1. Mosaic -- DEIJNRY to open
JERID 8d 42 seemed like the obvious choice. Quackle agreed. Although DEIR are such nice letters! This caused John to hesitate everso slightly as we put the tiles out. But really, JERID is best.
... ABK: UNBARRED e2 72
2. Mosaic -- ELNNRUY: JENNY d8 30
Quackle likes NUNNERY 3c 30, and if we'd seen it, I think we'd have agreed, primarily to use the U.
... ABK: QAT 7g 47
3. Mosaic -- FLMMORU: UMM c11 23
This took us some time to find. Quackle narrowly prefers FORUM 2b 32, which Marsh favored first. But we liked the FLOR leave with the A and U of UNBARRED still wide open, and John preferred not to open the top row over the M of FORUM.
... ABK: TiPTOED 6h 74
4. Mosaic -- EFLORST: FOOTLERS l4 76
The score is now 192-174 their favor, so we're feeling okay. The FLOR leave seemed to pay off, allowing us to cancel out their blank bingo.
... ABK: VERGE 10j 19
5. Mosaic -- ACIRUWW
ABK took a bit of time on VERGE, and the play surprised us. We didn't like our rack (to say the least), and the R hook in the triple column seemed to get us partway to cleaning up while scoring well. Quackle likes AURIC for 41, keeping WW (static evaluation); we were fixated on getting rid of at least one W, and did not consider this. We played WAUR o7 31. Game is close to tied:
... ABK ...
ABK took a while here, too, and from their discussion it seemed like we were in okay shape. We expected them to play off 2 or 3 tiles, for a score between 18 and 30-something. Suddenly Alyssa pointed to the top of the board and said, rather casually, how about...? Bam! AGE(N)iZES 3b for 106, and we are in deep water. (Nice play!)
6. Mosaic -- ACIIIWX
We consider the plays shown below, but I don't think we can stomach keeping 3 i's, so the top play is out, perhaps incorrectly. XI, which was our choice, also kills the bingo line on row 2 for everything except a P -- which counts against it for us, since we will need bingo lines. So this was a hard choice.
... ABK: OOTID n2 12
7. Mosaic -- ABCIIOW: IB(EX) h1 39
We will not believe how long we now hold on to this W. But the leave of ACIOW, while not exactly showing promise, seems to be developing in the right direction.
... ABK: H(i)E f2 30
Intentionally or not, this knocks out 1f-1m as a bingo line.
8. Mosaic -- ACIOPWY: YIP o1 30
Marsh immediately sees a dream word, WICOPY, but it doesn't play.
... ABK: (UN)AGILE 11c 16
I believe ABK were already in some time trouble. Here began three under-20-point turns in a row for them, but our racks and positional considerations did not allow us to take advantage. Importantly, UNAGILE kills the bingo line in column B ending at the -UN hook.
9. Mosaic -- ACEIOOW: (L)OOIE h11 18 is our choice.
The top-scoring play, WE m3 for 30-something, would have put us close to where we would not have needed a bingo to catch up, but with only one more E unseen and a leave of ACIOO, it felt like suicide going into the pre-endgame. We preferred to keep the W one more time and open some lines on the bottom row. We also tried to keep the time pressure on (without being obnoxious :-)
... ABK: CH(I)A 14f 15, thus almost, but not quite, closing up the bottom we just opened.
10. Mosaic -- ACOSTVW
This is a very interesting position, and a key move for us (shown with one of the candidate plays, VOW, on the board):
We considered the plays listed below (among others). It is finally crucial to unload the V and W, and VAW seemed to do the trick: it kills the line through the A in column B, while opening a new line in column A (which must start with A or O, both of which we keep); it avoids killing the constrained line on the bottom; and we only draw 2 tiles, giving us maximum breathing room and maybe an additional play in the game.
Quackle still narrowly prefers VOW, but it just seemed too easy for Opp to then kill column B, and we'd be dead. We needed two lines, however constrained. In an extended sim, set for 5-ply so it always played out to the end, you can see how close VAW comes on the 'Bogowin %':
... ABK: D(E)AL k9 17
Not only do they block neither line, they only play off 3, leaving 5 in the bag. But they are in terrible time trouble, less than 30 seconds if I recall.
11. Mosaic -- ACFORST
mosaic: Turn 11 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O ------------------------------ 1|= ' I ' Y| 2| V U H B " O I| 3| A G E N i Z E S - O P| 4|' W - B E X I F T '| 5| A - O I | 6| " R " T i P T O E D | 7| ' R Q A T T ' W| 8|= J E R I D L A| 9| ' E D ' ' D E ' U| 10| " N " V E R G E R| 11| U N A G I L E A S | 12|' M Y O L - '| 13| M ' O ' - | 14| - C H I A " - | 15|= ' E ' =| ------------------------------ -> mosaic ACFORST 344 abk ******* 408 --Tracking----------------------------------- AEIIKLNNNOSU 12
FACTORS doesn't play and we don't see anything else. But we've been given a chance, as our lines remain open and there are tiles to draw. So we cash the m3 hotspot with FA for 32 and pray.
Postmorteming with Lexpert, I see there are three bingo possibilities on the bottom line and one in column A, with our leave of CORST and the unseen pool (ESOTERIC, ENACTORS, ELECTROS/ELECTORS, and OCTROIS). We did not think of any of these prior to making our play, and it's possible a different play would have given us even better odds.
... ABK: SLUNK 13k 24
Really jammed for time, they avoid going over and score well enough to certainly require us to bingo. Unfortunately (for them), they again block neither line...
12. Mosaic -- CEIORST
We drew EI after FA, and Marsh immediately mutters 'coteries' and I lay down its anagram from the E for the win.