Author Topic: NYT Spelling Bee  (Read 750 times)

nebo113

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NYT Spelling Bee
« on: August 28, 2020, 05:56:09 AM »
NYT dropped SET, so in addition to the crossword, I'm been trying Spelling Bee.  However, I'm frustrated because it rejects perfectly good words, solid English language words that are in dictionaries.  Any body else doing Spelling Bee?

mahagonny

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 06:11:29 AM »
I will try it as soon as I find out whether 'black' must be capitalized.
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fleabite

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2020, 07:59:45 AM »
I do the Spelling Bee in the print edition. The instructions say that you can count any words you come up with that are in the dictionary but not in the list of answers. I'm guessing from your comment that the electronic edition has a fill-in-the-blanks interface that is rejecting some of your submissions. Maybe their standard dictionary is different from the one you use? For example, some dictionaries demand hyphens for certain words and others consider them non-hyphenated.

ciao_yall

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2020, 09:02:22 AM »
Yeah, I do the free version online every day which cuts you off after a few words. They used to let you do the whole thing for free, but I think they got tired of me and others sending them words they missed. RAFFIA, PAPAIN...

I love the print one on Sundays. Like fleabite I check words in the dictionary and if they are there, I go for it.

I get to genius level. Eventually.

Have you tried LetterBoxed?

ab_grp

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2020, 09:36:12 AM »
I do Spelling Bee every day on the app, along with the crosswords.  Today was the first (and probably last) day that I got Queen Bee all by myself and in only an hour or so! Usually my husband and I work on it independently throughout the day, then compare lists, then... a little nerdy, but we each wrote computer programs to help find the remaining words.  I wrote mine in R, he wrote his in some language on his Linux system (Perl?).  They go about the process differently, so we usually find all of them eventually.  I also found a site that will give you the answers (you have to click a button to see them, so they aren't just readily visible on this site: https://nytbee.com/).  It also gives metrics for words seen most often, number of words of a particular length, etc.  We only look at that after all else has been exhausted.  My R program currently just checks against the Hunspell dictionary, which tends to leave some more technical words out, and his spits out way too many possible words.  So I am trying to build an actual Spelling Bee dictionary to check against by copying the words out from that site and making a database.  Sometimes there are words that we think should be in there that aren't, and some of the words that are in there are pretty wacky.  As far as I know, the Spelling Bee dictionary is not available.  From the NYT website, they describe it as curated.  But it certainly isn't the same as the crossword, for example.  There are a bunch we kick ourselves over and then try to remember going forward (acacia, acai, lulu, whatever that c word was yesterday, words that can have two spelling variations included).

Of course the fun is in trying to solve it yourself! But we are also using this as a programming exercise.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2020, 09:59:10 AM »
NYT dropped SET, so in addition to the crossword, I'm been trying Spelling Bee.  However, I'm frustrated because it rejects perfectly good words, solid English language words that are in dictionaries.  Any body else doing Spelling Bee?

Yes! I do it every day. I generally manage to get genius and the pangram; Queen Bee is tougher. I get that a couple times a week, these days (but my first one was just a month or two ago).

But yeah, it rejects all kinds of legitimate words (including, but not limited to, any non-American spellings). I also find it incredibly frustrating. The puzzles also seem to repeat a fair bit, albeit occasionally with a different central letter. =/
« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 10:01:20 AM by Parasaurolophus »
I know it's a genus.

Boomvang

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2020, 12:23:57 PM »
I, too, do the Spelling Bee every day on my phone (the paid version, which costs a little extra but is worth it). I keep going until I reach the Genius level, although occasionally I fall a bit short. I have assembled lists of words that are not accepted and I have emailed the NYT puzzlemasters about this a few times. In some cases, they have added words from the list. I encourage you to email them about words that they do not accept--the more of us who do so, the better the chances that they will instate them! I have also emailed them about reusing the same puzzle and just changing the letter in the center. The reply indicated that they are concerned about reaching the ceiling for variants of the puzzle.

I send my emails to: nytcrossword@nyt.com. Last time, they informed me that words suggestions should be sent to: buzzwords@nyt.com

ab_grp

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2020, 12:43:59 PM »
I, too, do the Spelling Bee every day on my phone (the paid version, which costs a little extra but is worth it). I keep going until I reach the Genius level, although occasionally I fall a bit short. I have assembled lists of words that are not accepted and I have emailed the NYT puzzlemasters about this a few times. In some cases, they have added words from the list. I encourage you to email them about words that they do not accept--the more of us who do so, the better the chances that they will instate them! I have also emailed them about reusing the same puzzle and just changing the letter in the center. The reply indicated that they are concerned about reaching the ceiling for variants of the puzzle.

I send my emails to: nytcrossword@nyt.com. Last time, they informed me that words suggestions should be sent to: buzzwords@nyt.com

Thanks for bringing this up! We noticed the note about emailing acceptable words but always wondered what happens when you do.  It sounds as if they at least responded.  Did they let you know if there is a particular process for adjudication? One thing I'm torn about is whether I want them to add words in as time goes on.  On the one hand, they should be in there if they fit the criteria.  On the other hand, I have a mental list of "not in there but should be" and don't tend to check them again, so if they do add words in I would like to know! Can you say a little more about your experiences emailing the powers that be?

evil_physics_witchcraft

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2020, 01:01:11 PM »
I do the free version as well, but I haven't played in awhile since they started cutting you off after a few words.

Boomvang

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2020, 01:14:34 PM »
ab_grp:
They have responded to my emails every time. In general, their reasoning for finding words on my list unsuitable for inclusion has been that the words are not common enough. My reply was something to the effect of: as a Ph.D., I realize that I'm not the best judge, but in my view these words are common, and the Spelling Bee puzzles' own master list often includes words that are unfamiliar to me. 

ab_grp

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2020, 01:54:55 PM »
Thanks for the additional detail, Boomvang.  It's great that they are so responsive, although some of their rulings seem pretty arbitrary.  This goes for compound words as well.  I shake my head at some of what's in there and some of what's not.  According to their site (https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/360029050872-Word-Games-and-Logic-Puzzles),

5. Why isn't every word in Spelling Bee?

Every Spelling Bee puzzle is hand-curated to focus on relatively common words (with a couple tough ones here and there to keep it challenging). Occasionally we'll miss some common words and add them in, but our puzzle editors ultimately draw from our internal lexicon and make the call for what's best with that day's puzzle.

The key word here is 'common'. We just removed words from Spelling Bee that we believe are not common enough, despite them being defined words, in order to maintain a level-field for all of our solvers.

We also try to avoid terms that are very specific to any professional field, such as terms that might be familiar to, for example, a physician, ornithologist or geologist, but not to people outside of that field of expertise.


Like I said, it seems a bit arbitrary.  It seems that some "common" words are not so common, even to those who are word game fanatics and etc.  And there are some in the puzzle that definitely seem pretty specific.  Maybe they are just outside my wheelhouse.  For example, "lamella(e)"? My husband identified those two (and promptly forgot to the next time they appeared), but only due to a weird discussion he happened to have with our dentist at one point.  Yet, "aroar", which is a NYT crossword fave, is not apparently a word.  Not the best example, but I can't think of others right now that we come across pretty often.  They also seem to take an arbitrary approach to which foreign words (currency, foods) are allowed.  The site I linked above also lists valid dictionary words that do not appear in each day's puzzle, if that is of interest.

I do wonder if they ever add words in.  I'm going to start keeping track of what we think should be in there, email the powers, see what happens, and report back.  I will also try to pay better attention to whether words that I don't think counted before do now.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2020, 02:24:38 PM »
'Lich' still isn't one, but anybody who's played any RPGs (tabletop or video) knows it, and that's... a lot of people these days. 'Afro' wasn't one recently, but a friend wrote to them about it. I think it counts now. A few times I've found pangrams that didn't count, and that was pretty annoying.

There are just so, so many, though. I can't keep track of them all. As for words that don't seem common... from yesterday's puzzle: boba, callaloo, clonal (I mean, sure, it's the adjective, but when have you ever come across it?), colcannon, and llano.

I know it's a genus.

ab_grp

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2020, 02:36:41 PM »
There are just so, so many, though. I can't keep track of them all. As for words that don't seem common... from yesterday's puzzle: boba, callaloo, clonal (I mean, sure, it's the adjective, but when have you ever come across it?), colcannon, and llano.

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss.  Yes.  I was thinking callaloo specifically, but all of the above, and llano always gets us.  OH! Also, they include things like "doggo", "dunno", and "gonna"? And no "yoyo" (okay, maybe a brand name at one point, but still), "nono", "bobby",  but they'll take "bootee" and both "bandana" and "bandanna".  I do like to learn new words, like "dugong", and "tantara", which is apparently short for "taratantara".

ciao_yall

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2020, 03:19:28 PM »
I always wonder how they create the puzzle and decide where the level cut-offs are. Like it's that scientific...
 

ab_grp

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Re: NYT Spelling Bee
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2020, 03:26:12 PM »
I haven't calculated all the levels, but Genius is approximately 70% of the total number of points.  I would guess the other levels are similar? Looks like Amazing is about 50% today.  Great is about 40%.  I use the reverse to figure out from Genius how many total points to expect.  Is that what you were asking, ciao_yall?