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Say Ciao To Those A-I-O Decisions

When it comes to keeping their favourite vowel everyone knows that E is the best and U is the worst. With A, I and O there seems to be more individual preferences. Beginners have traditionally held on to the letter I because one of the most common ways for them to play a bingo is an –ING word. I have always preferred the letter A. In the old days, before everyone did their study on computers I had bingo lists that you looked up by putting the letters in alphabetical order and I was impressed that the first few pages had so many words containing AA or even AAA. I received several favourable comments about the statistical analysis of the combination D-T last week so a similar analysis of A, I, O seemed a good idea.

4 letters: There are 1987 words with an A, 1273 with an I, 1565 with an O

5 letters: There are 5308 words with an A, 3573 with an I, 3890 with an O

7 letters: There are 16002 words with an A, 16261 with an I, 11960 with an O

8 letters: There are 21275 words with an A, 22951 with an I, 11678 with an O

There is a lot more flexibility in 4 and 5 letter words for an A, but it is just overtaken by an I in bingo words. However that is not the whole story, because the worry when you keep any letter is that you might pick up duplications. So this is how the statistics look when trying to play more than one of those vowels:

4 letters: There are 155 words with AA, 36 with II, 187 with OO

5 letters: There are 642 words with AA, 168 with II, 523 with OO

7 letters: There are 2919 words with AA, 2263 with II, 2071 with OO

8 letters: There are 4510 words with AA, 4362 with II, 3465 with OO

5 letters: There are 14 words with AAA, 1 with III, 2 with OOO

7 letters: There are 298 words with AAA, 50 with III, 123 with OOO

8 letters: There are 475 words with AAA, 211 with III, 356 with OOO

Perhaps I should explain that the figures given include the extra letters. For example the 2919 7 words of 7 letters with AA will include the 298 words with AAA. So there are only 2621 words with AA that do not have a 3rd A. If you prefer to look at your statistics that way you are welcome to do your own maths.

Anyway I believe these figures are the clincher that make it clear A is the best of these 3 vowels. While it is only marginally ahead when looking at holding 1 tile and the letter I was looking very competitive, it is clear that the moment you pick up duplications you would prefer duplicate A’s to either I's or O's.

Your challenge on this blog is to see how many of the 14 words of 5 letters that include AAA you can think of. Answers at the bottom of the page.

While you are thinking about that here is a list of the 25 most likely 7 letter words you might play that include AAA:

ACARIAN Pertaining to mites or small arachnids

DATARIA An officer who attends to papal announcements. Also DATARY

RADIATA Originally a Californian tree, but now mainly grown in NZ

SARDANA A Spanish folk dance

TANADAR An officer in charge of an Indian police station

GALATEA A durable cotton cloth, usually striped

APANAGE An endowment for a king’s child

ALTHAEA A genus of plants that includes the hollyhock

ANAEMIA A disorder of the blood

ANATASE The mineral titanium oxide

RATAFIA An almond flavoured liqueur. Also called RATAFEE

ANALGIA An inability to feel pain

ANGARIA The legal right to seize property providing compensation is paid

NIAGARA A deluge

ANALOGA Something which corresponds to something else

TANAGRA A kind of terracotta figurine

HARIANA A breed of Indian cattle

ARALIAS A genus of plants similar to ivy

TALARIA Winged shoes supposedly worn by the gods Mercury and Hermes

AMANITA A poisonous fungus

TAMARAO A small wild buffalo of the Philippines.

ANTARAS Panpipes from South America. Look out for a T hook for TANTARAS

TANTARA A trumpet fanfare or hunting cry

TARTANA A Mediterranean sailing vessel. Also called a TARTANE

TARAMEA A variety of NZ speargrass

I didn’t know what TARAMEA was. Did you? If we are not familiar with it as kiwis, what chance would someone who lives in Scotland have!

So how did you go with those 5 letter words that have 3 A’s?

I suspect that was a difficult challenge and only A graders got more than one or two of them. Don't be discouraged if you found it hard. That just means you are about to learn more words than those people who knew them anyway!

If you have given up on finding any more, here are the answers:

ABACA / ABAKA Alternate spellings of an Asian hemp plant

ARABA A heavy wagon

ABAYA A Syrian cloth of goat or camel hair

AFARA An African tree with light, straight grained wood

AGAMA A tropical lizard

KAAMA A large South African antelope

ALAAP / ALAPA Alternate spellings of an introductory section in Indian music

ANANA Pineapple

ASANA A posture used in yoga

ANATA The Buddhist belief in the impermanence of the self

TAATA An East African father. Takes another A to make ATAATA!

AYAYA A type of singing among the Inuit or Eskimos.

Good luck to everyone at the Nationals next week



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