SOFTWARE : Boss sobs at word game

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you're one of those people who's always sending satirical letters to Private Eye, a computer program called Anagram Genius will make life a lot easier. Until now, it might have taken several hours to come up with an uncomplimentary anagram of the name of, say, Virginia Bottomley. Now, with the click of a mouse, this Windows-based program from Genius 2000 Software can produce in seconds a wide range of insults, including "I'm an evil Tory bigot."

Although Anagram Genius claims to be the most powerful anagram-generating package on the market, its comprehensive on-line help is not really needed: the program is extremely intuitive. Across the top of the screen are four buttons: Input, Word, Search, and Weed. Click on Input and you are prompted to key in the name of the object of your derision. Having done so, hit Search, and the internal 80,000-word lexicon is scanned for matches. These are then assembled as a list of anagrams, each graded according to spleen rating.

For every decent anagram produced, there are usually at least 40 that make no sense whatsoever (the best I can make out of my own name is "male white itch"). This is where Weed comes in. Once the list is assembled, you can go through and delete the garbage, preserving the better examples in a separate file.

To help to increase the hit rate, Anagram Genius allows users to offer information specific to their subject. For example, you can activate flags to indicate gender, occupation, and bias (normal, satirical or flattering). Combine the Politics flag with Satire mode, and Margaret Hilda Thatcher yields "A light-hearted, rich, mad tart", while David Mellor becomes "Dildo marvel".

Available by mail order from Genius 2000 for £19.99, Anagram Genius has the potential to become an invaluable a time-waster as other Windows "standards" such as Solitaire and Battleships.

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