Unscrambling Scrabble

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One of my most favorite things to do on Facebook is play Scrabble.

I’ve made “internet friends” with some really, really nice people all across the USA (and one even in Canada) and I’ve also reconnected with some friends from high school, college and the old ‘hood. I actually am seriously considering a cross-country trip to meet all of them in person. Maybe next year. If gas isn’t $1,000. a gallon by then.

Facebook can be a little cranky sometimes and make it hard to get into the game and every so often my “virtual rack” will have 7 J’s…but that doesn’t happen too often. I admit that I am sort of addicted. I play it not only on my computer, but also on my iPhone and my iPad. It’s a fun way to take a break and not feel guilty because you are at least doing something causing you to actually think.

I have played Scrabble for years, but I’m not a big crossword puzzle person. I find that my friends who whoop me the worst (and trust me, they all whoop me!) are the ones that are devoted to those little black and white boxes in the daily paper. They know all the two-letter variations of every word (and probably what they mean!) as well as the very few words that don’t require a “U” after the “Q” as well as every word containing the letters “X” and “Z”. If you’re not a Scrabble player, the most valuable letters (Q and Z) are worth 10 points, while the X and J are worth eight. Sometimes I get realllly good letters like the X and the Z and the Q and even the K and the Y, which also have high values. The problem is when I do get those letters, I generally don’t have a vowel to help me. Then there are the many, many times that I get what I refer to as the “Old McDonald rack” which means all I have is e,i,e,i,o … and maybe a “u” and an “a” just to add to the mess.

Some of the things I’ve learned is that I hate both the letters C and V. No good can come from having them because there are no two-letter words using them and very few words end in either of those. I didn’t think it was possible to hate letters of the alphabet, but there is no love lost between those two and me.

What I really want to figure out is why some words are really words and why I don’t know what they mean. Some examples:

Biz – obviously, it’s slang for business. Then you have bize, which is a cold, dry wind that blows in Europe. Wiz is okay too, there is no “wize” (it would make more sense to me if “wize” was a word for “winds” than bize, but whatever…)  You can’t have “sez” or “oz” or “zen.” Don’t ask me why, I don’t have a clue.

Patioer is not a word although I don’t know why someone who sits all day outside couldn’t be called a “patioer.” The other day my friend Delia, who lives on Long Island, tried to play “amural” meaning there is no mural. The Scrabble gods denied her. Good thing, too, since she was already beating me by 200 points and it would have been a Triple Word!

Vac” and “sac” are both acceptable words (the first incorporating two of the letters I hate the most) but “bac” and ” rac” are no good. See, I think “bac” could be slang for “tobacco” while “rac” could be short for a raccoon or a raconteur.

One of the most confusing things to me is why, when you use allll  seven of your letters it is called a “Bingo.” A “Bingo” gives you all the points of the letters, whatever “multiplier” square you land on (double word, triple word, etc.) and you just about always do land on something or other, plus 50 more points. Why is it not called a “Scrabbler” or “Maxscrab” or “Scrabmaxist”…Why pull in a name from another game that is really unrelated?

Why is it called “Scrabble” to begin with? Why not “Talking Tiles” or “Winning Words?”

And I spend entirely too much time thinking about things like this…and playing Scrabble.

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One Response to Unscrambling Scrabble

  1. Chelly says:

    And what about jeep, it still amazes me that is a legal word….but I use it every chance I get…..and I am with you on the C’s and V’s…..they really aren’t very freindly letters.

    I am so glad to be counted as one of your scrabble buddies!

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