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NY Times Spelling Bee

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I recently wrote that <a href="{app}/view_article.php?id=3964">Kath and I have a one-year streak going</a> in the NYT Crossword Puzzle. While that is still ongoing, we've also recently discovered a little gem called <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/puzzles/spelling-bee" source="New York Times">Spelling Bee</a>. The concept is elegant and simple: <ul> You get seven letters arranged in a honeycomb. You have to combine these letters to come up with as many words with four letters or more as you can. The middle letter is required. You can repeat letters as much as you like. Answers can overlap one another. (E.g. "glad" and "gladly" are two separate answers). The longer the word, the more points you get. You can an extra bonus for pangrams (words that use all of the letters at least once)<fn> The puzzle rates your performance with "good", "nice", "great", "awesome", and, finally, "genius"<fn> (You can click your progress indicator to see how many points are required for each level.) There is <i>always</i> a pangram (a word that uses all of the letters) </ul> You can check your word list against the master word list only on the next day, which is kind of nice and zen. <h>Samples</h> Here are a couple of games that we've completed, just to show off. <div style="display: flex; flex-wrap: wrap"> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="balcony.png" caption="Balcony"> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="forthwith.png" caption="Forthwith"> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="glandular.png" caption="Glandular"> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="illegibility.png" caption="Illegibility"> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="lavatory.png" caption="Lavatory"> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="unnaturally.png" caption="Unnaturally"> </div> </div> <h>Now, the bad news</h> Would I be reporting on this fun little game if it was all sunshine and roses? No, no, I probably wouldn't. You see, there are some words I've learned over the years, for which I've borne more than my share of ridicule for knowing, that the puzzle refused to acknowledge as being "in its word list". I was shocked and disappointed<fn> to see that certain words that I've kept in my back pocket, as it were, for just such a rainy day as this, were not recognized. Proof? Of course I have proof. The following are definitions from the <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/">Free Dictionary</a>. While not exactly <i>common</i>, these are all non-archaic words that are not proper nouns. Those that are <i>chiefly British</i> (e.g. <i>demobbed</i>) might be understandable as "too rare" were the puzzle not to regularly include incredibly obscure references to fish and fruit species. There isn't really much consistency on what is considered a proper noun or what is considered "rare". <div style="display: flex; flex-wrap: wrap"> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="adit.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/adit">adit</a>: An almost horizontal entrance to a mine. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="anil.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/anil">anil</a>: An indigo plant or the blue dye obtained from it. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="arity.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/arity">arity</a>: The number of arguments or operands taken by a function or operator </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="badonkadonk.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/betel">badonkadonk</a>: buttocks; booty; an extremely curvaceous female behind </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bedamn.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bedamn">bedamn</a>: To curse thoroughly </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="betel.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/betel">betel</a>: A vine or nut </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="betitle.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/betitle">betitle</a>: To bestow a name upon something </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="biddy.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/biddy">biddy</a>: A hen; A fowl; A woman, especially an older one who is extremely talkative. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bimbo.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bimbo">bimbo</a>: A person, esp a foolish one </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bint.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bint">bint</a>: A derogatory term for girl, woman </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bokeh.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bokeh">bokeh</a>: The effect of blurriness in the areas of an image that fall outside a photograph's depth of field </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="boolean.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/boolean">boolean</a>: Of or relating to a logical combinatorial system treating variables, such as propositions and computer logic elements, through the operators AND, OR, NOT, and XOR </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bole.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bole">bole</a>: Tree trunk </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="bytecode.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bytecode">bytecode</a>: A form of instruction set designed for efficient execution by a software interpreter </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="calcite.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/calcite">calcite</a>: A common crystalline form of natural calcium carbonate, CaCO3, that is the basic constituent of limestone, marble, and chalk. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="calif.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/calif">calif</a>: A leader of an Islamic polity, regarded as a successor of Muhammad and by tradition always male. (Also: <i>califf</i> or <i>caliph</i>) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="celtic.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/celtic">celtic</a>: Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Celts or the Celtic languages </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="chink.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/chink">chink</a>: A narrow opening, such as a crack or fissure. (presumably not recognized because the snowflakes think it could only be a slur for Chinese person.) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="cloacal.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/cloacal">cloacal</a>: Related to the common cavity that serves as the opening for the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts in many vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, monotremes, and some fishes </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="cope.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/cope">cope</a>: To contend with difficulties and act to overcome them </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="craic.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/craic">craic</a>: Irish vernacular for "fun", e.g. "when I'm at the pub with the lads, we always have a good craic." </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="cunt.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/cunt">cunt</a>: Used as a disparaging term for a person one dislikes or finds extremely disagreeable. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="demobbed.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/demobbed">demobbed</a>: Demobilization of armed forces </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="faff.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/faff">faff</a>: A thing that is awkward or time-consuming to do; to dither or fuss (also, <i>faffing about</i> </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="fain.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/fain">fain</a>: ready; willing; happy </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="fairing.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/fairing">fairing</a>: An auxiliary structure or the external surface of a vehicle, such as an aircraft, that serves to reduce drag. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="gaffing.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/gaff">gaff</a>: A metal hook fastened to a pole; to cheat; fleece; harsh treatment or criticism (also, <i>gaffing</i>) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="gilet.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/gilet">gilet</a>: A vest or bodice </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="gnomon.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/gnomon">gnomon</a>: The piece jutting from the center of a sundial </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="gonif.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/gonif">gonif</a>: A thief, scoundrel, or rascal. (also <i>ganef</i>) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="hemophage.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/hemophage">hemophage</a>: A cell that destroys red blood cells by phagocytosis. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="huck.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/huck">huck</a>: To throw or toss. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="ichor.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/ichor">ichor</a>: The blood of the Gods </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="inline.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/inline">inline</a>: Incorporated into a body of text rather than placed as a separate section </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="italian.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/italian">italian</a>: Of or relating to Italy or its people, language, or culture. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="latin.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/latin">latin</a>: The Indo-European language of the ancient Latins and Romans and the most important cultural language of western Europe until the end of the 17th century. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="latina.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/latina">latina</a>: A woman or girl who is a member of one of the Spanish-speaking peoples of the Americas. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="lede.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/lede">lede</a>: The introductory portion of a news story, especially the first sentence. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="liana.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/liana">liana</a>: Any of various climbing, woody, usually tropical vines. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="luff.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/luff">luff</a>: To flap while losing wind. Used of a sail. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="olla.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/olla">olla</a>: A rounded earthenware pot or jar, used especially for cooking or for carrying water </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="panamanian.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/panamanian">panamanian</a>: A native or inhabitant of Panama (which was accepted as a word, although it's a proper noun) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="telic.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/telic">telic</a>: Directed or tending toward a goal or purpose; purposeful. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="vair.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/vair">vair</a>: A fur, probably squirrel, much used in medieval times to line and trim robes. </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="villi.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/villi">villi</a>: A minute projection arising from a mucous membrane, especially one of the numerous vascular projections of the small intestine. (singular, <i>villus</i>) </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="wadi.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wadi">wadi</a>: A valley, gully, or streambed in northern Africa and southwest Asia that remains dry except during the rainy season; an oasis </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="wain.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wain">wain</a>: The Big Dipper; A large open farm wagon </div> </div> <div style="flex: 1; flex-orientation: row; width: 240px"> <img attachment="welch.png"> <div> <a href="https://www.thefreedictionary.com/welch">welch</a>: To fail to fulfill an obligation (alternate spelling of <i>welsh</i>) </div> </div> </div> <hr> <ft>I made up a thing called a "natural pangram", which uses each of the letters <i>exactly</i> once (e.g. laundry), in order to prove to Kath that my pangram was better than hers.</ft> <ft>At which point we usually stop, although we've never gotten every last one of the possible words.<fn> Being called "genius" once a day by our soon-to-be robot masters is rewarding enough.</ft> <ft>The German word <i>bodigt</i>, as in "defeated to the ground", seems to do the feeling the bare minimum of justice.</ft> <ft>In the meantime, we've "cheated" with two open windows to be able to find out that there is, indeed, a final status for having found all of the words: "Queen Bee". <img src="{att_link}queen_bee.png" href="{att_link}queen_bee.png" align="none" scale="25%"> We haven't managed it for real---sometimes because we miss a word or two that should have known, but sometimes because there's a word we didn't know was a word, e.g. "footwall"---but we've gotten within one word one time. We had "knick". We had "knack". We forgot "knickknack".</ft>