Periodic Contributor

Disappointment and a challenge.. Outspell


A while back, when Beach Sudoku went away here, I was disappointed. I liked the unconventional challenge of playing games and this was part of my daily routine.

When OutSpell showed up, I was once again happy. I am a lifelong Scrabble player and spent many a game with my mom and oldest sister playing very competitive games. Other family would join in now and then but were never quite as intense as the three of us.

When I started playing OutSpell, I trepiditiously started with the easy setting expecting it to be reasonably hard. I quickly went right to the hard setting where I have been ever since. Of course, following the leader board, I could see that there were players who were way beyond my level of skill. I always look at these folks with admiration. I love a worthy opponent and seek to use them to push me to work harder, to figure out how I can legitimately pursue and perhaps best them. When I started experimenting with the practice mode I soon began to realize just how it would be possible to score such high scores. Little by little I began to formulate a strategy that I thought was similar to what was being done to achieve this. There was a lot of trial and error along the way. I would come up with 13 letter words and strategies for how to build bridges to segments so that they could eventually be connected up only to find that OutSpell wouldn’t recognize a particular word as legitimate. So, there was a lot of experimentation to find out what it did recognize. Could I build a cross and frame? There was a need to keep a letter inventory so that I didn’t try to use too many words with too many letter “E” for example. Find the right long words that still had enough left over letters, particularly vowels, to be able to build other long or high scoring words. I studied placement of high value letters to maximize the return on that letter in the big scheme of things. I wrote out my own charts and ran practice scenarios on paper. You see, I take great joy in trying to figure things out, how to create a process, how to improve. I set my sights on William’s high score and little by little crept closer and closer, but it was a lot of work. There was joy in the pursuit.

Then I finally checked out the discussion here to discover a lot of sour grapes and vitriole and speculation that somehow Bots were involved in these high scores. Hi scores, you say? When I have checked out other sites where OutSpell is played, I have seen high all time scores in the hundreds of thousands and an extreme outlier that is above 33million. I was quite content with my process and my scores and what I have been able to accomplish here.. but at the same time have been still trying to postulate how those extreme scores might be humanly possible. No solutions.. yet. But, I have to say I was really saddened by how bitter some people are when they can’t figure out how someone may have scored a high score within the confines of the rules of the game and what is allowed in different modes of play.

So, I am retiring my high scoring puzzle and will, after today, no longer play it save for the occasional visit to it for old time’s sake.

I will, instead, put out a challenge here in stages.

I will reveal the word inventory it took to build the puzzle, but not all at once.

If you choose, you can then try to come up with the solution of how to put the puzzle together to maximize the score, but you will have to figure out for yourself the sequence of the build and what words might need an internal bridge to build as some segments may not be able to be built from start to finish(or middle outward) in sequence.

If anyone takes up the challenge and then comes close, I will reveal the rest of my word list but will again leave it up to the player to figure out just how the words fit together on the board to maximize scoring opportunities.

My finished word list on this puzzle consists of 21 words. There are 40 sub words to reach those for a total vocabulary of 61 words to build the puzzle. Order of build will impact the final scoring. Look for words within words.

Perhaps someone will be able to discover where I have been missing point opportunities and best my score of 7807. Or maybe someone will discover a way to put together even higher scoring words that I have missed.

In the meantime, I will simply stick to only playing the regular hard mode only occasionally showing up on the leader board when the computer lobs me a bunch of softballs to hit out of the park. I find it amusing that the computer has never beat me even though I watch it pass up obvious high scoring opportunities. Those practice exercises have been useful in developing scoring strategies when I play normally.

Here is my list of frame words. Oh, and you need to figure out exactly what to do with the blanks when they show up in the process of exchanging letters to build your words.






Have fun. Or complain.. your choice..


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