Scrawled some gibberish all over a piece of A4 this evening as I tried to figure out a simple formula for the number of ways to fit certain word configurations into a grid.
After getting myself in a right muddle, I had a rethink and realised that I didn't actually need a proper answer, just a decent estimate. And so the answer is simply RxC (number of rows multiplied by number of columns) which is about as simple as it can get.
Now, estimating the number of ways to put a word of length N in a grid of dimensions RxC is a bit more tricky, but I think that RxCx8^(N-1) should do it.
Fingers crossed it's not too optimistic!
[Image credit: torbakhopper]