Octans is a program to solve Algot's Wordplay (Wordsearch) puzzles

Table of Contents

Website https://andinus.nand.sh/octans
Source https://git.tilde.institute/andinus/octans
GitHub (mirror) https://github.com/andinus/octans


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Octans is released to CPAN, you can get it from there or install it from source. In any case, zef is required to install the distribution.

You can run Octans without zef. Just run raku -Ilib bin/octans from within the source directory.

  • Note: Octans requires WWW module. You can however chose to not install it if you wish to run it locally. Checkout the without-www branch.


  1. Run zef install octans.

Octans should be installed, try running octans --version to confirm.

From Source

You can either download the release archive generated by cgit/GitHub or clone the project if you have git installed.

Without git

  1. Download the release:
  2. Extract the file.
  3. Run zef install . in source directory.

With git

All commits will be signed by my PGP Key.

# Clone the project.
git clone https://git.tilde.institute/andinus/octans
cd octans

# Install octans.
zef install .



Initially it went over the list of words & checked if they exist in the grid. This was very slow.

Currently it walks the grid & checks if the current string exist in the dictionary. This is faster for these reasons:

  • The dictionary is sorted, we perform binary range search on the dictionary to return the list of all words that start with specific string.
  • Starting positions are limited.

If the dictionary wasn't sorted then this probably would've been slower than previous implementation.

The neighbors subroutine (lib/Octans/Neighbors.rakumod) was taken from my AoC (Advent of Code) 2020's day-11 solution.



Octans's default dictionary file is /usr/share/dict/words, use --dict flag to change the dictionary. The words in dictionary must be seperated by a newline (\n) & sorted alphabetically.


Generates a video solution for the puzzle.


Minimum word length to look for. Default is 7.


The path to be passed must be a readable file or an url in either format:


This will increase verbosity.


v0.2.3 - 2022-01-12

  • Add visualize option.

    --visualize now generates a video solution for the puzzle using Cairo and ffmpeg.

v0.2.0 - 2021-03-04

  • Removed sample option

    --sample will not solve the sample puzzle.

  • Removed shorthand for verbose option

    -v won't work in v0.2.0.

  • Change representation of visited squares

    When --verbose was passed, it would print the solved puzzle with visited squares replaced with fancy characters. Now it marks them by adding:

    • * to visited + gray squares (start positions)
    • / to visited squares
  • Removed time taken

    Time taken won't be printed anymore.

    It was misleading because the time printed was not the time taken to find that specific word, it was the time taken to find all the words upto that word. It would reset for each starting position.

v0.1.4 - 2021-02-19

v0.1.3 - 2021-01-24

  • Added an option to specify minimum word length.

v0.1.2 - 2021-01-20

  • Input puzzle can now be of any size & not restricted to 4x4 grid.

v0.1.1 - 2021-01-20

  • Read puzzle from a file.

v0.1.0 - 2021-01-19

  • Improved performance by using a better algorithm to find words in the grid.

Andinus / / Modified: 2022-01-12 Wed 13:05 Emacs 27.2 (Org mode 9.4.4)