Much of the information in this Spell the Beans FAQ can also be found in the user guide of the app itself. If you have other questions or requests, please contact us.

Are there any hard and fast rules as to how many of a given letter might show up?

Although letters that come up are based on frequency of occurrence in English, there is a healthy balance of randomness: some games will have a higher chance of getting a better score than others. This is expressly built-in for variety and long-term enjoyment (there was a specific developmental parameter, implemented as a constant in the release). One thing that won’t happen in Spell the Beans is an overabundance of any given letter in a single game – the maximum in one game is five. Other limits exist to prevent highly unusual letter combinations.

When playing Blu Yonder (against the app), you of course have the same set of letters to work with as Blu Yonder, ensuring competitiveness in each game. Over the long term, with reasonably good play, you can maintain a competitive scoring average. In the Spell the Coffee, Love Letters, and 8-Spot variations, Blu Yonder plays a tamer game. It’s often easier to beat.

Are there any words that won’t be counted as acceptable?

As the maximum number of any given letter is five, words like “senselessness” won’t be found in the search box. Obviously, words over 25 letters can’t be made. Also, if you’ve chosen not to allow profanity to be counted (the default), those words won’t be found in the search box or scored or included in your formed word list. Archaic words and variants are generally included. If you should find a word inclusion or exclusion you think is objectionable, or find a word that’s not counted but should be, please let us know. We’ve made every effort to make the acceptable wordlist appropriate, but occasionally do find things that have slipped through.

What happened to the list of words I’ve formed? It’s gone.

Grab anywhere in the bean, bubble or heart area and swipe right. Swiping left hides the words if you wish.

In the list, some longer words I’ve made get clipped at the end of the word. How can I see the full words?

As mentioned in Scoring and Gameplay, this is to avoid words in the list obscuring letters on the beans or bubbles. When you highlight words in the list by dragging your finger anywhere in the bean or bubble area, you’ll see the full word highlighted even if it goes beyond the edge of the list area. When not highlighted, longer words are “tucked” under the edge of the list area.

What happened to the green lines showing connected beans/Why do I just see silhouettes of beans?

Double-tapping in the large rectangular area where the beans are advances you through the various display modes. The default mode shows the beans with green lines. Next, the lines are there with just bean silhouettes (useful to show letters more clearly). The next mode shows bean silhouettes without green lines. Finally, you can show just the beans without green lines.

You can cycle continuously through these viewing modes any time. In Spell the Coffee (bubbles) and Love Letters, connections are clear-cut, so the modes don’t apply.

After viewing Blu Yonder’s words, I can’t switch back to view my own words or score. What can I do?

This is an occasional known issue. Flicking the app out of the background using the iOS app switcher (the iOS feature you use to quickly switch from one app to another), and re-opening, will show your results.

The spilled coffee extends beyond the top and bottom button areas in landscape mode. How come?

Reopening Spell the Coffee or Love Letters in face-up landscape mode can bring this on if the reopened game was created in landscape. We’re working on eliminating the problem, but the quickest way to fix the display is, with orientation lock off, to rotate your device to portrait mode, and then back again to landscape.

Any other display issues to be aware of?

In rare cases, part of a letter may be obscured by an adjacent bean or heart, making an E appear like an F, for example. As above, toggle through the viewing modes to expose the translucent silhouettes of the beans and see the letters clearly. If you experience display issues in Spell the Coffee or Love Letters after updating or rotating, further rotation, tapping New Game, or flicking the app out of the background with the app switcher often fixes the problem. Delete-reinstall is also possible.

In Love Letters, there may occasionally be a hairline space between connecting hearts, but when hearts are not considered connected for word-making, the separation will be clear. Hearts will be either touching (possibly with a hairline separation) or distinctly separated. Hearts with large overlaps are designed to let letters show through.

The letters in hearts are naturally subject to varying ink appearance or printing off-centeredness. If the eccentricity becomes excessive, quitting the app, using the app switcher to flick the app out of the background, and reopening, should restore the original look. In Cyrano, depending on the color theme, letters can be easier or harder to read against the icons. Toggle through to find one that works for you.

In 8-Spot, normally letters you’ve placed (white) stand out from pre-placed, spotted letters (gray or pale red). As usual, you can drag in the icon (card suit) area to highlight your words in the word list. The colors of each word’s icons’ letters also change to stand out as you highlight the word in the list. Under certain conditions, all letters in the icons can appear white after releasing your finger. Simply tap in the general icon area to restore the grayed appearance of the spotted letters.

There is also a specific 8-Spot and Cyrano issue on notched iPhones and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (generations 3-6), iPad mini (6th generation), and iPad Pro 11-inch (generations 1-4) after creating a new game in landscape mode and rotating your device to portrait. The suit icons gain some separation from one another, though they’re still “touching.” This is an issue we’re working on resolving. When in doubt, rotating back to landscape should make the connections clear again. Games you create in portrait mode or on other devices are not affected.

How do I use the game manager to change to the bubbles and spills, or the hearts or card suits?

First, bring up the game manager by long-pressing New Game. Make sure “Info/Select” near the top is blue, not gray. Then, firmly drag left on the mode name, releasing your finger after the check mark appears. Then tap the check mark so the line’s color changes to olive. Finally, tap “Done.” Simply tapping mode names in the game manager has no effect. Swiping is the key. Swiping right and tapping the info icon shows a description of the mode.

Why the weirdness when I rotate my device?

The design scheme of the game’s appearance change on rotation is certainly unconventional. While it may take some getting used to, it does have a purpose. On rotation, the pattern of beans or bubbles actually maintains the same relative orientation and scale. This is vis-a-vis the main bean/bubble area, and in fact the device itself (only the letters are rotated). On any given device, rotating this main bean/bubble area, along with the beans or bubbles in it, obviates having to shrink the whole bean/bubble area in landscape mode to the point of being unusable, particularly on iPhone.

This did require a design tradeoff in the form of thin top and bottom bars in landscape mode, with small text and wide spacing between controls. Consistency in the bean/bubble/heart area was given priority based on moment-to-moment use.

In addition, to provide a consistent solving experience across a variety of devices, all puzzles (bean/bubble/heart patterns) are designed as if they were to be displayed on an iPad. This means that on a tall iPhone, there may often be unused space at the oblong ends of the bean/bubble/heart area, but within iPad’s less oblong aspect ratio, the same puzzle can nearly reach the oblong edges of the bean/bubble/heart area. This way, if you have the app installed on multiple devices, the letter-placing experience will be seamless. This would also facilitate any possible transition to online play in the future.

The app is unresponsive/looks strange. What can I do?

Rotating your device can right things quickly, as can tapping New Game if that doesn’t work. Quitting and flicking the app out of the background rotation with the iOS app switcher, and then reopening, will often restore normal behavior as well. Deleting and reinstalling the app should be considered a last resort. All stats and settings data will be restored to default values in this case, but it does clear problems up. There’s no additional purchase cost involved in deleting and redownloading.

If you can’t find the icon of the app in your App Store account after deleting, you can do this. In the App Store app, tap the Account icon/image (appearing at upper right, often with a red counter badge, in the Today/Games/Apps/Search tabs). Tap → “Purchased” → and the “All” or “Not on this iPhone/iPad” tab, and scroll down to find the icon. Searching the App Store for Spell the Beans should also let you redownload.

What if I don’t want to play Blu Yonder?

No problem. If you’re not actually making use of Blu Yonder, turning it off in Settings will improve performance and efficiency.

How can I view blog posts on the website by category?

We’ve tried to trim out repetitious info from individual posts for a clean look. Some relevant categories are General interest (not necessarily related the the app), About the game (strategy, tips, gameplay, etc.), App developments (new game modes, features, mockups of potential variations, etc.), and Offbean news (listings of selected words, real and imagined, formed in actual and test games). Tags, listed at the end of each post, are another useful way of grouping posts. Check out a roundup of tags below.

8-Spot Android Apple beans Blu Yonder brain training bubbles coffee communication compatibility competition creativity Cyrano design faux-cabulary gameplay Ginger Trail iOS 13 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation) language Love Letters math mockups PandeMondrian Pecan You Spell performance puzzles randomness Say it With Tile science Sea Spells shout outs Spell 64 spelling Spellonious SpellPeppers Spell the Coffee Spell the Roses spilling strategy tedhogs tips troubleshooting updates variations