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Spelling Bee


This week, the riddler puzzle on the excellent site FiveThirtyEight, had a puzzle related to the New York Times word game Spelling Bee.
The Spelling Bee is a game in which you try to score as many points as possible by finding words from seven given letters in a honeycomb petal arrangement. Each word must contain the letter in the middle (the gold letter), and optionally any of the others. Any letter on the flower can be used multiple times, but no other letters can be used.
Words must be at least four letters in length to score. Words of length four letters score just one point, whilst all other words score their length (so that five letter words score five points, six letters words six points …) Finally, any word that uses all the letters in the flower (a ‘pangram’), scores a bonus seven points (in addition to the length score).
The riddler puzzle was to find the honeycomb flower that results in the highest possible game score. I entered the competition, I but will not present my answer here as the competition is still ongoing. However, in the process of working on the puzzle, I wrote a little solver program and it’s on this page above.
To use, simply click to select the letters to place on the honeycomb and click solve. Note: Each letter needs to be distinct (this should be obvious as you are allowed to use any letter as many times as you like).

Other solvers

If you like help solving puzzles, you might like some of these other solvers I’ve published over the years: