Blindfold Games #283: Words from Words

After building the word game Blindfold Unscramble, I starting hearing from people who wanted more games based on letter scrambling.  Blindfold Unscramble is a simple game: it scrambles the letters in a word, and you have to unscramble it.  Hence the word “blindfold” might be scrambled as “fdidbolnl”.
word cubes
This lead to a game called Blindfold Words From Words: given a word, how many words can you create from those letters.  For example,  if the master word is “blindfold”, you can create the words including blind, fold, bind, old, find, oil, foil, din, and so on.  You get 3 points for a 3 letter word, 4 points for a 4 letter word, and so on.
Prior to starting the game, it tells you how many possible words can be created.  This was an easy game to build, but it I couldn’t figure out a good way to determine all possible words.
One way to solve this problem is to build each word from the available letters in the master word and then checking that the word exists can take a long time.  With the master word “blindfold”, which has 9 letters, to find all of the 3 letter words, you need to test 9 times 9 time 9 combinations, or 729 combinations.   To find all of the 4 letter words, you need to test about 7,000 combinations.  To find all of the 5 letter words, you need to test abut 60,000 combinations.  To find all of the 6 letter words, you need to test 531,000 combinations.  As you can see, the choices go up exponentially as the word gets longer.  Looking for all 9 letter combinations would analyze 400 million possibilities.
A faster way to solve this is to check every word in the dictionary, and see if it can be built from the letters in the master word.  The Blindfold Words From Words dictionary contains about 80,000 words.  That means that only 80,000 possibilities need be tested regardless of the length of the initial word.  It takes only a few seconds for the average iPhone to process that many words.
To make it even faster, ignores words from the dictionary that do not contain the letters in the master word.  For example, since the word “blindfold” does not contain letters such as “c”, “g”, “q” and “z”, all words with those letters are ignored.  That reduced the time to find all words to about one tenth of a second.
Over the months since the game was released, I’ve added several options to make game play faster.  You can review your words alphabetically, or in the order you found them, and at the end of the game, you can see either all the words, or just the words you’ve found, or just the words that you couldn’t find.  Like the other Blindfold Word Games, it’s fun, fast paced, and helps you improve your vocabulary.
To download Blindfold Words From Words, click here:

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