Friday, July 26, 2013

Over 10,600, OCR with Martin Herbach, Puzzazz Solving App, and Funny Typos

Great news—we've now litzed more than 10,600 puzzles!  Here's a recap of the week:  On Friday afternoon, Nancy Kavanaugh started us off by sending in 14 puzzles; that evening, Howard Barkin sent in another 14, putting us over 10,500!  The grand finale for the day was Mark Diehl sending in 14 more puzzles.  Then on Saturday, Denny Baker sent in 7 puzzles, which were followed by 7 more from Joe Cabrera.  Sunday morning, Joe sent in another 5, and that night, Mark sent in 35 more puzzles!  Early Monday morning, Jeffrey Krasnick sent in 7 puzzles, which were followed by 10 proofread puzzles from Todd Gross.  Monday evening, Howard sent in 7 more puzzles, and Tuesday night, Mark sent in another 21 puzzles, putting us over 10,600!  Then Thursday evening, Mark sent in another 5 puzzles—and a short while later, 5 more!  Awesome job, everyone!

As I've mentioned, I'm currently up at Stanford taking an artificial intelligence course.  Before it started, I had the pleasure of visiting with litzer Martin Herbach in Saratoga, which is about half an hour south of Stanford.  He and his wife, Elaine, are terrific cooks and made a delicious salmon meal, after which Martin demonstrated how he litzes puzzles using OCR technology.  Although I'd read his description of the process before, actually seeing it in action was fascinating!  The script that tidies up the file was particularly cool; I also hadn't realized that he litzes the grids manually.  Here are a couple of photos:

Martin Herbach demonstrating OCR litzing 

Clues litzed using OCR

Last week litzer/proofreader Todd Gross and I published a puzzle in The New York Times that many solvers had difficulty with, in part because of glitches in their solving apps.  [Spoiler alert for the 7/18/13 puzzle if you haven't already solved it.]  After the puzzle appeared, I received an e-mail from Roy Leban, who informed me that the Puzzazz app had supported this unusual puzzle properly:  The 23 was in the right place, the apostrophe worked correctly, and the diamond was highlighted in gray.  In addition, clicking on 23-Across highlighted the entire diamond and allowed solvers to write or type the whole title in order.  This software is a remarkable achievement and might just be the solving app of choice, not only for today's puzzles but for some of the trickier pre-Shortzian ones as well!  Here's a photo of what this puzzle looked like on an iPad:

Photo courtesy of Puzzazz

Thanks again for letting me know about this, Roy!

In other news, the 1981 proofreading has continued to progress—with just a few more months to go, our indefatigable proofreaders are working hard to finish up the year.  The funny typos list mushroomed when proofreaders began looking over puzzles from the first litzing contest!  In one of these contest puzzles, Todd Gross found one of the funniest typos of all time.  Here are some typical clue typos, followed by some "variety typos," followed by Todd's pièce de résistance:

  • Entry:  TRACER
    • Wrong:  Kind of ballet
    • Right:  Kind of bullet
  • Entry:  ASSET
    • Wrong:  Brians or beauty
    • Right:  Brains or beauty (though I'm sure litzer Brian Tyler would prefer the first one!)
  • Entry:  NAIVE
    • Wrong:  Ingenious
    • Right:  Ingenuous
  • Entry:  HOMER
    • Wrong:  Slugger's request
    • Right:  Slugger's quest
  • Entry:  EGO
    • Wrong:  Kind of trap
    • Right:  Kind of trip
  • Double typo:  Entry:  ELS
    • Wrong:  Chi. loop loppers
    • Right:  Chi. Loop loopers
  • OCR mistake caught by Joe Cabrera:  Entry:  OLAN
    • Wrong:  Pearl suck heroine
    • Right:  Pearl Buck heroine
  • Copyright Field
    • Wrong:  © 1971, The New York Times.  Editor: Will Went.
    • Right:  © 1971, The New York Times.  Editor: Will Weng.
  • Copyright Field
    • Wrong:  © 1969, The New York Times.  Editor: Margaret Farrah.
    • Right:  © 1969, The New York Times.  Editor: Margaret Farrar.
  • Ultimate typo:  Entry: DAMAGED
    • Wrong:  Married
    • Right:  Marred

Great typos—LOL!

1 comment:

  1. Honest to god, David, I loved that last ultimate typo. Now I need a new keyboard.