Given that each letter in the English alphabet has a position: $$a = 1, b = 2, ..., z = 26$$ Can you place 16 different letters such that:

  • Each row, column and diagonal forms a 4-letter valid English word. You could use dictionary.com.
  • The sum of all letter positions is maximized. That is, using able counts as $a+b+l+e = 1+2+12+5 = 20$.

"And what if such a grid doesn't exist?" — @Bass

For every letter that is used twice or more, all words containing the letter won't count in the total. That is, a beer won't count any point alongside with all other letters in words in the grid that have an e.

  • $\begingroup$ How certain are you that it's possible to create a(n unavoidably double) word square from 16 distinct letters at all, not to even mention the diagonals? $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Feb 19 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Bass, actually, I am not certain at all. I have improved the puzzle thanks to your relevant remark :) $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Feb 19 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ Can the diagonals be read in either direction? $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Feb 20 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @hexomino, not precised in the puzzle so yes! $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Feb 20 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


The best I've found so far has a one letter repeat

 T Y M P
 H A I L
 U N C O
 S K E T

With the caveat that

"tymp" does not appear at dictionary.com but does appear on Merriam-Webster. I hope this is acceptable.

I'm not sure how to score this (maybe OP can advise).

  • $\begingroup$ I believe your score is 27, the "double letter negates all points from words using said letter" rule really reduces said score $\endgroup$
    – Auribouros
    Mar 28 at 8:24

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