Saturday, February 17, 2007

She Got Game

I'm no hack when it comes to Scrabble. Growing up, Scrabble was our family's post-dinner occupation. Home from college, I spent a lot of time with people who would whip off a game or two before we'd head out to drink beer and climb water towers. You know, the fun before the fun. (Yeah, and I'm the one who reads the dictionary over breakfast. As I say, the fun before the fun.)

My job is words. I live with a low-grade dyslexic who juggles phonemes as a way of communicating (Matt would make an excellent Cockney; we'll be in trouble when the kids start taking the rhyming slang to school). I read, I write, I edit. Words.

Having said all, that I have to admit it's intimidating to play Scrabble with Matt's grandma's set. Now there was a player. It's hard to come up with something out of JXYUUUI when you look over and see the scraps of paper she'd keep score on and the average game looks like this:

26 19
108 67
139 106
154 187
190 216
288 263
383 315
459 354
490 385
505 408
523 414
527 419

My games are good. But they don't look like that.


  1. One of the guys in Wordplay is a competitive Scrabble player. You read his recaps of games, and you say to yourself, "Pfft! Those ain't words! WTF?" I may know a crapload of largely useless words, but I've got nothing on the hardcore Scrabble people.

  2. Completely OT: I'm a friend of Ethelred's, who correctly suggested I'd really like your blog. Now my sister is moving to Duluth, and I was wondering if I could ask you (on her behalf) a couple questions about childcare and schools and ships and such. May I please?

  3. Wow, those are serious points!'s a question. There are people who love Scrabble (people like you and me), and then there are people who take it very seriously...maybe too seriously. One woman I met a while back during grad school was one such overly serious player. She made fun of me that I hadn't already memorized the list of 2-letter words.

    I was aghast that people "train" for Scrabble, and sit around and memorize words they couldn't even use in sentences. This seems wrong to me--- for me, the charm of playing is pulling out a gem on occasion, and being able to skillfully explain its meaning to your dumbfounded opponent.

    But memorizing words just for the letter combinations doesn't get you that credibility.

    What do you think?

  4. Sharikov9:10 PM

    Then there are people who make up impossibly high game scores and leave them in the box just to drive future generations ape.

  5. Here you go. Trip Payne's report on his latest Scrabble tournament, complete with words like DERAIGNS, TRAIKED, and STUIVER. I'm absolutely a wordy person, but those words? I can't even guess what they mean. The opposite of "arraign," maybe, and...who knows?