Thursday, August 14, 2008

Decathlon Day #5: Boggles the Mind!

Decathlete standings under today's Announcements.

Another exciting night of Olympic fun.  Now down to the business of our own Olympics...

Day #5
Boggles the Mind

While the English language is based on arranging 26 letters into words variations, the Chinese language is based on characters, each with its own distinctive set of strokes and meanings.  Did you know a well-educated Chinese person recognizes approximately 6,000-7,000 characters and, that to read a Mainland newspaper, you must recognize upwards of 3,000 characters?  A large unabridged dictionary in China contains over 40,000 characters.  These things I did not know.  But, through the power of the internet and Wikipedia... all things are possible.  

Apparently the word requiring the most strokes is "verbose" and is comprised of sixty-four strokes (there's something very appropriate about that).  The most complex word is "snuffle." Though "snuffle" doesn't require as many strokes (36), the strokes a repeated series as is the case with the word "verbose."  Other characters requiring a large number of strokes include words such as: "the appearance of a dragon in flight", 48 strokes (would love to see that used in a sentence); "to implore", 32 strokes; "depressed", 29 strokes; and "quarrel", 25 strokes.

As a matter of course, I was curious how we Americans stacked up and found myself searching the website,  When taking into account everything from: (1) words in current use, (2) 47,156 obsolete words, (3) 9,500 derivative words included as sub entries in the dictionary, it is determined that there can be more than a quarter of a million distinct English words.

More than 250,000 words!  If you are a junior in high school and studying for the SAT ... not so good (abash used to be the first word on the list of words to learn for the SAT).  But, on THIS day...on this particular day... access to more than 250,000 English words (granted some old and obsolete) is your dream come true.  Today we get creative with letters and the more words from which you have to chose, the better!  Read on...

Today we will play Boggle.  Below are a set of letters.  Your job is to search the letters for as many words as you can find.  The list of words from each decathlete will be compared to his/her competitors, crossing out all repeat words.  To score a word, you must be the only player who found it!  Below are very specific directions.
  • No dictionaries allowed.
  • We will be on an honor system, trusting that no one exceeds a 15 minute limit!
  • Search the assortment for words of 4 or more letters.  Form words from letters that adjoin horizontally, vertically, and/or diagonally to the left, right or up and down.
  • You may not use the same letter cube more than once within a single word.
  • Any complete word (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc...), plural of, form of, or tense is acceptable as long as it could be found in a standard English dictionary and with the limitations described below.
  • Proper nouns, abbreviations, contractions, hyphenated words and foreign words that are not found in an English dictionary are not acceptable.
Players score the words left on their list as follows:
4 letters = 1 point
5 letters = 2 points
6 letters = 3 points
7 letters = 5 points
8 or more = 11 points
Total points accumulated from Boggle will be added to your current decathlon score. 

The Unsportsmen-Like Trivia Question of the Day:
Today is which Olympic athletes birthday?  For extra difficulty, what is a nickname given this athlete by his/her partner?


My mailbox void of any Make Your Mark Mail vs. My aspiration mailbox
  • Make Your Mark:  Have I mentioned I'm looking for 100 readers to submit 100 stories, so that we can inspire 100 unsuspecting teachers?  Write a short paragraph about the best teacher you've ever had.  Mail it to me at Claudia K. Beeny, 4012 Harvestwood Court, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  Fill by mailbox by August 22!
  • Decathlete Standings:  Cheryl was the winner of Wednesday's Ying and Yang event! Congratulations, Cheryl.  The total list of scores is posted in the announcements.  As of 10:00 last night, we have 12 participants still competing for the prestigious title of Highlowaha Decathlon Champion!  Things are heating up!  Remember... though we are on Day #5 of our decathlon, to date only 2 of your 10 events have been scored.  ANYTHING is still possible!  Over all standings...
Stacie 12.8
Cheryl 13.1
Cassie 13.3
Jayme 13.8
Tera 15.0
Julie 15.8
AZLori 17.0
Kat  17.0
Ashley 18.7
B.Root 20.1
Heather 21.5
Peggy 23.1
  • Place Your Helping Hand Vote:  Click on the words Helping Hand in the top right hand corner of my blog and tell us what you think about our Christmas project.
  • Peanut and Shell:  Check in tomorrow and see behind the scenes of highlowaha's Peanut and Shell game
  • Alden and Amy: Check out what our Olympic correspondents have to say about their Olympic experience in China.
Signing off until tomorrow...

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