Scrabble challenge

From OpenHatch wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Write a Scrabble cheater from scratch.


  • practice breaking down a problem and solving it in Python from scratch
  • practice command line argument parsing
  • practice reading from files
  • practice working with dictionaries and for loops

Problem Statement[edit]

Write a Python script that takes a Scrabble rack as a command-line argument and prints all valid Scrabble words that can be constructed from that rack, along with their Scrabble scores, sorted by score. An example invocation and output:

$ python ZAEFIEE
17 feeze
17 feaze
16 faze
15 fiz
15 fez
12 zee
12 zea
11 za
6 fie
6 fee
6 fae
5 if
5 fe
5 fa
5 ef
2 ee
2 ea
2 ai
2 ae


scores = {"a": 1, "c": 3, "b": 3, "e": 1, "d": 2, "g": 2,
         "f": 4, "i": 1, "h": 4, "k": 5, "j": 8, "m": 3,
         "l": 1, "o": 1, "n": 1, "q": 10, "p": 3, "s": 1,
         "r": 1, "u": 1, "t": 1, "w": 4, "v": 4, "y": 4,
         "x": 8, "z": 10}

Breaking down the problem[edit]

Step 1: construct a word list[edit]

Write the code to open and read the sowpods word file. Create a list, where each element is a word in the sowpods word file. Note that each line in the file ends in a newline, which you'll need to remove from the word.

Step 1 resources:

Step 2: get the rack[edit]

Write the code to get the Scrabble rack (the letters available to make words) from the command line argument passed to your script. For example if your script were called ``, if you ran python RSTLNEI, RSTLNEI would be the rack.

Handle the case where a user forgets to supply a rack; in this case, print an error message saying they need to supply some letters, and then exit the program using the exit() function. Make sure you are consistent about capitalization

Step 2 resources:

Step 3: find valid words[edit]

Write the code to find all words from the word list that are made of letters that are a subset of the rack letters. There are many ways to do this, but here's one way that is easy to reason about and is fast enough for our purposes: go through every word in the word list, and for every letter in that word, see if that letter is contained in the rack. If it is, save the word in a valid_words list. Make sure you handle repeat letters: once a letter from the rack has been used, it can't be used again.

Step 3 resources:

Step 4: scoring[edit]

Write the code to determine the Scrabble scores for each valid word, using the scores dictionary from above.

Step 4 resources:

Checking your work[edit]

What happens when you run your script on the following inputs?

$ python 
Usage: [RACK]
$ python AAAaaaa
2 aa
$ python ZZAAEEI

Bonus challenge[edit]


You've implemented a substantial, useful script in Python from scratch that is perfect for cheating at Scrabble or Words with Friends. Keep practicing!

Fireworks.png 150px