A moderated discussion

Search the word “moderate” or “moderation” on this site and you’ll find no shortage of times the m-word has popped up. It’s something of a philosophy, when all is said and done. We try not to overdo things though, so we do have a…moderated approach to using the word. In our tips today, we show how “moderate” came up twice in three days recently without even trying (honest). In the process, you’ll also get a sneak peak at a new game variation we’ve been working on. If a word is in bold here, it means it’s one we formed in the game.

Spell the Beans 210 points with ELATED

First up, a regular ol’ Spell the Beans game where we followed a general rule of alternating consonants and vowels. We dispersed Es fairly democratically to give them a chance to play well with other vowels: There were lots of A-consonant-E sequences as scaffolds for whatever else came up. The late I on the right kept us from getting “spare” or “spate.” We were also hoping for something like “slated” at the lower right. Though the no-show S could have made us grim or pale, the late E elated us and made us grin to tell the tale.

Spell the Beans 210 points with MODERATED

One way or another

It was just an upshot of going for all those four- and five-letter words that moderated ended up in our lap. One long word we were hoping for was “operated,” with one P already placed elsewhere. At any rate, there are rewards when you moderate your goals within reason. We’d stand pat with the decent 210 grade of this game, not needing to redo much.

Spell the Beans 210 points

Below, a test run of a variation with a slight scoring twist. There are five colors of candy hearts, with five of each color. If you make a word with all different colored hearts, you get more points. For instance, in the upper center, the word nod would normally get 1 point. But since its colors are all different (yellow, purple and pink) the 3-letter word scores 3 times as much, or 3 points.

Love Letters 320 points

Words from the heart

Likewise, tare, at right center, is purple, green, pink, and orange, so that 4-letter word scores 4 times as many points as usual, or 8 total. And 5-letter word nodes (yellow-purple-pink-orange-green), center, gets you 5 times its normal value, or 20 points. The reason for valuing multicolored words is simply that three to five different colors in a row come up more often than, say, clusters of four greens or five purples.

Love Letters 320 points with MODERATED

These bonus words can add up, and tend to level the playing field for players who aren’t so focussed on longer words. As for gameplay, when you drag your finger in the (here) blue area to highlight words in the list, regular-scoring words are shown as cool blueberry hearts, and bonus words are spicy cinammon candy red. In actual play, we don’t bother paying attention to the colors and just let the bonuses fall where they may. As always, you’ll leave all that scorekeeping to us.

Love Letters 320 points with DERATE

This cremona plucked our curiosity – it’s a violin of superior quality made in the Baroque and Rococo eras in the Italian city of the same name (not the sort of sandwich cookie we somehow imagined). And in late-breaking news of 18th-century luthiers, they just confirmed how Stradivari got that inimitable sound – we have worms to thank. Back to this millennium, a long word we were going for here was modernise (British variant of modernize). We’d placed the Z off to the left early on, and weren’t likely to get another, but a third S was quite possible. We kept our hearts open for an N and S till the end, but the A and T filled in admirably. Grit, pluck and moderation gave us 320 points.


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