The Babble Guide

About Babble…(From the Babble Site):

“Babble: The ultimate word game is online.”
The game is highly addictive and entertaining. You are presented with a 5 X 5 grid containing letter cubes, and must find a list of words using these letters. The game is quick to learn, but it takes time to master. The puzzles change daily, and the game is always fresh. Players can chat with each other and share hints and clues for hard-to find words. The words are not always garden-variety, so the game offers a chance to enrich your vocabulary while having fun in a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere. The Babble site is best viewed and used with the Firefox browser. The game is free to play, but if a player pays a nominal fee of $14.95USD, for a lifetime membership, the game is upgraded to Pro, and the player then has immediate access to a handy Stats Panel that shows complete recording of letter values,and a chart showing how many of each starting letter in the grid remain to be found. As the words using each starting letter are found and listed by entering them into the form below the grid, the counts in the chart are automatically updated. When the last word for a particular starting letter is found, that area of the chart will turn dark gray to indicate that starting letter is no longer needed. Paid members also have access to a profile page that can include a personal icon and a flag for the player’s home country.

Rules of the Game…(Also From the Babble Site):

To list as many words of the highest point value as you can find using the random assortment of letters in the cube grid.

Search the puzzle board for words of four letters or more. When you find a word, add it to your list by typing it into the form below the puzzle. Words are formed from adjoining letters. Letters must join in the proper sequence to spell a word. They may join horizontally, vertically or diagonally to the left, right, up or down. No letter cube, however, may be used more than once within a single word. That is, you may not “stand” on a letter to use it more than once in a word; in order to spell the word “bosses”, for example, there should be three s’es in the grid in the correct sequence. Keep in mind that, no matter which words you find first, words in the list for each grid will be in alphabetical order. This should help you determine which words you are missing as you progress through the grid.

The only words that are allowed are those that can be found in the Enable dictionary. You may look for any type of word – noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. Plural nouns are acceptable, as are all verb tenses. Words within words are also allowed. (e.g. revolt and volt)

Proper nouns, abbreviations, contractions, hyphenated words and foreign words that are not in the Enable Dictionary.

Every night at midnight CT (Central Time), the day’s puzzle closes. Babble players (aka “Babblers”) call this “the flip.”  The high score list for the day will then appear showing everyone’s total score. Scores are maintained automatically; there is no need to submit anything.

As in Scrabble, each Babble tile has a point value. To determine the score for a word, the point-value for the length of the word is multiplied by the total letter values for the word:

 4-letter word = 1 x Points
5-letter word = 2 x Points
6-letter word = 3 x Points
7-letter word = 4 x Points
8-letter word = 5 x Points
9-letter word = 6 x Points
10-letter word = 7 x Points
11-letter word = 8 x Points…

The word BABBLE is BA6/36 because the word is 6 letters long and is worth a total of 36 points. Points: a six-letter word has a base value of 3 points, times (3+1+3+3+1+1), the sum of the letter values, for a total of 36 points. The winner is the player who has the highest point total when the puzzle closes.


The same word may be used only once,
even if it is found in two different areas of the puzzle.

The “QU” cube counts as two letters.

Points are awarded for both the singular and plural forms of words.

Hurshy’s Guide to Understanding Stats Boxes

For those who have stat boxes: The words in the babble grid are counted towards the FIRST box they could possibly come from, left to right, top to bottom. Sometimes one must think very carefully, when giving clues, about which box a word comes from if there are a lot of the same letter in a grid. (Or about what could come from a later box that CAN’T come from an earlier box when you are FINDING the words.)

Some words that “are” real words will not be included in the Enable Dictionary, and other (sometimes “adult” or very strange) words you’ve never heard of will be there. It’s all a part of the fun of Babble, so don’t get stressed by it. Relax and just go with the flow and have fun.

Some grids have more (sometimes many more) words than others. If you can’t finish a grid in one sitting, don’t worry. You can close the game and come back to it later. All of your work will be saved for you.

On the left hand side of the word list, there are small question marks. If you are curious about what a word means, click the question mark; it will open to, where the definition of the word will often (but not always) be displayed.

Babbler’s Anonymous: Handy Tools and Resources

On the lower portion of the screen when the Babble grid is displayed, there is a list of hyperlinks under the title, Friends of Babble. The link for Babbler’s Anonymous (also called BabAnon or simply BA) located in the Babble Resources tab will take you to the BA message board. Under the first, General link, there is a link for the Stats page for each day’s puzzle. There is also a link for How-To’s, and if you click the How-To’s link, you will find a list of several helpful resources to aid you in game play. I have included these resources as links in the Resources tab as well.  The Babble community is one of the things that makes the game so much fun. The BA site is the handiwork of SWMBO, and Anj, another Babbler, has posted several online resources there that I have collected in this page’s sidebar. BA is hosted on EasyBoard, and I hope you will take the time to explore the many Babble-related resources there. I’ve placed a lot of links from BabAnon on the resource tab for easy access.

Use of the Stats Pages

BrandyJack is a Babble player who has created a program to generate lists of letters, letter combinations, and their order of appearance for each day’s grid. The Stats Page is located on Babbler’s Anonymous, under the General link, and it will always have the current date on it if a new one has been posted. This section is a guide to the use of the Stats page.

The first section of the Game Stats for each day’s puzzle is for the total word count, word sizes and maximum point totals for each day’s grid. Next comes a section for letter counts: First-letter Count; overall letter count; and second-letter count, including the first two letters of each word for the day’s puzzle and the number of words using those two letters, then the number of letters in each and how many of each there are in the puzzle grid.

The next section is a list of the first two letters (with the number of letters in each word/total point value of the words) in order as they appear in the grid. This chart is handy for determining which starting letters are still needed.


The Chat Log

One of the reasons Babble is so much fun is the players who share clues for difficult or elusive words via the chat log located at the right side of the screen. Players also chat about topics of interest while playing the game, and the players are very friendly and most helpful.
Keep in mind:  While players freely provide clues to words, typing words from the grid into the chat log is strongly discouraged.

You can view the chat logs for previous days in two ways: for the previous day, click on Yesterday’s Puzzle, or for choosing any other day’s chat to view, click on the Archives link from the main page, and choose a link for any day listed.

Adding to the fun and part of the culture of the site, there is an icon theme for each day; if you want to participate, the link for themes is to the left. You can easiily find icons each day by searching online for them (Google Image search, for which a link is provided in the sidebar is one resource), or by using icons from your computer. To change your icon, go to your Profile by clicking the My Profile link; at the top of the screen there is an area where your icon is visible, with a link that says, “edit.” Click the edit link, then load your new icon from the internet or from your own computer (making sure to use a format supported by Babble) by entering the web address and clicking the Fetch Icon button or use the browse button to enter the path for the new icon from your computer. When you have your new icon, click upload, then refresh. You may need to refresh a couple of times. Your new icon will then be displayed.


Recipe Box: Slow Cook Ribs

beef or pork ribs

favorite seasonings

barbecue sauce (optional)

Cut the ribs so that they will fit into your slow cooker; season them on both sides as desired. Stack them in the cooker; do not add any liquid.  Cover and cook on low for five or six hours.  If desired,  finish cooking on the grill when you add barbecue sauce during the last half hour of cooking, or just keep it in the slow cooker to finish.

Recipe Box: Hearty Split Pea Soup

1 pound (2 and 1/4 cups) dry split peas

1 ham hock or ham bone

1/2 cup diced onion

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 potato, peeled, sliced thin or diced

3/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon thyme

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for two hours. Reduce to low and simmer for four hours.  Refrigerate leftovers promptly.  This is a very thick soup that is good when it is chilly outside.


We are beginning to prepare for our annual Thanksgiving open house.  Toward that end, we have just spent some time getting our “emergency” food supplies organized.  I combined multiple packages (one pound plastic bags) of black beans, split peas, lentils, pasta, brown sugar, and powdered sugar) into labeled, covered containers that will fit more easily into the cabinet.  No more plastic bags of anything will be stored in the cabinet.  It is much easier and more frugal to combine the small bags of foods into the covered containers.  We used a glass container, plastic, gallon-sized ice cream containers, margarine tubs and other containers we already had on hand.  We do plan to purchase more containers eventually, but we will do so only after we decide how they will be used.

Time Passes . . .

Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of my grandmother’s death.  Hard to believe it’s been that long, but I still remember the phone call from my Aunt with the news.  Shock.  Loss. Huge, crushing grief.  All of those emotions and reactions have given way to peaceful and happy memories of her.  She gave me the gift of childhood, and taught me a lot of practical skills that have carried me through well.  I miss her; I always will, until we are reunited in God’s kingdom one day.   We had her funeral on our fourth wedding anniversary.  At the end of this week, we will celebrate thirteen years of marriage, longer than either of our first marriages lasted.

Taming Our Paper Files

I ordered and received Maria Gracia’s My Oh-So-Organized Filing System. Yesterday, Jay and I completely emptied our filing cabinet, and took everything into the dining room. He got one of our plastic packing crates for trash, and one for items needing to be shredded, and we set to work. We put the filing system’s labels on file folders, according to our specific needs. Then we went through every single hanging file, file folder and sheet of paper we own. We discarded enough to fill our trash crate, and put some into the shred bin. Everything else went into appropriate folders. The process took six and a half hours, and we were exhausted by the time we finished…but now, we can literally put our hands on any single piece of documentation in seconds. It is so worth it to have spent the time. The system is easy to use, as we discovered today when we had a few stray items to file. I put labels on three drawers of the filing cabinet until we know where each category is by practice/use. The fourth drawer is for notebooks for my job, which were taking up floor space until this morning. I felt a huge sense of relief when I realized that nine years of tax documents are arranged by date order, newest first, in one single folder that is not bulging, with paper falling out of it. That was when I knew this system is a keeper. The extra file folder labels that we do not need currently are stored for future use, as our needs change. This is one more area of disorganized clutter we no longer have to deal with, and it is so welcome.

Today, we took a complete, paper and pen inventory of food items, cleaning supplies, paper products and toiletries in the entire house, and I’m going to use that information to compile a master shopping list, and a price book for grocery shopping; it will also be turned into lists of the contents of pantry and cabinets for easy reference and tracking. We will mark items off as they are used, to avoid buying duplicates of things we don’t need. For instance, we have 8 bags or other containers of pinto beans. This supply should last a few YEARS!

A VERY Handy Piece of Software

Like most people who surf the internet, I have a list of sites I visit frequently. The other day, I found WebMon. This little gem helps me stay sane, already. I simply added my list of frequently visited URLs, and each time I start my computer, it checks for updates to those sites, and I double click each one to open it in my browser. I can add new sites any time.

Since I am interested in organizing and frugality these days, I am finding a wealth of new sites on these topics, and reading new content is a breeze with WebMon. Continue reading