Peter Campbell Smith

Abecedarian words
and pangrams

Weekly challenge 161 — 18 April 2022

Week 161 - 18 Apr 2022

Task 2

Task — Pangrams

A pangram is a sentence or phrase that uses every letter in the English alphabet at least once.

Using the provided dictionary generate at least one pangram.

Your pangram does not have to be a syntactically valid English sentence (doing so would require far more work, and a dictionary of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions). Also note that repeated letters, and even repeated words, are permitted.


Perhaps the most well known pangram is:
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog


The approach I used to creating pangrams was to choose a random word from the dictionary as my pangram's first word. I then chose more random words from the dictionary, and added each of them to my pangram if they contained a letter I didn't already have. And once I had all 26 letters I stopped.

This works well, and my submission delivers a sample of 10 results.

I then wondered how close I could get to the shortest (fewest words or letters). I ran through my algorithm 10 000 times and it's clear that it can get down to 8 words and 60ish letters. The best I did after just a few tries is:

tributary shipwrecked mollifying gavels gazes frequents 
jerky exhaling
8 words, 63 letters

The 'quick brown fox' pangram has 9 words but only 35 letters, so I thought a better algorithm might be one that prefers shorter words. Limiting the word length to 5 gave:

rowdy clix bang newt quick huffs zest ohm video 
opera jell
11 words, 48 letters

I think that's not bad for a fairly simplistic algorithm (though I'm a little dubious about 'clix'.)

Try it 

Try running the script with any input:

example: 5



# Peter Campbell Smith - 2022-04-18
# PWC 161 task 2

use v5.28;
use strict;
use warnings;
use utf8;

my ($dictionary, $done, $k, $last_word, $num_letter, $num_letters, $num_words, $ord_a, $pangram, $word,
    $num_chars, @best_words, @best_chars, $tries, @words);

# fetch dictionary
$dictionary = `curl -s -L`;

while ($dictionary =~ m|(.*?)\n|g) {
    $word = lc($1);
    push @words, lc($word);
$last_word = scalar @words;

$done = 2 ** 26 - 1;    # bitmap if all 26 letters have been found
$ord_a = ord('a');

# make 10 'random' pangrams
say qq[--- 10 random pangrams ---];

for $k (1 .. 10) {  
    ($pangram, $num_words, $num_letters) = pangram();
    say qq[\nPangram $k:\n$pangram\n$num_words words, $num_letters letters];

# find the fewest words and letters from lots of tries
$tries = 10000;
say qq[\n--- Fewest words and letters from $tries tries ---];

@best_words = ('', 1000, 1000);
@best_chars = ('', 1000, 1000);

for $k (1 .. $tries) {
    ($pangram, $num_words, $num_letters) = pangram();
    if ($num_words < $best_words[1]) {
        @best_words = ($pangram, $num_words, $num_letters);
    if ($num_letters < $best_chars[2]) {
        @best_chars = ($pangram, $num_words, $num_letters);

say qq[\nLeast words:\n$best_words[0]\n$best_words[1] words, $best_words[2] letters];
say qq[\nLeast letters:\n$best_chars[0]\n$best_chars[1] words, $best_chars[2] letters];
sub pangram {

    my ($bit, $letter, $num_chars, $num_words, $pangram, $pattern, 
        $target, $word, @letters);
    # generates a 'random' pangram
    # initialise
    $target = 0;            # bitmap so far 
    $pangram = '';
    # loop over random words
    while ($word = $words[int(rand($last_word))]) {
        # split word into letters
        @letters = split(//, $word);
#       next if $#letters > 4;   # see blog about this line
        # create bitmap of this word
        $pattern = 0;
        for $letter (@letters) {
            $bit = ord($letter) - $ord_a;
            $pattern |= 2 ** $bit;
        # if this word has letter(s) we don't have, add it to the pangram
        if ($pattern & ~ $target) {
            $pangram .= $word . ' ';
            $target |= $pattern;
            $num_words ++;
            $num_chars += $#letters + 1;
        # have we got them all yet?
        last if $target == $done;
    return($pangram, $num_words, $num_chars);


--- 10 random pangrams ---

Pangram 1:
lithium uninformative corkscrewed proudly swigging juveniles biology expose lizards tranquilizing 
10 words, 88 letters

Pangram 2:
authoring ramifications philanthropic bani plunges nosebleed betray wired executed yank junipers eloquently overworks snooze 
14 words, 111 letters

Pangram 3:
plod irks warms cessations game harebrained reimbursed evolve grossly cupful justify liquefying inexplicably hazes 
14 words, 101 letters

Pangram 4:
televises pores actresses seconds wages baboons beaching bestiality because frequented randomly storekeepers zippering extraordinarily judiciously 
15 words, 132 letters

Pangram 5:
plural summarizes prominence scabs trios merchandised interviewed flaky sharking rejoice inquest lexicons 
12 words, 94 letters

Pangram 6:
trailers permanence counterclockwise asphyxiation brocaded compelling jangles waterfront cavities plaque lizards 
11 words, 102 letters

Pangram 7:
axes fillet greases fairness faraway impair presidents pinked extinction robust hobnobbing violate eloquence friezes jabbered 
15 words, 111 letters

Pangram 8:
humored blur recycles ripeness laxative fleeter validating slakes touchdown equanimity interjected brazier 
12 words, 95 letters

Pangram 9:
psych indoctrinates outdistances dummy survey profited griefs weest slanders marquees xxi matchbook jackknifing agonize 
14 words, 106 letters

Pangram 10:
protections convenient lubricate hims hay characterized gushing drinker extrapolating fluent winning judiciously squeezing 
13 words, 110 letters

--- Fewest words and letters from 10000 tries ---

Least words:
objectively chloroformed scripting equivalents waterfront paddock exile pasteurizing 
8 words, 77 letters

Least letters:
precise botany levee extinguishes sizable swamp bedrock after judo squats 
10 words, 64 letters

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