Ultimately it isn't really anything new, but it definitely does work for what it is. I think perceptions are an interesting thing on this 'Sentientsparrow' said they felt they got the hang of it after playing a few times, but their high score of 14 suggests they never made it past the first level (requires a score of 25). In fact at the moment I am writing this only the top 7 scores have passed the first level, the top 6 passed the second level, the top 3 passed the third... Just looking at the score it suggests the times are a bit short...
I personally had that feeling as well, but most of the time not because of the timer, I think the game has some other downsides that make the time feel shorter:
1. First and foremost you have to go away from the playing board to confirm your word. This takes precious time and is annoying.
2. Before going to click there is no indication of what the game accepts as a word, this can very easily bring you to make a real word that the game doesn't accept and then have it rejected and have to go back and change it.
3. The dragging really needs improvement. Dragging diagonally just doesn't work well it has a tendency to select to either side. Because dragging is typically how these games are played this is how most will be used to selecting.
4. Although I like the ability to click to select words combining mechanics in a game and not differentiating their function (i.e. you can switch back and forth and mix and match while playing) can cause unintended problems and confusion while playing.
All of that being said I personally prefer games that promote word length and complexity over spamming short words to hit a score. I,e, instead of a timer maybe I could be able to make x number of words and I have to make a certain score with that.
Like I said perceptions are different for different people. Sentientsparrow felt they got a hang of it and never made it out of the first level. As of writing this I have the top score (303) and did not feel that I got a hang of it.