Unshuffle

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In this game you have 1 minute to figure out what 9-letter word was scrambled. If you run out of time, you can still keep going.

Play Unshuffle      <<<<< Click to play

Contents

Words

  • Each is a valid English word.
  • Plurals are allowed, for example "solstices".
  • If the word was, for example "seconding", but you enter "encodings", which is its anagram, you still get it right. In this case "consigned" will also work.

How to play

  • Click the letters in the bottom row to form a word in the top row.
  • Click a letter in the top row to send it back to the bottom row.
  • When you have found the word, click Done.
  • To randomly rearrange the letters in the bottom row, click Shuffle.
  • Use the keyboard, this is faster!
    • If you type 'E' on the keyboard and there is an 'E' in the bottom row, it will be sent to the top row. The same applies to all other letters 'A' to 'Z'.
    • Press the space bar to shuffle.
    • Pressing Enter is the same as clicking Done or Next.
  • After you have submitted, the word(s) that were hidden will be revealed.
  • For a new word, click Next.

There is a log of all rounds played during a session. It is below the game screen.

On an iPhone or iPod Touch, the game is designed for playing in landscape mode.

  • Double-tap the lower-left corner of the playing area for Safari to zoom in and centre the game automatically.
  • The log of messages can be scrolled by using the two-finger scroll gesture (emulating a mousewheel): two fingers moving synchronously up or down.

More about the game

Word list

I started with a list of 10579 nine-letter words, and manually took out about 27% of them, which I didn't know the meaning of (such as "plashiest", "repechage", and "bailiwick"), technical terms ("zoophytes", "gelignite", "thyroxine"), or the kind of word I wouldn't intuitively expect to find in the dictionary ("shellfire", "backwoods", "continuer"). I rather be saying "I can't believe I didn't see that!" than "What! Is that even a word?!".
There are now less than 8000 words in the list.

By the way, "continuer" came back because it's an anagram of "centurion".

Anagram Magic

I wrote this game because I was fascinated by the Conundrum round, which is the last of the five rounds in Anagram Magic on Miniclip. I wanted to practise just this round without having to go through the other four.

The result is a free game that helps you appreciate that 9! = 362880 is a large number.

Implementation

The game is written in JavaScript, with the help of jQuery, and runs in at least 5 modern browsers, as well as on iPhone's Safari.

Facts about the words

Various observations, some of which can be turned into heuristics for guessing the words.

These are all about 9-letter words only.

Note: asterisk (*) marks a word which has been excluded from the game's list, so you wouldn't be asked to guess it.

Words with scarce vowels

There are 10 words with just one vowel:

dystrophy 
hydroxyls *
klystrons *
lynchings *
skylights 
sprightly 
strengths 
stylishly 
synchrony 
triptychs *

Note that the only word without a "y" is strengths.

There are 1091 words with 2 vowels, of which 375 contain a "y". These are usually easy to guess.

Words with scarce consonants

There are five words with only three consonants each:

audacious 
audiotape 
beauteous *
equipoise *
ideologue 

There are 498 words with 5 vowels. I think these are generally hard to guess.

Least number of different letters

There are 16 words with only 4 different letters:

arrearage *
assassins 
denseness 
peeresses *
possesses 
redressed 
redresser *
redresses 
regresses 
reordered 
represses 
resellers 
senseless 
sleepless 
successes 
tenseness 

These tend to be easy to guess.

Letters occurring multiple times

  • There are 1193 words with all letters unique.
  • There are 7876 words with one letter repeating. That's a large majority of all words.
  • There are 3 words where a letter repeats 5 times. In each case it is the letter "s":
assassins 
assessors 
possesses
  • The eight-letter word "assesses" has 5 occurrences of the letter "s"!

Common suffixes, prefixes, and substrings

After testing this game for a while, I immediately see if there are the letters I, G, N anywhere in the word, and then try to form a word which ends with "ing". I tend to do the same with the letters for the suffix "TION". However, the following shows that the heuristic for "TION" is a bit misleading: most words which contain the letters T, I, O, N, do not end with "TION":


Suffix Words with suffix Words containing the
letters of the suffix
Percentage
ing 1113 1696 66%
ings 96 720 13%
tion 135 641 21%
tions 39 296 13%
ive 101 559 18%
able 136 389 35%
ed 1173 2771 42%
ly 517 876 59%
ry 112 707 16%
cy 36 410 9%
ty 141 662 21%
sly 49 362 14%
tly 44 350 13%
ingly 72 114 63%
fully 34 37 92%
ology 26 32 81%
ologies 5 10 50%
ally 71 186 38%
ess 389 1499 26%
less 73 448 16%
ness 304 699 43%
ous 112 726 15%
ity 129 404 32%
lled 48 160 30%
y 905 1431 63%
ss 402 1969 20%


Prefix Words with prefix Words containing the
letters of the prefix
Percentage
un 292 1518 19%
re 531 4362 12%
over 97 258 38%
out 51 528 10%
pre 79 960 8%


Substring Words with substring Words containing the
letters of the substring
Percentage
qu 189 189 100%
que 62 145 43%
qua 51 94 54%
qui 67 133 50%
quo 8 36 22%
ight 91 177 51%
ght 106 218 49%
over 127 258 49%
out 85 528 16%
ex 174 242 72%
ck 308 376 82%
ph 159 433 37%
tt 221 996 22%
ll 594 894 66%
ss 691 1969 35%
gg 65 242 27%
ee 213 3089 7%
oo 277 968 29%
dd 48 449 11%

This shows, for example, that if the letters "FULLY" jump out at you, then there is a 92% chance that it appears in the word as a substring. On the other hand, if you see "LESS", then there is only a 16% that the word has that suffix.

Anagrams

  • There are 279×2 words which are an anagram of another word.
  • There are 13×3 words which are an anagram of two other words:
cruelties cutleries reticules 
estranges greatness sergeants 
brushfire furbisher refurbish 
consigned encodings seconding 
creditors directors recordist 
reprising respiring springier 
dissenter residents tiredness 
assorting organists roastings 
endearing engrained grenadine 
grandiose organdies organised 
auctioned cautioned education 
countries cretinous neurotics 
importers misreport reimports

Small words in large words

  • Which word has both UNDER and OVER? ENDEAVOUR.
  • GLADIATOR is an anagram of GOLD TIARA. Also:
    • GLADIATOR = AORTA + GILD
    • GLADIATOR = RAID + GLOAT
    • AEROSPACE = PEACE + SOAR
    • AGGRESSOR = GROSS + RAGE
    • ALCHEMIST = MATHS + LICE
    • ASTRONOMY = TRAYS + MOON
    • DIRECTORY = CITY + ORDER
    • EDUCATION = COUNT + IDEA
    • MODERNITY = MONEY + DIRT
    • SACCHARIN = CAR + CHAINS

Rotations

Rotations are when you take N letters from the start of the word and put them at the end, and that makes another word from the dictionary:

boathouse houseboat
elections selection
electives selective
housework workhouse
lightings slighting
oversleep sleepover
ownership shipowner
peculates speculate
printings sprinting
straining trainings
strapping trappings
swordplay wordplays

I especially like that elections are a one-letter rotation of selection and that EARTH is a one-letter rotation of HEART. Someone should make rings out of that last one.

Patterns

Have you ever noticed this anywhere:

J. Jason, DJ, FM/AM