Hi all,

my solution: http://rn86.net/~stevedp/tshirt_reader.tar.gz

For my solution I used a combination of the Metaphone algorithm, pronunciation matching (via CMU pronunciation dictionary [http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/cmudict]),
and the Levenshtein distance algorithm.  The input must be words or
numbers which sound out the answer word.  It will give back at max 10
words that are possible matches.  In most of my test words the correct
match is in the 1st or 2nd place, but a few are in 5th or more.

You must first run prepare_dicts.rb which does some preparation work.

You
need the Text gem installed (gem install text) for the
Metaphone/Levenshtein algorithm.  I used ruby inline to re-implement
the Levenshtein algorithm in C (versus the Text gem's pure ruby impl.)
which made it run like 20x faster at least.  If you don't have ruby
inline installed it will fall back on the Text gem.

Here's the final list of phrases I was testing with (taken from test/test_tshirt.rb)

    %w[e scent shells] => 'essentials',
    %w[q all if i] => 'qualify',
    %w[fan task tick] => 'fantastic',
    %w[b you tea full] => 'beautiful',
    %w[fun duh mint all] => 'fundamental',
    %w[s cape] => 'escape',
    %w[pan z] => 'pansy',
    %w[n gauge] => 'engage',
    %w[cap tin] => 'captain',
    %w[g rate full] => 'grateful',
    %w[re late shun ship] => 'relationship',
    %w[con grad yeul 8] => 'congratulate',
    %w[2 burr q low sis] => 'tuberculosis',
    %w[my crows cope] => 'microscope',
    %w[add minus ray shun] => 'administration',
    %w[accent you ate it] => 'accentuated',
    %w[add van sing] => 'advancing',
    %w[car knee for us] => 'carnivorous',
    %w[soup or seed] => 'supercede',
    %w[poor 2 bell o] => 'portobello',
    %w[d pen dance] => 'dependence',
    %w[s o tear rick] => 'esoteric',
    %w[4 2 it us] => 'fortuitous',
    %w[4 2 n 8] => 'fortunate',
    %w[4 in R] => 'foreigner',
    %w[naan disk clothes your] => 'nondisclosure',
    %w[Granmda Atika Lee] => 'grammatically',
    %w[a brie vie a shun] => 'abbreviation',
    %w[pheemeeneeneetee] => 'femininity',
    %w[me c c p] => 'mississippi',
    %w[art fork] => 'aardvark',
    %w[liberty giblet] => 'flibbertigibbet',
    %w[zoo key knee] => 'zucchini',
    %w[you'll tight] => 'yuletide',
    %w[Luke I like] => 'lookalike',
    %w[mah deux mah zeal] => 'mademoiselle',
    %w[may gel omen yak] => 'megalomaniac',
    %w[half tell mall eau gist] => 'ophthalmologist',
    %w[whore tea cull your wrist] => 'horticulturist',
    %w[pant oh my m] => 'pantomime',
    %w[tear a ball] => 'terrible',
    %w[a bowl i shun] => 'abolition',
    %w[pre chair] => 'preacher',
    %w[10 s] => 'tennis',
    %w[e z] => 'easy',
    %w[1 door full] => 'wonderful',
    %w[a door] => 'adore',
    %w[hole e] => 'holy',
    %w[grand your] => 'grandeur',
    %w[4 2 5] => 'fortify',
    %w[age, it ate her] => 'agitator',
    %w[tear it or eel] => 'territorial',
    %w[s 1] => 'swan'

- steve