Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Last active September 5, 2021 12:14
Show Gist options
  • Save leon-matthews/2c15a11a85f063e3613bc909c52e9cdb to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
Save leon-matthews/2c15a11a85f063e3613bc909c52e9cdb to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
Python script to find alternades from given wordlist
#!/usr/bin/env python3
Find pairs of words that 'alternade'.
Letters taken alternately from two words combine to produce a valid word.
For example:
shoe + cold = schooled.
Requires: Python 3.8+
Copyright (C) 2021 by Leon Matthews <>
Released to the public-domain under the BSD Zero Clause License.
import argparse
from pathlib import Path
import sys
import time
from typing import Dict, List, NewType, Set, Tuple
Alternades = Dict[str, Tuple[str, str]]
def find_alternades(words: Set[str]) -> Alternades:
Find all of the strict alternades from given word list.
>>> find_alternades(...)
'sweaty': ('set', 'way'),
'theorems': ('term', 'hoes'),
'ballooned': ('blond', 'aloe'),
Input word list, as a Python set.
Dictionary keyed by the solution word, ordered by that word's length.
The dictionary's values are 2-tuples with the first and second
component words.
solutions = {}
for word in words:
first, second = word[::2], word[1::2]
if (first in words) and (second in words):
solutions[word] = (first, second)
return solutions
def sort_alternades(unsorted: Alternades, reverse: bool = False) -> Alternades:
Sort output by word length, then the word itself
A dictionary of alternade results.
Reverse the default sort order.
Sorted dictionary of alternades.
def length_then_alphabetical(word: str) -> Tuple[int, str]:
length = len(word)
if reverse:
length = - length
return length, word
ranked = {}
for word in sorted(unsorted, key=length_then_alphabetical):
ranked[word] = unsorted[word]
return ranked
def load_wordlist(path: Path, encoding: str = 'utf-8') -> List[str]:
Read wordlist from given path.
File is assumed to contain one word per line, like the
venerable file: '/usr/share/dict/words'
Newlines and other whitespace is stripped and words are converted to
Path to word list file, one line per word.
List of words.
# Walrus operator used to catch blank lines with extraneous whitespace
with open(path, 'rt', encoding=encoding) as fp:
words = [
stripped.casefold() for line in fp if (stripped := line.strip())
return words
def main(options: argparse.Namespace) -> None:
Script's entry point.
Path to word list to use.
start = time.perf_counter()
# Find solutions
words = load_wordlist(options.wordlist)
alternades = find_alternades(set(words))
# Sort, then print results to stdout
for word in sort_alternades(alternades, options.reverse):
first, second = alternades[word]
print(f"{first} + {second} = {word}")
# Print summary to stderr
elapsed = time.perf_counter() - start
f"Found {len(alternades):,} alternades from list "
f"of {len(words):,} words in {elapsed:.3f} seconds.",
def parse(args: List[str]) -> argparse.Namespace:
Parse command-line arguments to produce set of options to give to `main()`.
description = "Find alternades that exist in given wordlist"
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description=description)
default = '/usr/share/dict/words'
'wordlist', metavar='FILE', type=Path, nargs='?', default=default,
help=f"Path to a wordlist, defaults to {default}")
'-r', '--reverse', action='store_true',
help="Print longest solutions first")
return parser.parse_args(args)
if __name__ == '__main__':
options = parse(sys.argv[1:])
except (IOError, RuntimeError) as e:
print(e, file=sys.stderr)
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment