A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The most difficult Bananagrams challenge I've encountered

Recently, I played a few rounds of Bananagrams. At the beginning of the last game, I flipped over my tiles and only had three vowels. As I continued to peel mostly consonants, I realized that the optimum strategy was probably to dump consonants until I obtained a more reasonable consonant-to-vowel ratio, but I wanted the challenge of trying to finish the game without dumping tiles. But by the end of the game, the situation had not improved: I had 23 consonants and 6 vowels. Furthermore, I also had a Q (with no U), an X, and a Z. I was nowhere close to finishing my grid by the time someone else won.

Here was the set of tiles that I had at the end:



I decided to save the tiles and try to work out a solution later. I spent some time working on this problem on two consecutive nights. The second night I found a solution that used all the letters but one N, but that seemed to be the best that was possible.

Finally, several days later, I found a true solution. It's possible to vary some of the peripheral words and get alternate solutions, but there is a core structure that I have not been able to alter without rendering the grid uncompletable.

This puzzle can be solved without using any two-letter words or any vowelless words. (I think that violating these constraints would make the puzzle too easy.)

I leave this as a challenge. I will post a solution at some point in the future.