The Wall Street Journal Numbers Guy blog covered my auction scrabble idea.
Besides learning that Scrabble can be fun for him when incorporating economics, Ely got some preliminary data on the true value of tiles. Aficionados of the game know that a blank — which can be played as any letter — and S are valuable because they can be used to form so many words. Therefore, playing them on the board is worth just 0 or 1 point, respectively — the tiles’ value comes from the other letters whose usage they make possible. Conversely, Q and Z aren’t part of as many words and are hard to play, so playing them brings a bonus of 10 points (not counting triple word scores and the like).