Thursday, June 2, 2016

wordplay utilities

I wrote a couple of wordplay programs. One generates an acrostic for a particular word and a rough theme, and the other generates rhyming pairs of words on a given theme. They make use of distributional semantic vector spaces, of course.

Here are examples of the rhymes it comes up with. These are chosen by hand from a list of about 30 candidates:
cowboy: colorado desperado
llama: coat goat
Star_Wars: groovy movie, halloween onscreen, iconic hypersonic, cute reboot, droid overjoyed, etc...
friar: yeast priest, barbarian seminarian
spaceship: moon balloon
pillow: head bed
trampoline: elastic gymnastic
rocking chair: knitter sitter
weed: vegetation eradication
novel: fiction depiction
juice: dilute fruit
cookie: naughty biscotti
Oreo: black snack
orca: dalmation cetacean
Mad Max: futuristic sadistic
oven: boiler broiler, roaster toaster
clock: chimes times
stopwatch: clocks jocks, elapse laps
dragon: wizard lizard
Lost_Ark: horror explorer
brain: logical neurological
Lincoln: desegregation oration
Beatles: guitars superstars
honey: bees cheese
flower: bloom perfume, frilly lily
Clinton: she nominee
sun: skylight twilight
Bollywood: Hindi indie, Delhi telly
An interesting question to explore is whether different people prefer the same choices, and what exactly it is that separates the preferred choices to the rejected ones. Probably the most important thing is that both words contribute to a true description-- there were plenty of other "bee" rhymes it came up with for honey, but only the one for a food product produced by an animal seemed like a good fit. That's the minimum to be acceptable, but wittiness goes farther-- it requires some non-obvious insight.

I used the CMU pronunciation dictionary for the rhyming patterns. It has a few oddities (sci rhymes with flee?) but overall I was very pleased with it.


  1. My friend said:
    I put in "Bible" and got:
    "Shalom tome"
    "salvation publication"
    "gobbledygook book"
    and a host of others.

    Then I put in "Mormon" and got, among others, these choice results:
    "misconstrue Jew"
    "Christ spiced"
    "messianic Hispanic"

  2. One of the things that makes it feel personal is it has these gaps in its knowledge about the world that show up as a kind of eccentric opinion about issues.
    A fun thing to try is to combine two rhymes into one longer rhyme by interleaving the words. Like "fantasize eerie romanticized theories."