Yep, exactly. We notice it because we know it's there, but others will probably not notice it at all.
<<I wasn't able to get the punctuation panel to fade in with the tiles>>
I don't think fading the punct panel is worth the trouble. Visually the user's attention is elsewhere when a new puzzle is called up. Sorry I didn't mention this before.
The punctuation panel problem has been fixed in Edge: I did it by placing a non-breaking space at the start of the punctuation marks and another one at the end. I couldn't figure out why it was doing it, but ONLY seemed to be a problem:
1) on Edge, and
2) Where the exclamation mark was the ONLY punctuation mark.
I tried resizing the font in the stylesheet and repositioning it vertically, but nothing made any difference.