: New:

The Collaborative Word List Project is a darned useful resource for word puzzle constructors and now it's free.* This is a list of phrases and hand-tuned scores. Here are a few lines from the file:

…
BLOGPOST;29
BLOGING;16
BLOGS;45
BLOGGER;45
BLOGGING;50
BLOG;65
…

Here, you can see that BLOGGING (with 2 Gs) is a good-enough phrase with a score of 50 while BLOGING (with just 1 G) is a refuge of scoundrels with a score of 16. The BLOGPOST entry points out something else about this file: it normally leaves out spaces. That makes sense for crossword constructors; depending on what kind of puzzle you're making, it might or might not make sense for you.

I've happily used this list for many years. The hand-tuned scores are often darned handy. My phraser lists know a lot of phrases, but most of its judgment of phrase "quality" comes from how often those phrases appear in Wikipedia. So phraser thinks that "of the" is an amazingly high-quality top-20 phrase; but if you saw OFTHE in a crossword, you'd probably think it was so-so. The lovely maintainers of the collaborative word list know that OFTHE is a so-so phrase and give it a so-so score of 45. When I want to steer clear of so-so phrases, I filter my phraser lists using scores from the Collaborative Word List.

Back in the day, the Collaborative Word List was only for paid-up users of Crossword Constructor, but now it's free. If you make word puzzles, give it a look. If you know how to use the git tool (which I think many of this blog's reader do), you can even contribute to the List. (If you want to contribute but don't know git, there are instructions at the Collaborative Word List github page; you want to learn those instructions. Learning enough git to contribute to the List is cool and lovely. But if you try to learn all of git's many many features right off the bat, you'll probably get discouraged.)

*Apparently, it's been free for over a year and I didn't notice?

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