Sympathy Tutorial

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4.3 Using Word Search for Pattern Matching

At the end of the previous step, the new grid will have been created from the template and the Sympathy window should appear as below:

Step 4.3 Initial Image

The next task is to choose a suitable Playfair keyword for the puzzle. We will do this with the help of the Word Search window: this was introduced in Module 1 Step 9 where it was used to fill a single answer. The Word Search window is also a valuable general-purpose tool for finding words matching a pattern. Here we will use it to find long words with no letters repeated: these make ideal Playfair keywords.

To open the Word Search window, click Word Search button on the Standard toolbar. When we did this in Module 1 Step 9, a light was selected and a search started automatically to find words that would fit in. If a cell is selected, as is now the case, the box to the right of the Pattern: label is left empty so you can fill in your own pattern.

You can use any of the pattern types supported by TEA in the Word Search window, for example:

We can identify possible Playfair keywords using the last type of search, with every letter of the alphabet in the anagram part of the pattern. This will find words of any length with no letter of the alphabet occurring more than once. Type such a pattern, as shown below, into the box to the right of the Pattern: label:

Step 4.3 Intermediate Image

Because many very short words will match this pattern, and we are only interested in long ones, it's useful to make one further change before starting the search - outputting only words with 11 or more letters, for example, will reduce the number of matched words significantly.

To stop words under 11 letters being shown, change the number in the box to the right of the Shortest: label to 11 (or use the up arrow to its right to do the same thing). When this has been done, click the Word Search button and you should see the matched words appear as shown below:

Step 4.3 Final Image

The letters shown to the right of each matched entry are the unused letters in the anagram part of the pattern. The choice of Playfair keyword is fairly arbitrary, but for this tutorial example, we will use the entry selected above: sympathizer is thematically relevant and unusual in including both a Y and a Z (which solvers would normally expect to find in the bottom right hand corner of a Playfair code square).

The Word Search window is now finished with, so click on the Close button to dismiss it. You can then proceed to the next step where the lights to be Playfair encoded are selected.

Relevant Help Sections

Standard Toolbar
Word Search

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Last updated: $Date: 2010/04/10 16:58:54 $
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