Boggle poetry

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I've been playing an iPhone game called Befuddled that lets you find words in a grid, sort of Boggle-style (but a much bigger grid and with many many complications). It's got me thinking about words in letter grids, and this evening the idea popped into my head that one could write poetry of a sort in the form of a letter grid.

For example, the following Boggle board:

M E T K
R N R I
R D E S
U S E S

could be read as a vaguely romantic exhortation to a beloved seamstress or seamster:

KISSES TENDER:

SURRENDER, MENDER!

(Perhaps you can tell by now that this entry is not entirely serious.)

Of course, one problem with this sort of poetry is that all sorts of other words also appear in the grid, such as:

  • RUDER
  • SURD
  • TRESSES
  • USED

Still, I'm intrigued by the possibilities of the form.

So today's challenge is to create poetry (by some definition) in the form of a letter grid. The grid can be any size you like, but if you're looking for constraints, stick with 4x4 or 5x5. The words should be findable using standard Boggle letter-connection rules. (That is: to get to the next letter of the word, move one space in any horizontal or diagonal direction, without repeating letters within a given word.) Words can be of any length, in any language, and proper nouns are allowed.

The words of your poem don't have to appear in any sort of connected order (that is, the end of one word doesn't have to be next to the start of the next), and it's fine for multiple words to use the same letter or letters (as long as no letter is used more than once within a single word).

Your poem does not have to rhyme or scan, but bonus points if it does. Even more bonus points if it also manages to make sense.

If poetry is not your thing, feel free to try for a coherent prose sentence.

Post your grid in comments on this entry (or in your own blog, if you prefer, but in that case link to it from a comment here).

You can format your grid using an HTML table, but that's kind of a pain to write; you can also just post it as a series of lines. But put blank lines between them or the comment system will combine them onto one line.

You can choose to either explicitly mention the intended words of the poem in your comment, or hold off and let people guess. I suspect guessing will be rather difficult, though.

4 Comments

If we assume that repeated words only need to appear once (in the case the word "is") than the following grid can spell out all of the words in the classic short poem "Reflections on Icebreaking" by Ogden Nash:

"candy is dandy but liquor is quicker"

c  a  n  d  r

r  d  t  y  e

l  o  u  s  k

i  q  b  i  c

I think that I shall never see
A tidy grid with poetry.


Y W I S K
D T H N E
I A T E V
Y R L O R
E L G X P

(One letter, X, is unused. I'd originally been shooting for "A Boggle grid with poetry" as the second line, but ended up one letter short no matter how I tried shuffling the tiles.)

Cool!

...I initially misread "One letter, X, is unused" as meaning that you had included all the other letters of the alphabet. Now (because I'm distractible) I'm wondering how big a grid would be needed to squeeze in a pangram, given that minimizing overlap in letters is generally part of the point of pangrams. But I guess that would also make it less fun/interesting than the high-overlap grids we're talking about here.

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This page contains a single entry by Jed published on January 19, 2010 12:20 AM.

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