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[Comments] (2) Puzzle: At the office supply store we saw a padlock whose keying mechanism was a set of five wheels like you might see on a briefcase. Instead of numbers the wheels had letters on them. Instead of a random string, you can choose a word to be the lock combination. The word can have five letters or four (one of the 'letters' on the fifth wheel was a blank). The locks in the store were set to "MATCH".

Obviously when you design the wheels you want to arrange the letters so that they can spell the largest number of words. Assuming there are 10 letters on a wheel, what are the best wheels?

That's the puzzle. The metapuzzle is to see if an equivalent puzzle has already been posed and answered.


Posted by dbt at Wed Sep 19 2007 14:59

Hmm. One thing that you don't specify is whether wheels 1-4 should be identical. This would save money in manufacturing but greatly reduce the number of available words.

(presumably if you went this way wheel 5 would be a strict subset as well.)

Posted by Leonard at Wed Sep 19 2007 15:03

All the wheels can be different.

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