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Author Topic: 7-by-many puzzles using the letter S  (Read 3336 times)
jancsika
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2020, 12:42:46 AM »

This is something which I noticed a while ago, but never really understood the rationale behind it, especially since the letter “S” is frequently included in the other puzzles. I just feel that so many common words in the English language aren’t getting a look in and it just seems so unfair on poor old “S”!

(My radical solution would be to dispense with the plural rule altogether. If we allow the formation of past tenses by adding “-ed” or of present participles by adding “-ing” then the anti-plural rule just seems a bit arbitrary…)
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pat
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2020, 04:56:14 AM »

I suspect that if the plural rule was abandoned altogether then puzzles containing S would be tedious beyond belief!
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mkenuk
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2020, 11:18:00 PM »

Totally agree, Pat. Allowing every word that ends in 's' would mean not just plural nouns, but the third person singular form of every verb. The common word total of some ten-letter games could, at a guess, reach 300-400 ++.
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Alan W
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2020, 01:51:41 PM »

There are two issues under discussion here:

  • Should puzzles with an S be permitted in the daily 7-by-many?
  • Should the rules regarding plurals be relaxed or abolished?

As I see it, answering yes to the first question would mean simply that 7-by-many puzzles would be the same as 9- and 10-letter puzzles as far as plurals are concerned. Quite a lot of the puzzles would include an S, but the vast majority of plurals and verb forms ending in S would be unavailable to play.

As I've noted before, there was no compelling reason to exclude S from the 7-by-many puzzle, but I thought as it was a new type of puzzle, I could make a fresh start and avoid some of the disputation engendered by the plural issue in other puzzle types.

I'm quite open to the idea of revising this decision. To be completely clear, allowing S into the daily 7-by-many puzzle would not result in bigger puzzles, with more words to find. The number of common words would still be between 20 and 65. And most plurals would be excluded from play.

As to the second question, I'm strongly disinclined to make any change in the treatment of plurals. But I must mention that here also, there would not necessarily be an increase in puzzle sizes. If we just started allowing all plurals with no other change, as is an option in Your Puzzles, 10-letter daily puzzles would still have between 40 and 100 common words. And the Standard and Challenge puzzles would each be within their defined size ranges. What would happen is that some letter combinations currently allowed would be excluded in future because their word totals, including plurals, were too large. And some letter combinations that would not currently be used, because they don't produce enough valid words, would be used in future, since the addition of plurals would bring them up above the minimum. I doubt that these changes would be desirable, but they wouldn't lead to huge puzzles.
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Alan Walker
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Roddles
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2020, 07:39:29 AM »

Alan, given your explanation, I for one would be in favour of including S in the 7-by-many puzzles (which I find very addictive). It might help to open up the pattern of the puzzles a little. The one problem I find with them is that when the letter combinations pretty much only allow - ING endings (which happens commonly) they can become more of a test of your ability to try every combination of prefix letters than of your wider vocabulary. But I still enjoy them!
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mkenuk
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2020, 12:03:36 PM »

There are two issues under discussion here:

  • Should puzzles with an S be permitted in the daily 7-by-many?
  • Should the rules regarding plurals be relaxed or abolished?


I have no opinion on the 7-by-many question as I very rarely play the game.
As to the second issue, personally, I don't think there is too much wrong with the status quo, although I do think there should always be the option to allow 'ending-in-'s'' words into the lexicon if a strong enough case can be made for admitting them.

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Valerie
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2020, 12:19:40 PM »

Like MK, I hardly ever play the 7-by-many games.  Being a stick-in-the-mud old-timer, I haven't really taken to them.
I'm happy with the current S rules.  Most of the Target-style games I play adopt the same rules.  Or perhaps I just choose the ones that do! 
Val



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jancsika
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2020, 06:35:06 PM »

Thanks for all your comments.

I think my main argument for including plurals ending in “s” is that it would get rid of a lot of grey areas as to which plurals are allowed and which are not (I seem to recall that “odds” is accepted, for example). Also it would resolve the anomaly where words in the singular form are considered “rare” but their plural would be common(“annal/annals”, and “arrear/arrears” are two I can think of off the top of my head).

I do accept though, that by convention plurals ending in s are generally not included in target style word-games.
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Alan W
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2020, 10:47:21 AM »

The letter selection process for 7-by-many puzzles has been tweaked to reduce the frequency of puzzles allowing either -ING or -ED endings. As a result, out of 356 of these puzzles so far, only 49 include the letters I, N and G - less than one in seven. Personally I don't find those puzzles especially tedious, because most of the base words are not themselves playable, being less than five letters.

As for the Target style puzzles, I've commented more than once (most recently here) on the odd decisions behind the solutions published in the Age newspaper here in Melbourne. Here is the solution to yesterday's puzzle:



Why on earth is loads allowed? Is it because it can be a verb, as well as a noun? But then what about dotes and toddles, which are hardly ever nouns? (I agree with their inclusion of does, but we would also allow odds.)
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Alan Walker
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Jacki
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2020, 05:17:42 PM »

Well that's all very well however this is your puzzle Alan and you can make whatever rules you want!
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Dragonman
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2020, 09:13:27 PM »

I play this puzzle almost everyday, it aint broke so don't fix it.
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auntiemo
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2020, 10:48:00 PM »

I have to agree with Jacki and Dragonman....
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