Skip to content
🐝 Terminal-based python clone of New York Times' puzzle game "Spelling Bee"
Branch: master
Clone or download
Philip Shemella
Latest commit ade9220 May 13, 2019

Open Spelling Bee (OSB)


Open source port of New York Times' puzzle game Spelling Bee for the command line.

Requires Python 3.x and nothing but standard Python libraries.

to play

To download the game:

git clone
cd open-spelling-bee

To play a random game:


To play a non-random game:

python3 RDGHNOU

where R is the center letter that must be used at least once in each word. If the puzzle RDGHNOU does not exist, it will be created and saved to data/RDGHNOU.json (the file names are the first letter and the alphabetically sorted remaining letters).

⚠️ The word list used is from Scrabble: TWL06, and at roungly 180k words, it's larger than what the NY Times uses. To reach "genius" level, you'll need to solve 50% of the words.

To solve a game (aka cheat-mode):

python3 RDGHNOU

If the game does not exist, it will be created and saved to the data/ folder.

For a list of the previous NY Times letter selections, see William Shunn's page.

to generate new puzzles

Set custom parameters in the file, for example how many puzzles you want to create. Then generate by running:


Or to save the word stats:

python3 > stats.csv

Runtime depends on your parameters. For the default parameter settings, the code takes approximately 8 hours to generate 100 7-letter puzzles that meet the criteria (total points, total words, pangram count).

To generate a certain letter combination, use:

python3 AGFEDCB

which will then be saved to data/ABCDEFG.json.

Game Play

To play, build words with a minimum of 4 letters, using the letters provided.

Each word must include the center letter at least once.

Letters may be used as many times as you'd like.

Scoring: 1 point for a 4 letter word, and 1 more point for each additional letter.

Each puzzle has 1 "pangram" that uses each of the 7 letters at least once. The pangram is worth 7 extra points.

example play

(based on game found by playing python3 RDGHNOU)

Type !help or !h for help
Playing puzzle index: 1
Your letters are: 
           /     \
          /       \
    ,----(    N    )----.
   /      \       /      \
  /        \_____/        \
  \   H    /     \    U   /
   \      /       \      /
    )----(    R'   )----(
   /      \       /      \
  /        \_____/        \
  \   G    /     \    D   /
   \      /       \      /
    `----(    O    )----'
          \       /

Max score: 88
Total words: 37
Your guess: GROUND
βœ“ GROUND              word score = 3        words found = 1/37    total score = 3/88    

Use the following commands for more details:

!i : instructions
!g : show letters
!f : shuffle letters
!s : player stats
!h : help
!q : quit

interesting puzzles

  • Q as center letter: QAHILSU

  • Z as center letter: ZADEHJT, ZADENRS

You can’t perform that action at this time.