Python's sets can run a bit slower than lists (~4x slower). The problem below just figures out how many words in /usr/share/dict/words can be made from the letters of "paleontology" (especially if any of length 8 exist ;).

# from import sets, sys if sys.argv[1] not in ["sets", "lists"]: sys.exit("sets or lists?") def is_in(needle, haystack): test = False for n in needle: test = False for i,h in enumerate(haystack): if n == h: del(haystack[i]) test = True break if test == False: break return test def uniqueify(s): c = {} ret = [] for w in list(s): c[w] = c.get(w,0) + 1 ret.append(w + "%s" % c[w] ) return ret dict = "/usr/share/dict/words" f = open(dict, "r") words = [] for line in f: word = line.rstrip() if sys.argv[1] == "sets": p = sets.Set(uniqueify("paleontology")) if sets.Set(uniqueify(word)) <= p: print word if sys.argv[1] == "lists": if is_in(list(word), list("paleontology")): print word

Just out of curiosity, do you regularly do much Python coding? If so, for what kind of problems do you use it as opposed to Perl? -- David W
Let me rephrase David's question...Why in gods name would you choose Python over Perl??!?!?!?! :) - Nathan
Heh, no. This isn't the religion thread ;) -- David W
The there's more than one way to do it idea makes larger projects difficult to maintain. I have no real need, I'm just dinking around to learn it and see what it can do (yes, I realize the Turing-complete-idiocy of that statement ;).