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How does the NYT Spelling Bee scoring work?

The New York Times Spelling Bee is a daily puzzle game where you make as many words as possible from a group of seven letters. There is one central letter that must appear in every word at least once, and the other six can be used as many times as desired, in any order. Here's how the scoring system works:

  • Four-letter words are worth one point each.
  • Words with five or more letters are worth their length in points. For example, a five-letter word is worth five points, a six-letter word is worth six points, etc.
  • If you use all seven letters in a word, it's considered a "pangram" and is worth seven bonus points plus the word's length. So, a seven-letter word that uses all the letters would be worth 14 points.

It's also worth noting that Spelling Bee has a set of words that they have pre-determined to be valid for the day's puzzle. Even if you find a valid English word that meets the criteria, if it's not in their list for that day's puzzle, it won't count toward your score. The dictionary the official word list is based on is not public, but they generally exclude proper nouns, hyphenated words, and words that are obscure or offensive.

There are 10 levels of achievement in Spelling Bee, starting from "Beginner" (when you start the game) and ending at "Queen Bee" (when you find all the words for that day's puzzle). A full list of the levels and their requirements is available on this page.

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