Sunday, 12 November 2017

Anagram Solver Guide

This is a guide for the Anagram Solver iOS app - a powerful word search engine helping you to find anagrams, solve crosswords and much more.

The guide will explain how to use the app, make the best use of advanced features like filters and show you plenty of examples of how to use the app for many popular word puzzles / games, such as Scrabble, Crosswords, 4 Pics 1 Word, Word Cookie and Countdown.


Type in the letters you have, press Search to find all the possible words that can be made from those letters.
Enter the letters steam, to find: mates, meats, satem, tames, teams

For Countdown fans, guess these conundrums: ONEREDPIE, QUITESEXI and DOGGIRUNN
Try them in the app to see the answers.


Once all the anagrams have been found the app will then search for smaller words that use the same letters

Enter the word hearts to find: earth (s), share (t), rate (sh), she (art)
Note that the unused letters are shown after the word in brackets.

Anagrams and sub-anagrams are useful in many word games and are essential for apps like 4 Pics 1 Word and Word Cookie where you have many letters but need to make smaller words. See the Filters section below for filtering by word size.

Blank Letters

Games such as Scrabble or Words With Friends have blank tiles, you can use + to represent a blank tile.

Enter google++++ to find bootlegger, boondoggle, egyptology

In the screenshot above, the google letters are black and the 4 blank letters, ++++, are in red.

Two Word Anagrams

Enter Manchester United to find mechanised nutter, inducement haters, untested chairmen

The space indicates to the app to look for two words that use all the letters. In the example above the app will first search for words of length 10 and 6 letters, and then search for other combinations of words that total 16 letters.

For now, only two word anagrams are supported, so if you enter 3 or more words only the first two will be used.

Crosswords / Missing Letters

Enter c..v.r to find clever, clover, carver

The . (period / full stop / dot) represents a missing letter. In this example the app will compare the pattern c..v.r to all the 6 letter words in its list of 130,000 (280,000 if Pro) words.

This type of search is also useful for bad handwriting! Not sure what letters have been scrawled, use a . and see what matches you get.


If you have many missing letters, you can use numbers to represent a group of dots

Enter z9 to find zookeepers, zombielike

z9 is equivalent to entering z.........

Suffix @ Prefix

Whereas a . represents a single letter, @ represents 1 or more letters

Enter @ace to find face, hyperspace, peace

You can also mix . and @ in your search,
Enter sup@x. to find supergalaxy
Here @ represents ergala and the . y


Find larger words that contain your anagram letters, use * to represent 1 or more extra letters (blank tiles)

Enter microsoft* to find discomforting, nonconformists, oversimplification

So here, all the letters in microsoft appear in these words and are shown in black in the screenshot above, the red letters are the extra letters represented by *


You can press the information icon on the right of a word to look up its definition on Google.  You can change from Google to Merriam-Webster, MW Thesaurus, Collins, Oxford Dictionaries or Wikipedia via the settings menu.

Instead of using the settings menu to change the default dictionary provider, you can long press a word to bring up a dialog of options:

Pressing copy will copy the word to the system clip board which you can paste back into the query field on the main screen.


Most searches will return 500 results (5000 if you upgrade to Pro), too many to easily wade through. You can press the filter button (it's on the top right) and get to the filter screen as shown above. You can set up 1 or several filters, press search and the app will perform the search again but this time with the filters applied.

As an example lets say you are playing Scrabble with the letters zsltera in your tray and you want to attach them to a tile on the board, say m. So enter zslteram as your query:

Press the filter button, top right, I would like to use up my z tile and the word must start with m

 Press search to run the search with the filters you have set

The other filters, especially for word size are essential for word games such as 4 Pics 1 Word and Word Cookie.


You can get to the settings screen by pressing the menu key, top left  on the main screen and then pressing Settings

The settings shown above are
  • Dictionary Definition - choose which dictionary provide to use when you press the information icon next to a word
  • Letter highlighting, chose the colour of the letters in Blank and Supergram searches
  • Automatically Show keyboard, enable to cause the keyboard to appear when you go to the main screen
  • Allow long press on results, disable to prevent you from accidentally causing a long press on a word making the lookup options appear 
For Pro users you can switch between word lists, Standard with 130,000 words and Pro with 280,000 words. You can also increase the results limit to a massive 5000 words!

Go Pro

You can upgrade the app by making a small in app purchase for less than the price of a coffee.  For most folk, the standard app is more than enough for most word games and puzzles and I would only advise upgrading if you are a Cryptic Crosswords fan or detest ads enough to pay. 

Note that the only ads I show is a small banner along the bottom of the results screen. The ads are provided by Google Admob.

From the Menu, press Go Pro:

Press Buy £1.99 (I'm in the UK but similar prices in other countries) and then follow the standard Apple in app purchase menus to complete the sale. Once the sale has successfully completed the app will load the Pro word list, remove ads from every screen, disable loading of any ads and unlock the Pro settings. 

If you buy a new phone or have re-installed the app, press Restore Purchases and the app will check if you have already made a purchase and enable Pro if you have.

Help Out

Thanks for using the app and if you have upgraded to Pro, thanks again.

If you can think of any other uses for the app, please enter them in the comments below. Reading comments in the app store and feedback from emails, users have found all sorts of uses for the app such as deciphering handwriting, learning English, writing poetry,  writing quizzes, creating puzzles and even helping with a hearing disability ( I think they enter part of the word they heard)

Tell your friends about the app, it's available for all Android and iOS devices. You can send me feedback via email from the main menu in the app.

I hope you will enjoy using the app for years to come, remember it's not cheating - just saving you a little time ;)

App Developer

Friday, 6 October 2017

Food Hygiene Ratings iOS Guide

This is a guide to using the Food Hygiene Ratings UK iOS app. The app looks up food hygiene ratings from Food Standards Agency, If you do not have the app, click the link below from your iPhone/iPad:

 Food Hygiene Ratings UK

Quick Search

Open the app and enter Cottage Loaf in the name field and Llandudno in the place, press search on the keyboard or press the search icon in the top right.

We ended up going 'Spoons instead

The app will send a query off to the FSA website and then display the results returned from the FSA database. All data is live and up to date, no information is stored in the app. As you can see the Cottage Loaf scores a 5 (Very Good) and you can see a bit of the address, press the result to get more details.

An interactive mini map is displayed, you can move and zoom this map. The FSA data for the geographical co-ordinates can be inaccurate, here though the app will use the business address to look up precise co-ordinates to place the pin accurately.

You can scroll through the data to see a breakdown of the scores for 3 categories: hygiene, structural and management, you can click on the info icon for information about the category. These scores are like hazard points, so lower the score the better. The range of possible scores is 0-30 in steps of 5, with 0 the best and 30 the worst. You can find a more detailed explanation of the scores on page 35 of the FHRS guidance notes.

As you can see this business was rated on June 27th 2017 and has been awarded a 5 (Very Good). 
If for any reason a business is displaying an incorrect score on its doors, you can use the app to send an email to local authority from this screen,  the app will even fill in the business details to save you typing.

You can also view the establishment details directly on the FSA website 

It's official, nuff said

Near Me

The app can use the devices location to find establishments near to you. You will be asked to give the app permission to use location services, press Near Me from the main screen:

Pig Dog's Fodder

The app uses different colours to represent the scores 0-5. On a Near Me search the app will also show the distance of the establishment from your location.

When you have many results the app will sort the results by distance and group them by business category. You can press the index on the right hand side to jump to the different categories.

Map Searches

From a list of results, press the map button on the top right to view the results on a map.

Football rating: Improvement Required

The pins are coloured similarly as the list to represent the various scores 0-5, blue pins indicate pending ratings. Press a pin to view the business name, on the pop up, you can press the info icon to view all the details of the establishment.

Please note that the app uses the data from the FSA to place the pins, this data can be quite inaccurate and you will typically find that a lot of pins are stacked on top of each other. 

The map is interactive, you can move and zoom and also perform a map search. Move the map to the area you wish to search, press the search icon in the top right and the app will search for establishments in a 1 mile radius from the centre point of the map. If you press back, the app will go back to the list which will be updated with the new map search results showing the distance of the business from the centre of the map.

Filter Results

Here I've entered Llanberis in the place field on the main screen and pressed search

Yay Dinorwig Power Station

In the search filter above start typing the name of the business you are looking for

Good hiking nosh

In this example, I've entered McDonalds in the Name field to find all the McDonalds in the UK

4 more and they will be Elite

I then press 2 in the search filter, which filters by rating

To be fair, McD's are nearly all 4/5's

Advanced Searches

Let's say you are looking for a decent pub on Anglesey

Scottish ratings also supported

Enter the business type, Pub/bar/nightclub. Area Anglesey and specify the hygiene rating should be 4 or 5.

Plenty to go at

Now that's a pub crawl

Trouble Shooting

Different Score?

I often see comments saying the app is out of date, the score on the door doesn't match. The app itself does not store any data, it fetches all data from the FSA. So if you see a business is displaying a different rating to the app, it's possible that the FSA database has not been updated or the business has not removed the old sign and put up the new. 

The app allows you to send an email to the Local Authority where you can request clarification.

Establishment Not Listed

You type in the name and place and your favourite take-away is not found, one problem maybe the place you have specified is not in the business address, so the app will not find the business. So try widening the address, eg change Westminster to London.

Ok you do a map search and its still not showing up. The most likely explanation in this case, is that the business has not yet been rated, the FSA has quite a backlog of work. It's also possible that the business has recently changed name. 

Try finding the establishment on the FSA website,
If the establishment is found on the website, but not the app, please send me the name/address of the establishment so I can take a look.

Spurious Search Results

Search for Nando's and you will find also Lando's. The FSA database search algorithm is not so strict which is handy if you make spelling mistakes but can be frustrating if you are getting too many irrelevant matches. Fortunately the app is easy and quick to use, so browsing a huge list of results in combination with the filter make it easier for you to find the establishment you are looking for.

Try the advanced search features to specify your search further, eg for The Swan at Stone, also specify the local authority area, eg Stafford, as there are lots of places called Stone.

No Results

For some users the app does not find any results at all. I've still yet to find the cause, to help me I've included some logging in the app. To enable logging, exit the app, open the settings app, open the settings for the Food Hygiene Ratings UK app and enable logging:

When the app tells you that it has found no results, instead it should now give you the option of emailing me the log file.

Scottish Rating System

The app is UK wide and supports establishments that have been rated with the Scottish Ratings System, eg Pass/Pass Plus/Improvement Required.

Red Triangle - Improvement Required


All ratings information is provided by the Food Standards Agency,
The app and this blog post are not affiliated or have been endorsed by the FSA.

Images from the FSA, icons provided by

The app is free of charge and is ad funded. Ads are provided by Google Admob, the app will only display a banner along the bottom of the screen. 


For any other problems please send me an email via the feedback button on the main screen. 

To help keep updates coming, I'd be grateful if you could take the time to rate the app on the App Store. Also spread the word, tell your friends about the app, you can do this easily by pressing the 'Tell Your Friends' button which will share a link to the app via Facebook / Twitter (if you have the apps installed) or email.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Privacy Policy

This post is about the Privacy Policy for Pig Dog Bay apps, including CleverDic Crossword Solver, Anagram Solver, Angram Solver iOS, Weight Tracker, Mortgage Calculator and Codeword Solver.

I am a developer based in the UK, I work as a sole trader under the name MPD Bailey Technologies. I produce Android apps which I distribute through Google Play under the developer name Pig Dog Bay. I also produce iOS apps which I distribute through the App Store under the name MPD Bailey Technology.

My apps may contain advertising delivered via Google Admob, I trust that Admob will not harm you or your device but please let me know if you have concerns about any ads that are shown.

Your privacy is important to me and I do not collect or store any of your personal information. My apps will however gather anonymous usage statistics via Google Play Services, Google AdMob and Firebase. These statistics are completely anonymous to me and allow me to monitor such information as the daily Google Play downloads. 

Weight Tracker will automatically back up your data to your Google Drive account. Your Google Drive account is private to you. The app also allows you to share your readings, I cannot be held responsible for how you share your data from this app or any other apps.

Note that comments posted to the Pig Dog Bay Facebook, Google Play, Twitter and Blogger pages are public and may show your name and photo.


My software is provided 'as is' without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of fitness for a purpose, or the warranty of non-infringement. Without limiting the foregoing, I make no warranty that:

  1. the software will meet your requirements
  2. the software will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or error-free
  3. the results that may be obtained from the use of the software will be effective, accurate or reliable
  4. the quality of the software will meet your expectations
  5. any errors in the software will be corrected.

The Weight Tracker App is for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical purposes. I am not a doctor or have any medical training.
Warning, CleverDic Crossword Solver, Codeword Solver, Anagram Solver and Anagram Solver iOS apps use large dictionaries and so may contain words that may be offensive to you. Any offence caused is completely unintended.

I am a software engineer, not a lawyer! I write apps for fun, learning, a little money and the hope that many others will enjoy using my apps. 

Mark Bailey

Codeword Solver v1.0

Codeword Solver is a new App for Android to help you with your Codeword puzzles. Codewords, also known as Codebreakers are puzzles like crosswords but without any clues, instead each square is given a number, 1 to 26, and you have to find the corresponding letter for each number. Some puzzles typically give you a few letters to get you going, but even so it can be hard to get started, this is where this app comes in!

Photographed from the Staffordshire Sentinel 15th December 2016, the
Okay, lets try to solve this Codeword, we begin by entering the known letters.

Get it on Google Play

Open the app and enter the known, letters T and I. Press and hold the 2 square on the keyboard, select T. Press and hold the 9 square and select I, like below

Lets try the longest word first, which has squares 9-7-11-14-20-2-9-14-21

Straightaway the app has found a unique single match from over 280,000 words! The app has found you the letters MPARL

Press the + to add the letters to the keyboard. Hold the backspace key to clear the query. You can look up word definitions by touching and holding a word:

Select from a list of web / app options to find the words meaning, below I chose the English Dictionary Offline app, which is free on Google Play:

You now have more than enough letters now to get started and crack the Codeword by yourself. The Codeword above was fairly easy since it contained a long word with several known letters.  I don't recommend it, but the app will make mince meat of the rest of the clues:

Other code words are more tricky and you will have lots of possible words to choose from. The app can help here by spotting any common letters:

Here the app has spotted that A and Z are common and so gives you the option to add these letters.
If you are getting 100 matches (the maximum) try other clues, also take a guess at one or a few of the letters. The app is there to help you with the puzzle and not solve it for you, as where is the fun in that?

Get it on Google Play

Crack those Codewords!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Weight Tracker v1.18 and Pro v2.02

At long last a new version of Weight Tracker and Weight Tracker Pro is now available for Android on the Google Play Store.

The main new feature here, and the most requested, is the ability to sync your data across devices, quickly and easily. To do this, the app now backs up your data to your Google Drive account which most Android users will have by default.

If you are an existing user, the app will ask you to Connect to Google Drive:

Before starting, make sure you have an internet connection as Google Drive is a cloud based service. Press CONNECT and wait a few moments as the app attempts to connect you to Google Drive. Once connected you will be asked to choose an account and to give permission for the app to use Google Drive:

Select the Google Drive account you would like to sync your data to. Next the app will make its first back up of your readings to Google Drive,  from then on it will make weekly back ups automatically.

Save -Success, your readings have been saved to Google Drive
Press the back arrow on the top left to return to the main menu.

If you are a new user, the app will help you get set up on Google Drive in the Welcome Wizard:

Before starting, make sure you have an internet connection as Google Drive is a cloud based service. Press CONNECT and wait a few moments as the app attempts to connect you to Google Drive. Once connected you will be asked to choose an account and to give permission for the app to use Google Drive:

Select the Google Drive account you would like to sync your data to. If you are upgrading to the Pro version of the App, or may already have existing readings, press the Restore Readings button

Previous readings successfully retrieved.

On the main menu, the help button has now been replaced with a Sync button

 Press the Sync button to go to the new Sync Readings screen

This screen allows you to save readings to and retrieve readings from your Google Drive account.
To transfer your readings to another device, say from your Phone to your tablet:

  1. On your phone press SAVE
  2. Wait a few minutes for Google Drive to upload your data
  3. On your tablet, press the REFRESH button, check the date and time reported is when you did your save. You may need to press a few times as G Drive will take a few moments to load any new files.
  4. On your tablet, press RESTORE, the app will load all readings and sync them to your existing readings. New readings will be added and updated readings will overwrite your current existing ones.
  5. That's it, press back!

Other New Features

The Pro version of the app now lets you print out your reports:

If you don't have a printer, the report can be saved as a PDF file.

A few extra BMI stats have been added, so if you're BMI is 31.4, the report will show you the weight you need to be to achieve a BMI of 31, 30 and 29. This is handy when you need to set yourself a new weight goal.

Note the print icon, top right

The app has had a lick of paint and now uses Material Design, so buttons are now borderless. The Pro version of the app has a sky blue color scheme and the standard apple blossom. You can still change the background color but not the toolbar colors.

The app no longer uses the SD-Card to back-up or transfer your readings, the reasons are:

  1. The app now uses Google Drive
  2. Android 6 (Marshmallow) requires explicit user permission to read/write to the sd-card
  3. Some devices do not have sd-cards
  4. The app now longer requires the permission to access your photos / music
  5. Transferring readings was a pain, I get a lot of emails asking for help.


Good news the banner ad now only appears on the chart. I've also placed a native ad in the middle of the report, these ads will scroll with the screen content and are less intrusive and harder to accidentally click. All ads are provided by Admob, a Google owned company. The pro version of the app is completely ad free.

Hope the diet goes well in 2017
Happy New Year