The game consists of 144 tiles with letters. Fifty-four are vowels, E having the greatest frequency (18). J, K, Q, X, and Z are minorities; they appear only twice. The mission of the game is to use all letters the player receives in a crossword or Scrabble-like formation.
We’ve devised our own version with our own rules for measuring excellence. We divide the tiles in half and then we use our 72 tiles to make a puzzle. The result is judged by the density of the structure—the smallest possible square or rectangle—and by the average length of the words: the higher the average, the better the score. Here is the winner from yesterday’s game, laid by Brigitte.
This layout turns out to fit into an 11 x 11 square, thus 72 tiles occupying an area of 121. Seventy-two, of course, is the virtually unreachable perfection—no blanks at all. Next we calculate the average word-length, done by counting the total words (22), the tiles they use (107), and dividing tiles by words. Here the result is 4.864 (best to use three decimals). Believe me, that’s a pretty high score. This puzzle has one 10, two 9s, one 8, one 7, and three 6-letter words. That’s as far as we’ve come in developing a scoring system.
We permit any formation spelled correctly, including abbreviations that might appear in crossword puzzles. You might take exception to YA in the lower right, but a crossword creator would clue that as: “Fully grown person but not yet middle-aged (abr.)” And yes, I noticed. Troglodyte is misspelled. But that could be fixed. Challenge to the reader: How would you do it? By the way, it can be done while still staying within the 11x11 square, the word-count would remain the same, and the unsightly doubling of AXIS would also be fixed.
Abraham Nathanson created Bananagrams and introduced it in 2006—thus virtually yesterday. Nathanson passed away at age 80 in 2008. He was a graphics designer. Thanks, Abraham. Nice contribution to the peace of the world.