There’s no structure to this guide this time, these are just a list of hints that will help you get a leg up on your opponent.
1. Always play with the sound on, even if it is just barely audible. There is a clue in the sound effects when you are solving puzzles. You will get a drum roll when you are one letter away from solving the puzzle. That does not that the drum roll happens when there is one blank tile left. So, if there are two tiles that happen to be the same letter, you will still get the drum roll. This may be the only way that you guys will ever figure out when I’m playing HEHS or POPS.
2. Building words that start with a vowel seems to be unpopular. It could just be a human foible, but I’d say that I only find about 1% of puzzles will start with a vowel. Maybe this is close to the real world usage of the English language, but it looks suspicious to me. I don’t know if this will help you build puzzles that people won’t expect, or if it will throw off your word guessing. But, there must be a way to exploit that oddity.
3. When solving puzzles, if you have narrowed down the letter possibilities enough, you may want to guess the more valuable letters over the cheapo ones. People tend to favor starting words with letters of high point values. For example, I’ve seen JOIST played 10x as often as FOIST, MOIST or HOIST. And if you see an empty tile next to the letter U, there is a pretty good chance that it is a Q. And if that empty tile is first letter of the word, the chances are 50-50 that it is a Q.
4. Sexual innuendos make great puzzles. I’d say about half of the time I play a dirty word, my opponent fails to solve it. I expect this ratio to decrease over time as I corrupt my opponents, but it may work to your advantage for a while. I promised to keep this blog PG-rated, but you know what kinds of words I mean. Now, I’ve already tried the 7 words you can’t say on TV and they aren’t acceptable. But, pretty much everything else is fair game.
Just for the record, opponents normally solve about 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the puzzles I make. And, I think I have about the same success rate in solving puzzles. I’ve never had a word solving streak greater than 7 puzzles long against the same opponent. The best opponent I’ve faced has solved fifteen in a row against me, and I’m just barely hanging on in that game.