfully shows the longest matched words at the top and the shortest at the bottom: i.e., it shows results with the shortest Anagram Balances at the top.

Note that if you mainly use TEA when playing Scrabble®, you might prefer to use the ENABLE supplementary dictionary; this is specifically designed for Scrabble® players and excludes the unacceptable words that result if you use the default TEA configuration; to search this dictionary, use the File|Open... command, select the ENABLE dictionary file and click on Open.)

Another way to eliminate short words is to use the Shortest setting; this will be done in the next example based on the word games in the Channel 4 program "Countdown". Suppose the nine letters selected were:

Step 5 intermediate image

You can use a combined template and anagram pattern to search for words that can be made from these letters, as shown below:

Step 5 intermediate image

Type *;rginsroag into the box below the Pattern label. Before clicking on Word Search, note that the range of answer lengths shown by the progress bar goes from 1 to 9. We are only interested in long words - it should be easy to make a seven letter word, but are there any longer ones? Using the Shortest setting is another way of eliminating the unwanted short words.

To increase the Shortest setting, either click into the box to the right of the label and change the number using the keyboard; or click on the up arrow to the right of the box using the mouse. Do this now, changing the Shortest setting to 7 as shown below:

Step 5 final image

Click on Word Search and you will see words of seven letters or more made up from the selection RGINSROAG, including the nine-letter word grosgrain (a silk fabric used for ribbons and hat bands).

Before going on to the next step, change the Shortest setting back to the minimum value 1, either by clicking on the down arrow with the mouse, or using the keyboard as described above. In the next step, we'll learn how "letter variables" can help you find words with repeated letters.


Relevant Help Sections

Templates with Anagrams
Anagram Balances

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Last updated: $Date: 2010/06/06 20:40:38 $
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