Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just a quick note..

To let anyone who's paying attention know that I'll be switching all the podcasts on iTunes from one host to another, so there may be some random interruptions with the listings there.

You also may have noticed that I'm still not posting on here as much- your best bet is to follow my twitter account (@scrabblepodcast) or follow the Facebook page. Chances are between the three places, I'll have posted something recently.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I learned from club this week

1. Missed ACMOTTU to an H. Also forgot MAUT.
2. RURBAN is a cool word.
3. EINRRY? plays through an A.
4. CEEKNT? has one anagram.
5. OK, here's the big lesson: I lost the second game three times. Here's how:
    a) I had AEGNORS and thought S(MUTCH) was good but didn't know for sure.
    b) I didn't take long enough to find the one spot my opponent could play his Q for a bunch of points.
    c) I didn't find BREN as an outplay, the only one that would've won.
Had I done a, b, or c I would've won the game. Here's the question I have for you more experienced players:
So I held MUTCH when it was played, but luckily let it stay. Here's the board. So what should I have done? I had a slight suspicion that SMUTCH was good. But if I play my bingo and I'm wrong, I likely lose. I obviously end up blowing the game anyways, but can anyone come up with a strategic way to decide whether not to make the play?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I learned from club tonight...

1. ACHILRS has two anagrams. I could've played the second through an L on the board as a 2x2.

2. CEINPRT plays through only one consonant for an 8. Unfortunately, that consonant was on the board and I missed it.

3. DEKNRS? plays through a C two different ways, and through a D one way. Would've scored a lot more than DUNKERS.

4. I had both V's and both Y's on my rack at one point, which made me think of the word ZYZZYVA- interesting fact: there is only one other seven that contains a V and two Y's. (There are no words with all four.) I got to play NAVVY.

5. Missed YINCE and OOCYTE as plays again. I need to learn these words.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things I learned from club last night...

Game one:

1. GOWD is good, I've reviewed it perhaps once, but didn't see it.

2. GORRA* isn't good, and I have no idea why I thought it might be. Just BEGORRA(H).

3. If you have a Z,G, and S, and there's an A to play through, you should play ZAG, not ZAS. Yep, I did that.

4. JAUP is the anagram of PUJA. Wasn't 100% on it.

5. Other than those mistakes, I made decent plays during the game- but lost 288-408. Sometimes things just don't go your way.

Game two:

1. BEEILNY plays through an R.

2. ISOPODAN is good. Though I played SADI(R)ONS instead of IS(OP)ODANS.

3. Sometimes when you have a really unlucky game, you get really lucky in the next game.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TWITTERY

Uh, yeah, I'm on twitter.

Not sure if I'll do much with it, but you can follow @scrabblepodcast if you'd like to find out.

Interestingly, 'TWITTERY' is defined as 'nervously agitated' on Zyzzyva.

Monday, September 26, 2011

1-0 Club night

I know, it's kind of lame that I only play one game at my local club, but until my bosses figure out how to let me work less than twelve hours on a Monday, one game is all that's happening. And unfortunately, it's a rushed game, because I'm doing it on a late evening 'lunch break'.
Here are the things I missed that I should still have spotted if I was in a rush:
1. from a rack of AEILNRZ, playing things like ZEIN or ZE(B)RA for 50+ points, rather than L(E)Z for 32.
2. remembering the anagrams of RATANIES that have the R near the end. I rattled them off once I was home, but blanked during the game.
3. NOVENaE is good, NONEVEn* isn't. And if you aren't 100% sure, you should just play something for less points that's enough to still win the game.
I did luck out though, in that my opponent didn't see their out play, plus they tried to put an S on SIERRAN, which I challenged off. Though I deserved to lose the game given my ending phony bingo play.

Monday, September 19, 2011

0-1 Club tonight

Played a pretty horrible game at club tonight- follow along here.
I tried to figure out what my worst mistakes were, but will gladly take any of your input- for example, does anyone have a 'don't fish more than x number of times' rule? It's tough when you have almost-good racks that don't score.
If you don't want to trudge through it, skip to this turn for a fun 'find the possible bingo' quiz. I'll leave what I think are the answers later.
I also didn't mention in the notes that I learned that RUDERY takes a front hook. (as does RUDERIES)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Less posts...

Hey there readers, you may have noticed that I've been posting less here on the blog. Well, that's because often I don't have the time to sit down and type out a well-thought-out, provocative post, like this one. Well, fear not! I've been posting much more often (in a still just slightly less-thought-out, provocative manner) on the

Facebook Fan page. 

Sign up today!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

-STONE extensions?

Saw this ad at the top of my gmail window, and wondered if any of these were good (in TWL):

 

Nope, they're not.

There are 78 front extensions, though- here's a few of the coolest:

 

AMAZONSTONE

BUHRSTONE/ BURRSTONE/ BURSTONE

COPINGSTONE

FLOWSTONE

HOLYSTONE

JACKSTONE

MIFEPRISTONE

ROTTENSTONE

THUNDERSTONE

VEINSTONE

...I haven't really done too many blog entries- I mostly do shorter iPhone-friendly entries these days on my Facebook page if you're interested.

 

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

9 Things learned from club last night

1. I make a lot of bad plays when I'm tired. (When I'm not tired, too, but more so when I've worked 11 hours.)

2. MUNCHY* still isn't good; can't believe I played it again (stayed on). HUBBED* isn't good, glad I challenged it off. HAJEE* isn't good, though I was pretty sure of that (challenged off). KHAN is good, haven't seen the HANK/ANKH card in a while. TOLENES* isn't good, I don't know why I even tried it (challenged off). And these were all in one game!

3. Chickened out on (UP)WAFT for 54. Darn.

4. Uh, NI isn't a word. Yeah, I let that one get by me.

5. ADINV?? plays to an M.

6. ECHE is good, haven't seen it enough to know it. (Had four E's and played ACHE, so it would have been useful.)

7. AAANRSU plays with a G on the board.

8. ACIMNRSU has two anagrams.

9. SANDELS* and SANDLES* are not the correct way to spell SANDALS. (there is a good word in there, though- are you reading, Saloma?)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Find the play...

http://www.cross-tables.com/annotated.php?u=9034#3Playing Words With Friends with Jsj1999 (sorry, I forget who is who according to their handle), and they spotted this amazing play:

http://www.cross-tables.com/annotated.php?u=9035#3
Note: the board in this is actually set up as a scrabble board, not a WWF board, but the principle is the same...

Monday, July 25, 2011

6 Things I learned/ was reminded of from club tonight

1. SOU takes an S, SAU doesn't (one's a former French coin, the other is a Vietnamese coin. I knew SAU didn't take an S but was thinking of it when I thought of SOU... so I didn't put down EFIORST! Crud!) SOUS takes an E.
2. BECAP is good- add it to a ton of other BE- verbs that are weird. (I sense a podcast feature here...)
3. REVET is good, and takes two different front hooks- T and B.
4. Somehow I knew BREGMATA, but not BREGMA. (BREGMATE is also good, and BREGMA doesn't take an S.)
5. REPEG is good.. Hm, I'm sensing a theme here: five letter words.
6. There is a bingo in GHIINVY with a C on the board!
You can check out a game I played vs. Mike F, our club's best (I think) player, in which I luck out and win. (I originally simmed this to show Mike, hence the comment directed to him early on.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ten (more) Fours

...that I didn't know

LOUP to leap (takes an E too, don't think I knew this was good.)
AMYL a univalent radical (gotta love those univalent radicals. Also ACYL, ARYL. I smell a 'univalent radical of the month' feature.)
BRIN a rib of a fan (back hooks EGKSY. I always think this is BIRN*)
AMUS a unit of mass, plural (I knew this, but it takes an R or W in front, and don't forget the back E!)
MUMP to beg (I didn't know this was a verb, and would've possibly challenged thinking it could only be plural)
SOLI plural of SOLO (I think I prefer SOLOS)
RAGG a wool fiber (add to the 'words you didn't know could have a doubled ending consonant' list)
ODIC pertaining to an ode (did I know this at some point? probably. I definitely know OTIC and ETIC. But I definitely didn't know  IODIC and SODIC.)
PIMA a strong, high-grade cotton (apparently I'm ignorant of fabric-related words.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ten Fours

Still slowly going through the fours- here are the first ten that popped up that I either didn't know at all, or wasn't sure of:

PISO the Philippine peso (also POIS)

MUGG to make funny faces (knew MIGG, not this one)

UNDE wavy (an adjective, doesn't take an S- also DUNE, NUDE)

DORP a village (DROP, PROD. this one doesn't even look familiar)

BUTE a drug for treating arthritis (back hook of O, also TUBE)

SIDH a hill inhabited by supernatural beings in Irish folklore (sounds like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. takes an E, not an S, also DISH)

SKAT a card game (can't believe I didn't know KAT took a front S hook. also- KATS, TASK)

POME a fleshy fruit with a core (what, an abbreviation for pomegranate? ok. also, MOPE, POEM)

CYME a flower cluster (think I knew this but haven't seen it in a long time)

MONY many (adjective, no S)

 

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 things I learned from club last night

1. If your opponent opens with exchange 4 and your rack is AAAILOR, playing RAIA for 8 is a bad idea. Sure you keep them from cashing in on the double word score, but a) you don't cash in on it, b) ALO isn't that great of a leave, and c) your opponent will play ZA for 40 something points as a reward for your stupidity. (which is what happened.)

2. Fun hooks: I got to play CENTAUr/C(OVERALLS). Missed the OVERALL hook with the first C, but was lucky enough to get the 2nd one and remember. What I didn't know is that CENTAUR takes a Y!

3. Sometimes you just can't draw to save your life. In my second game, I had three 6-vowel racks. One was a post-bingo rack, and the other two were after playing off 5 and 6 tiles, so it wasn't as though I was asking for it. And later I played off JO from AEIJORS (with 25 unseen and an open L on the board) and drew UU. I was able to bingo twice, but still lost by 30- but I was happy with even that.

4. READMIT also plays through an O. (and has a front hook that I didn't get to play.)

5. AINSSU? plays to an L ( I played SUNdIA(L)S.)

 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Found word of the day: CINOOOTZ

Though it actually doesn't take an S, yet. Maybe in the next dictionary...

 

comes from ZOONOSIS, a disease that can be transmitted from animals to man. (or perhaps, according to this, it's a set of diseases?)

 

 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 things I learned from club this week

Played one quick game at club- we both had 15 left on our clocks. I drew both blanks and all 4 S's, so it was an easy win, 464-300. If I had known #2, I would've had the distinction of playing all the S's in two plays.

 

1. AEEINV? has two anagrams; one scores more as an opening play. (I played NAIVEtE, that's not it.)

2. BIASED can be spelled with two S's! Didn't even occur to me as a possibility; It would have been a 100 point play rather than 28!

3. LNOSRT? plays to an E.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to lose a four game LCT, by me:

(LCT = local club tournament, it's a short four game round played on the night of scrabble club)

1. Go 2-1 +197, taking the lead (2 out of the 3 others were also 2-1)

2. Play the better of the 2 other players in the final round, and lose, thereby going from 1st to 3rd place. 

Here's the final game if you'd like to give me some advice (other than 'learn AEGOSTW') 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Found Extension of the Day

True story: I'm currently on vacation in Virginia, so of course I ordered a soft shell crab sandwich for lunch today. (It didn't come with the bite taken out of it; I just forgot to snap a shot first.) Later today, while waiting for my wife to run into a store for something, I whip out a scrabble game I'm playing on my cell phone vs. the bot. I had opened with BEATERS at the usual position, earlier in the week. Guess what three letter extension the bot played against me? It's not EGGBEATERS.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not sure how I managed this, but...

I just scored 671 points (686 with tourney rules) in a Facebook game, without a triple-triple.

I know, it doesn't really count since it was played online,  over a number of weeks, but still pretty cool.

Not shown in the screen grab are YAUPERS for 110 and SPARiNG for 83.

Ironically I almost tried MITTING* before realizing there was an O left sitting on my rack...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

on Facebook!

Since I haven't mentioned on here, in a while: you can always find WORD UP on Facebook, where I post a bit more frequently- for example, today's 'flashcard of the day', shown here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

8 Things I learned from club this week

1. DEINRSS thru a U: two bingos.

2. It sucks when you play what, strategically, is the right move:O(G)EE, to balance your rack- and your opponent holds CDKNORU, looking for an E.

3. BOUGHT takes a front hook of A. (duh, past tense of ABY! maybe if it were spelled ABUY* I'd remember?) It also extends to BOUGHTEN.

4. Balked on REGAVE. I figured you couldn't give something again once you've given it, but hey, what do I know? Well, I now know that GREAVE is also         good, and it takes a D or S.

5. MUNCHY* isn't good. Neither is MUNCHIE*, for that matter- only MUNCHIES. I hooked MUNCH with PROGENY- it was either that, or PYROGENE*, which I     thought I was totally making up, but the anagram of PROGENY is PYROGEN- no E hook on that one, though. Thankfully it stayed on.

6. There are three 8's you can make from AEEIQSU?, but the one I didn't know was through the T on the board. 

7. SPERMS takes OO as a front extension, which then in turn takes a Z front hook. 

8. ENTANGLE takes a D,P,R, and S. Oh, well one is a front hook, the others are back.

 

 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Found word of the day: AAMNSP

SAMPAN a flat-bottomed Chinese skiff

 

Reading a kid's encyclopedia with my son at bedtime. See, even I learned something. 

Bonus quiz: SAMPAN + A, L, and T

Saturday, May 14, 2011

X words train of thought, because I'm bored.

OXO containing oxygen; doesn't take any hooks.
OXY same definition, takes a B,D,F, and P in front only.

DOXY a doctrine, plural is DOXIES. DOXIE is also good.
DEXY another way to spell DEXIE, a tablet of dex. DEXIES is also good.

REDOX a type of chemical reaction. plural: REDOXES.
REDUX adjective meaning brought back. REDUXES* isn't good.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bummer...

Opponent opens with 8G ZEE. 

I play the only playable bingo with AACEIV?, which puts an E in the triple lane.

Opponent triple-triples thru E with DEOPSTU.

Adding insult to injury, there is now a U on the board and my rack is EKMNOSX! 

Pretty sure this is as close as I'll ever get to playing this 8 as a natural.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Found word of the day: AAADGMLY

Found while looking at a WSJ article on crying, (definition is 'an anatomical almond-shaped part').
Takes an E, but not an S. And the article is interesting, too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

6 things I learned from club tonight

Only had time to play one game- I made a few bad mistakes and missed some bingos, but was able to hang on for a win thanks to opponent exchanging, challenging incorrectly, and some luck.
1. AVA is an adverb meaning 'at all'! It doesn't take an S! I should know this by now.
2. ENTREAT + A = ANTEATER. Opponent took my spot (with AVA), it was the only playable bingo after that.
3. ENACTOR + C = ACCENTOR. Didn't know it. (actually is defined as 'a songbird', interesting.)
4. If you're playing a five letter word and there's a letter hanging one over and five up from the TLS, see if it'll fit there. (I played NARCO/NAN/MEGA for 19 when it would've been 26. The only unforeseen benefit was that it drew a challenge in this position.)
5. DEIKNSW has a good anagram. I think I even made it up in my head, but it was totally as a joke. (means 'to toil'.)
6. Don't open up the triple lane when it's probably the only way you can lose. (This is where the luck came in, opponent wasn't sure of FEAL for 50, but also had the S, which could have made a spot for a bingo.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Found word of the day: ADGIILLO

Spring planting is a good time to pick up some new garden related words... my wife bought some ASTILBE along with this, but I recently learned the correct 7 anagrams to LIBATES*, thus disqualifying it. I didn't know the plural of this one was good, though.

Friday, April 29, 2011

ALLOOTX

Just posted this as a 'quiz' on the Facebook Fan page. Though I didn't give the anagram there, just the pic and the fact that this is a 'famous' scrabble word....

Monday, April 25, 2011

7 things I learned from club this week

1. CHAIR has two 3 letter front extensions: ARM and BED.

2. EUPHORIA can be extended with -NT.

3. NIELLO is good. (It's both a noun and a verb, plural is -LI or -LOS.)

4. TALUK is good. (another interesting 5 I didn't know, it takes an A or S.)

5. An F (or any other high point tile) will score you more points on a TLS (in two directions) than as part of a DWS.

6. COELIAC is good. Luckily I didn't challenge- CELIAC takes an S, but this one doesn't.

7. I don't think I knew TELOI. A highly probable, but not playable, five.

 

Here's the game I played against Mike, our club's best player- I only needed both blanks and a late Z/S draw to win it. I try and explain some of my strategy, flawed though it may be. Feel free to leave your input. 

 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

WUU

On the way down to my parents house for Easter today, I noticed a license plate with WUU on it, in that order. Don't know if you've ever heard of the 'license plate word game', but it goes like this: you have to think of a word that uses the 3 letters listed, and contains them in that order. I doubted there was a word that met those conditions, but I was wrong.

The longer one, WELTANSCHAUUNG(S) is defined as 'a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it- it's German, of course, and also useless as any kind of scrabble play.

The other one, however is a five letter word that I've never seen and could be useful in getting rid of a couple U's. Know it?

Friday, April 22, 2011

HAYMARKET minus T or Y

At my favorite cafe here in Northampton, MA, where I deliver the mail....Haymarket Cafe.

Just realized that there are two sevens in there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

7 things I learned from club tonight

1. POLDER is a word, and is a better way to open then PONDER. Two reasons, I think: POLDER will more likely draw a challenge, and RES will bring them     to the TWS.

2. TOTTER and SOLDIER both take the same unusal hook. Didn't think of it for the first til after, and didn't know ir for the second.

3. LEGIT takes a convenient front hook.

4. Chickened out on ZINgARO and went with OR(G)ANIZe. I couldn't remember if the -ANO or -ARO spelling was correct. Turns out they both are. I think I       would have tried it, except the G was played so I went with the 100%-sure-bingo rather than the 90% one.

5. VASSAL is also a good word with only one S. Again, wasn't 100%, and it was a 50+ point play.

6. LUTHIERY* isn't good, and it's a good thing I didn't have a way to play it because I was sure it was.

7. However, EHLTUY? through a D has one anagram.

 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Words used to describe a heraldic cross...

A very important set of words to study if you're a scrabble player, right up there with paper sizes, tropical shrubs, and hmm, what other categories am I missing? None of the words listed take an S as they are all adjectives. 

AVELLAN having the four arms shaped like filberts (knew this one for some reason)

BOTONEE/ BOTONNEE having arms ending in a trefoil (this looks familiar, but I may be thinking of GOBONEE)

FITCHY having the arms ending in a point (didn't know this one, but it's a fun six, like the others)

FLEURY having the arms terminating in three leaves (like above, I think. knew this because it's a local lumberyard name here)

FORMEE having the arms narrow at the center and expanding towards the ends (keep reading, I'm going to list some other cool -MEE words)

FOURCHEE having the end of each arm forked (learned this long ago, before some top 1000 7 letter words. go figure.)

MOLINE having arms forked and curved at the ends (with an S you have LOMEINS)

POMMEE having arms with knoblike ends (other -MEE words: RAMEE, MAMMEE, and....LARYNGECTOMEE???)

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4 things I learned from club this week

1. Club was pretty noisy this week. I'm hoping that's the reason I missed AEILORV, CEEIOST and AENRSTV, all words I've studied numerous times.

2. Playing phonies against lower rated players is a good way to gain spread! I ending up playing all lower rated players just because of the timing of               things, and had three 500 point games. (WEENINGS*, GLUCASE*, ECOTISE* and HOTTY* all stayed, the last three all in one game.) I never usually           play phonies, which is one of the reasons I think I got away with these-  so I have to be careful now, they may be on to me! 

3. MINNY and FORKY are good.

4. EFOPRT? through an M has an anagram, and BEILORTT has two.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

M is for monetary unit

It's time for the next installment of the ABC Wednesday series, where I go over some of the basics of competitive scrabble... this week: M!


Well, this isn't really a 'basic concept' of competitive scrabble, but I couldn't think of one that started with M. Anyways, some of the craziest 'scrabble words' are often currencies from other countries. In fact, I often feature a 'currency of the month' in my scrabble podcast on iTunes.

In the scrabble dictionary, though, it's usually called a 'monetary unit of ______'.
Here's a few fun ones (with countries listed) for you, from ATT to ZLOTY:




ATT Laos BAIZA Oman    CRORE India     DIRHAM Morocco   EYRIR Iceland


FORINT Hungary      GOURDE Haiti      HAO Vietnam       INTI Peru


JEON South Korea     KHOUM Mauritania     LAARI Maldives


MILESIMO Chile     NGWEE Zambia    OUGUIYA Mauritania


PARA Yugoslavia     QINTAR Albania    RIAL Iran    SATANG Thailand


TAKA Bangladesh    VATU Vanatu    XU Vietnam   YUAN China  ZLOTY Poland






Sunday, April 10, 2011

Episode 65

Out now! Thanks for waiting.

I'll gladly take suggestions for future features, such as
'competitive scrabble etiquette' tip of the month,
anamonic of the month, etc. etc.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pathetic rack sequences

Just two examples of some poor playing/ bad luck I've had recently...

 

1. ?JNNRTX  exchange JNNR (guess I didn't think keeping ?TX could go badly... and no, there wasn't an I to play thru)

2. ?DTTUVX play TUX for 16

3. ?DGRTYV play GR(A)VY for 24

4. ?DEFMOT play FEM for 20 (no place for the 8s and I probably would've missed them anyways)

opponent bingos

5. ?ABDEOT play BOrATED for 75 and I'm still down by 35 points. I thought getting a blank on the first turn was good?

-------------------------------------

1. ?DHJLOS play JO for 18

2. ?DFHLNS play F(O)HN for 27

3. ?ADLSST don't know SANDLOTS, play LAS for 20

4. ??DDEST baDDEST for 75. baddest, indeed.

 

A scrabble product that even my wife likes...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words are fun.

I'm getting a kick out of learning words lately-- even though half the time I don't even know what they mean! As many of you know, there's a common method of study in competitive scrabble which generally involves going through words by probability or length- a method which I've mostly ignored. Of course, I learned the two letter words first, and the Q without U words, and the TISANE + blank bingos, but after that I pretty much have picked up words randomly. These days, I add new words to my study list one of the following ways:

1. I'm going through all the four letter words- any I don't know, I add.

2. Any interesting fives that are made from adding a hook to a four from above.

3. Any bingo (or 5 or 6 letter word) I find I've missed after reviewing a game, regardless of its probability. 

4. Fun, though mostly useless extensions that I find myself wondering about after a particular play in a game.

5. Any other random word that catches my eye for any reason (i.e. strange letter distribution)

So here's a few words I've added recently:

MUSTH a state of frenzy occuring in male elephants (interesting hook for MUST)

CATHOLICON a universal remedy, REQUIESCAT a prayer for the dead (file under 'useless extensions')

BENZOYL a univalent chemical radical (just caught my eye, I mean, hey, it has a Z in it)

MINIMILL a small scale steel mill (was looking up extensions for MILL, and look at all those I's!)

VALVAL, VALVAR pertaining to a valve (missed in a game, nice double V words.)

 

Monday, April 4, 2011

L is for LEAVE

No, I'm not telling you to leave, dear readers, I'm talking about the tiles you 'leave' on your rack after you make a play!
Yes, so after skipping K as part of the ABC Wednesday series, I'm back on board with L.
So your 'leave' is very important because it's going to set you up for what's going to happen on your next turn. Take a shot at these three randomly generated racks, pretending you're going first,  and see if you can find the best play:
1. EIIOOTT
2. AEFNSTU
3. EIIOQTU








1. So you may have been tempted to play TOO or TOOT or even TIE, but those all leave you with all or nearly all vowels! In this case, you're better off keeping the E or ET or even EIT and exchanging the rest. Besides, no one's even played so you can pretend you're not even losing a turn!
2. FUN, while it only scores 12 points, is actually the highest rated play. This is because AEST are great tiles to build a 7 or 8 letter word from, and because U is probably the least useful vowel. FAUN and TUFA are also rated highly (since they leave EST and ENS), but those are less common words.
3. This was a trick question, because QUOIT is actually a word!  If you didn't know that word, hopefully you found QUOTE, QUITE or QUIET. QUOIT is best because it leaves you with EI- it's hard to explain, but certain vowel combinations are better than others. Just try and think of words that have an E and I in them versus two I's, or an O and an I, and hopefully that will explain how EI beats out OI or II. Regardless of this, though, playing QUOTE for 48 points (by placing the Q on the double letter score and getting the opening double word score) is a good example of when scoring points can cancel out the leave rule, assuming you didn't see a better play. If you score a lot on a turn, say 40 or more points, it's sometimes worth sacrificing the balance of tiles on your rack for a turn or two.

That's all for this week! Thanks for reading.
And hey, while I have your attention, you may want to check out a list of casual scrabble clubs here.

6 things I learned from club tonight

1. Exchanging DHLV from an opening rack of DHLQTUV can go very badly (even though it actually sims high). I drew BTUW.

2. VIVES* isn't good, but VIVAS is. I knew one wasn't good, but couldn't remember which was which. It seems strange that one is an adjective and the             other a noun since the definitions are almost identical.

3. DURR is good, I think it's one of the 4's I haven't made it to yet. Yet I knew DURRA.

4. REMAILED is good. I held it, and it's sad that I wasn't sure since I work for the post office. I need some REMEDIAL study on eights.

5. ENDOSTEA takes an L, and not an S. It didn't come into play (though I'm happy I found the bingo), but good to know.

6. KAIN, KANE and CAIN are all the same thing. Not sure I ever made that connection.

 

Monday, March 28, 2011

3 things I learned from club tonight

1. I'm actually not that bad at finding the right play (especially early in the game)- as long as I take the time to think about it. My first three moves (in the one game I played) all simmed highest even though they were all small rack balancing moves; i.e. opening rack EEFINOT= 8G FOE.
2. I managed to get the challenges right this time- challenged off TITER/RAGIN* (knew RAGIN* was bad, but wasn't sure on TITER), which opened up a spot for my bingo. Held SWEER for 43 but let it go- luckily. My opponent even didn't think it was good, but it was- I don't know my 5s well enough and I needed to stay ahead at that point in the game. I'm learning to let go of my 'if I don't know it, challenge it' rule- it may be a good way to learn words, but it's also a good way to lose games.
3. OVERDECK is good. I breifly considered it, but couldn't come up with a plausible definition in my head. (means to adorn extravagantly); I ended up playing R(E)VOKED for 40, so all wasn't lost.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

5 Things I learned from club this week

OK, 'from club' rather than 'at club', since most of the things I don't find out until I go home and go over my games. except this first one:

1. Always, always take a minute to look for a better play! ZA is on the board, 6 spaces away from the TWS. I hold G for, like, 6 turns trying to come up with     a word (chicken out on GURNET). On (what should have been mine and their) last turn, I have EEGINRV and immediately plop down GRIEVE for 46.         Smack the time clock, smack forehead. There was a lane starting with S on the board. Luckily I was already way ahead.

2. ZEBRAS takes an S! Neat. I didn't actually have the opportunity to play this, but was looking up extensions of ZEBRA since it was on the board. Winners     are ZEBRAFISH and ZEBRAWOOD.

3. RICING takes a front hook of T(and P)! Luckily my opponent didn't know either, it would've cost me the game.

4. I'm learning the value of playing phonies a bit more, especially against lower rated players. Played OVERLINE* and FULMATED* even though I was           pretty sure both weren't good. In both games, they were my only bingos and definitely helped me win in one. 

5. On the other hand, I need to take a little more time to block potential bingos after an opponent plays a phony and I challenge it off. Got rid of BLARIER*     and BRAILER*, but left an E open and opened a lane with an M in it- both not terribly difficult words to find. Whoops.

J is for JEFE

OK, I'm not going to make this post very long today-
but I chose the title because JEFE was one of the first 'non-normal' J words I learned for scrabble, since my first name is Jeff. I'm always on the hunt for new words, and one of the easiest ways to find them is to use someone's first name and figure out what scrabble words it's closest to, or if that doesn't work, what scrabble words you can make from it with a blank or two.
So go ahead, leave your first name in your comment and I'll try and find the most interesting scrabble word that I can derive from your name.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Directional Anomaly

EASTERNMOST, 

NORTHERNMOST and NORTHMOST

SOUTHERNMOST, 

WESTERNMOST and WESTMOST, 

but no

EASTMOST*

or SOUTHMOST*.

 

 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yet another fill-in-the-blank quiz..

Playing on facebook, I drew two blanks after my opening play.. I kind of wish I had written down the racks now, because they have been pretty ridiculous. I actually had to exchange after getting the two blank rack. Anyway, here's the current rack, of interest because there's only two answers"

 

AIIOT??

 

Can you find them? 

I is for...

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: I!

 

Ok, so I couldn't come up with a specific term used in competitive scrabble that begins with I, but I thought I'd use this opportunity to talk about the actual letter and some words that use it, etc. In fact, I even changed the font for this post so that you don't think the I's are just lowercase L's. Many people are afraid of having I's on their rack, and for good reason: while having one I out of 7 tiles isn't too bad, as soon as you get 2 or more, you're in trouble. In fact, this principle applies for almost every letter, but even more so for vowels other than E. So, quick tip: if you have a doubled letter on your rack, try to get rid of one. On the other hand, here's some I-heavy words to help you get rid of more than one I.

ILIA- plural of ILIUM, a bone of the pelvis

IXIA- a flowering plant

BIDI- a cigarette of India (also spelled BEEDI)

 HILI- plural of HILUM or HILUS, a small opening in a bodily organ (don't forget the front hook of C!)

IMPI- a body of warriors

TITI- an evergreen tree or shrub

Wait, you have 3 I's to get rid of? Don't worry:

IRIDIC pertaining to IRIDIUM

IRITIC adj, IRITIS, inflammation of the iris

IMIDIC adj, IMIDE, a chemical compound

If you have four I's, (speaking of which, FOUREYED is good, though not FOUREYES*), well I can't help you! There are no words 8 letters or less with that many. So you'd better exchange. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

8 Things I learned at club last night

1. FETTLES is good. And while I'm learning new _ETTLES words, you can put a P there too. (They're both verbs.)

2. KNAUR is another way to spell KNAR/KNUR. And speaking of K words...

3. VAS takes a front hook of K. I knew that, but when VAS was on the board, for some reason my brain was too busy making sure I didn't try and make it         AVAS*. Anyone have a tip for getting myself to find the possible hooks on the board, especially less ordinary ones? I have a bad habit of completely           whiffing on them, even when I know them.

4. I knew the other two _ELIC words, but not MELIC. (adjective, pertaining to a song)

5. Don't know if I knew BRIO. Challenged off BRIO/I(MAN)*. There's a Brio Cosmetology Academy here in town that I deliver to all the time, so it's ironic           that I didn't ever look the word up.

6. There are quite a few ordinary words I need to add to my cardbox, because I don't see them on a rack. PATIO is one of them.

7. DEOTUZ? has an anagram; I've seen it but never studied it. Missed it.

8. TRIFE* is not a word. I didn't play the phony front hook to RIFE, but was tempted. It may be because I've heard it in the song Bada Bing by                         DANGERDOOM, which is an album you should listen to if you like hip-hop and don't mind a little bleeped-out profanity.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fill in the blank quiz

Just had the opening rack of AACELR? on a Facebook game. I was surprised that there's only 9 possible words in there, since it looks bingo friendly, and that of the 9, I only knew 2. I played the less common one, since I've studied one form of it, and because the common one didn't even come to me. 

What's the first word you see?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Found word of the day: BIMRSUX

 

A bit blurry through the window display, but I didn't want to stand there for a third shot in front of the dental specialty store...

I knew BRUX, and may have even known it was a verb, but BRUXISM? Nope.

Interestingly, I had just gotten a ten minute massage for a headache and the masseuse asked if I clench my teeth in my sleep.

I don't know, I'm sleeping.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two spellings...

that are REALLY hard to remember. They're alternate spellings of the same vowel-heavy word, but the consonant/vowel orders are totally different.

Can you get it?

CDEIIOSU

CDIIOOSU

good luck...

 

Oh, and the definition is 'unisexual', whatever that means.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fill in the blank quiz...

You have ABELOT? on your rack.
You have to overlap FOP/FA/PEE (so basically, over O and PEE).
Go.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

H is for HOOKS!

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: G!

 

We've already gone over 'fishing', which is a generally bad practice, however 'hooks' are definitely good to know. A 'hook letter', or 'hook', is a letter that will spell a new word when it is played with in the front of or at the end of a word already on the board. The most commonly used hook is S, of course, which is usually added to the end of a word. For this reason, most people will hold on to an S until it can be used to score a decent amount of points.

Knowing hooks can make the difference between having a place to put that great word or having it just sit on your rack. It can also gain you a turn if your opponent tries one that isn't good. (In competitive scrabble, you lose your turn if your opponent 'challenges' your play and the word isn't acceptable.) This most famously occurs in competitive games with -ING words; it's often difficult to remember which ones take an S and which don't. Adjectives are another culprit of the attempted S additions. More on that later...

The fun part, though, is learning some of the more unusual hooks (usually 'front hooks' that completely change the word when added to the beginning) and then surprising your opponent with them. Here's just a few words that you can add an S to the front of that you may not know about:

MAZE, HEAL, WASH, EDGY

CREAK, LATCH, WAGER, WIVES

just to name a few. 

To end, here's a quiz: which of these words take a S back hook in scrabble?

WEIRD

FEEDING

OUTER

PARKING

STRANGE

SURFING

Answers in the comment section...

Of course, I haven't even touched on all the words you can add 'Y', 'D', or 'R'  to, as well as the many other aspects, but you get the idea. When you see a word on the board, the first thing you should think is, 'what letter can I add to the front of back of that?'


10 Things I learned at club this week

Another demoralizing night at club- went 0-3, and all 3 games were winnable...time for a therapeutic review:
1. EGRSU is considered a strong leave. And, don't burn your S on your first turn for 18 points. (played ERUGOS/ TAVS)
2. I need to take longer after saying 'hold' to decide whether to challenge. Not only to think about whether or not the word is good, but to consider other factors. I challenged SUBAH and pretty much lost because of it, since it was during the end of the game.
3. EYEFOLD is a word.
4. GINNOSU from an A has an anagram.
5. Just because a word isn't played for very many points doesn't mean you shouldn't hold it if you're suspicious. (A(MORE)*)
6. My two weakest areas, strategy-wise, are not thinking about my vowel placement in regards to hot spots, and not thinking about what will happen in an end game AFTER I make my play. (i.e. coming up with an 'out in two' play, but not realizing the first one opens up a spot for them to score a bunch.)
7. BUNTERS/BRUNETS/BURNETS has one more anagram that would be useful if you're trying to bingo down from the top right corner.
8. FRIZING is good. (knew FRIZES, but not as a verb)
9. With an opening rack of DEEIITU, the correct play is ETUI, not ETUDE. Duh.
10. REQuOTES* isn't good, and you shouldn't try it if you can play QuOTES for 62. PINNATE doesn't take an S!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

10 things I learned at club this week

I've realized the these post titles are inaccurate: these are 'things I learn after club is over, with the help of Zyzzyva and Quackle'. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, though. Here goes:

1. UNPOINTED is good. (took a risk that it was, drew a hold, but no challenge.)
2.TWITTERY is good. (darn, haven't studied it, though I think I knew the unusual twitter hooks, had it as a natural! )
3. GRAVID takes an A. (no S. though, GRAVIDAS or GRAVIDAE.)
4. TSARITZA is good. (double darn, didn't know it, had it as a natural from the same T!!!)
5. If you're up by a 100 points and have a 5 tile out play you're not quite sure is good, and your opponent has lousy tiles, just go for it. A lot of the time if you have to piddle your way through the end, you'll end up losing a lot of spread. (I couldn't remember if (KIN)A was good and had AECIA. Would have been 150 points of spread, but ended up with 122. Strangely, if I had played AECIA and KINA wasn't good, I still would have had 120 points of spread, only a 2 point difference.)
6. ACEFIS has an interesting one word anagram, and it looks like a plural noun,  but it's not. Same turn: FASCIAE can be spelled without the S. CIIOTT is another interesting six- think I've seen it before.
7. CDEMNSU has an anagram through a U.
8. MARROW is a verb. (means to marry) And it takes a Y back hook. So ARROWED takes F,H,M, and N as a front hook.
9. Missed DEORUX? through an N. Interestingly, XU for 38 was the top sim choice. (as well as a couple other X plays. Anyone have insight on this? I ended up drawing the second blank, too.)
10. 8 letter words have front hooks, too. (Was blind to LUSTERED front hooks, I think because it's an 8 and didn't think to even look.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

G is for GOOD

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: G!

'Is GHAZI good?' Someone might ask at a local scrabble club.

'Good' in this case, means "good (or acceptable)  in tournament scrabble play".

And yes, GHAZI is a 'muslim war hero' according to my scrabble word study program.

On the other hand, a phony is a word that is usually referred to as 'not good'. GOOGLE* is not good (yet) in competitive scrabble. The asterisk is there to signify it as such.

Some other interesting G scrabble words:

AG agriculture, (noun)... this is the only other two letter G word, which makes the letter G a tough one to over (or under)lap on a board.

GHI a kind of liquid butter made in India... I've always like this one since it lets you put a G in front of HI. Also spelled GHEE.

GEEZ interjection, used as a mild oath... I love the definitions they give for these types of interjections. Also spelled JEEZ, this is what is called a 'highly playable' 4 letter G word. Meaning, it will pop up most often in competitive scrabble games of all the 4 letter G words. In fact, I'm going to list the most 'playable' G words for the next three:

GROSZ a Polish coin... I actually have a feature on my scrabble podcast called 'currency of the month' because there are so many interesting coins/ currencies that make great words. Plural of this one is GROSZY or GROSZE.

GIAOUR  a non-Muslim.. well I guess we're sticking with the Muslim related theme. I'm pretty sure this is considered highly playable because it's a great way for a player to get rid of excess vowels. GUAIAC is another crazy one with similar CVVVVC pattern. (it's a medicinal resin.)

GODETIA a showy annual herb.... as opposed to a conservative, humble annual herb. This is a highly probable 7 letter word, also and an unusual word, so it's a good one to end with.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Highly Probable

So since I got a laptop for Christmas, I've actually been using Zyzzyva for most of my word study, rather than the flashcard pile from my dashboard. Of course, for the most part, my method of adding words to my 'cardbox' has still been pretty random- anytime I see a word I don't know, I'll pretty much add it. Words that I miss when I review my games also get added, and I've been going through the 4s to see what I don't have down. Over the last few years, by virtue of probability, I've learned most of the highest probability seven letter words, either by going through the stems or just learning them when I've missed them.

However- I realized that maybe I should start looking at lists of the most probable words and seeing if there are any on there I don't know- so I whipped up a list of the top 1000 sevens. I wasn't surprised that most of them are ones I've already come across. But there were a few in there (mostly ones that don't fall under the 'top bingo stem' category) that I'm pretty sure I've never even seen played. In fact, I was playing a podcast friend on Facebook the other day and he played the first one in this list, which was part of the inspiration to look them up:
OERSTED / TEREDOS
LINGUAE / UNAGILE
CTENOID / DEONTIC / NOTICED
HORDEIN
THEROID
INGOTED
DIOPTER / DIOPTRE / PERIDOT / PROTEID
TOADIED / IODATED (didn't know either of these could end with D instead of S)
SERIEMA / SEAMIER
Ah well, these are all in my cardbox now, so I can't rely on my previous strategy of throwing my opponents off by incorrectly challenging words like these and then playing much less probable words later on in the game to confuse them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

F is for FISHING

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: F!


Fishing, in scrabble, is the (usually erroneous) practice of playing only 1 or 2 tiles for very few points in the hopes of 'fishing' out the tiles from the bag that will give you what you're looking for on your next turn.

This often results in NOT getting exactly what you were looking for, in which case, the temptation is often to 'fish' again, and before you know it, you have a string of turns in which you've racked up single digit scores and your opponent has racked up a double digit lead.

So for the most part, if you are making a two tile play, make sure it's one that scores decently! (i.e. 20 points or more) You'll have to use a parallel play and one of the premium tile squares for this to happen, usually. 

There are a few instances, however, when fishing is acceptable or even the best play. Here are just a few examples:

1. You have a rack such as AEINQST, (and there's no U to play through- can you find the word?), and there are no places to play the Q for a lot of points. You're still usually better off just playing Q(I) somewhere (yes, even for only 11 points) and keeping the rest of the letters. In this case, your chances of 'bingoing' on your next turn are very high.

2. You are losing by 50 or more points, and there are very few tiles left in the bag. You realize that the only way for you to win the game at this point is to figure out what tiles might be in the bag, and play off the right tiles on you rack in order to bingo. With just the right luck (and skill at setting up spots to bingo on the board), you can come back and win the game.

3. You have a dream word, say 'QUIXOTRY' that you've always wanted to play, and you have IOQUX already on your rack, so you play off the other two tiles in the hopes ofgetting a T and Y and playing through an R on the board.

Ok, actually example number 3 is pretty silly, but it actually happened during one of the highest scoring scrabble games on record. 

There are other times when fishing is acceptable, but the general rule is: don't do it.

I will leave you with a poster of all the 7 and 8 letter '-FISH' words that are currently acceptable in scrabble. It's actually for sale on cafepress and was done by a very talented scrabble player/ artist. Thanks for reading!





Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things I learned at club this week

1. PIANO takes a front AND rear hook of FORTE. (Didn't help though, since it was her opening play at 8D)
2. AELNOTY has an anagram. (Knew this, totally missed it. Fortunately I had 4 bingos otherwise.)
3. BUB is good. I've seen this a bunch of times reviewing the 3s, but that's easy when Zyzzyva shows you BBU. It's one of those rare 3s I've never played and so I started doubting myself on it. Got a 3 you've surprisingly never played? It would have been a great out play, luckily this wasn't a tournament because it would've cost me a lot of spread.
4. Missed GOOZ through an A to the TWS for 78 points. Very bad.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Found Word of the Day: AAFLLNOV


FLAVANOL  a derivative of flavone
A couple things to note:
First,
FLAVANONE(S)
FLAVIN(E)(S)
FLAVONE(S)
FLAVONOID(S)
FLAVONAL(S)
and.... FLAVOPROTEIN(S)!!!!
Secondly, 
Hershey's 'Special Dark' chocolate may be the worst chocolate I've ever tasted. The only reason I ate it was because it was free, and even then I felt ripped off.
I partly salvaged it by eating it with strawberries and tequila. Even regular Hershey's chocolate tastes better.
Third, 
I'm no graphic design expert, but did they do an awful job with the word spacing on that little circle or what?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

E is for EXTENSION

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: E!


No, I'm not talking about this kind of extension: 

I'm talking about extending plays that are already on the board. It can often be a pretty basic play, such as adding -ING to a word to extend it to a double or triple word score. In fact, the most useful extensions are ones involving extending a five letter opening play by three letters to hit the triple word score. (These are sometimes called 'snapbacks' due to the manner in which they allow you to 'snap back' your score.) 

Say your opponent plays ZINGS to open. If they're smart, they'll put the Z on the double word score, and score 50 points. If you're lucky, you'll be able to play GLA(ZINGS), GRA(ZINGS), or SEI(ZINGS) to come back with 50+ points yourself.

Of course, the expert players will often memorize obscure ways to extend words just for the rare chance to actually make the plays. I've read about players making plays such as 
GASPER(EAUX), LAMB(REQUINS), and PACLIT(AXEL). Ok, actually the last one is one of my dream plays, but the first two are legit. On the other hand, I did get to make this play a while ago. There are also plenty of front-extensions, I just am up too late at night to be able to come up with them.

Bottom line: don't forget to look for possible ways to extend words already on the board, rather than just adding your own.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Found word of the day: ADEGILSS


Ah yes, nothing gets you through trying to get your three kids to finish all their valentines like some good beer. (Or so I assume, I actually don't like beer.)

GLISSADE to perform a gliding dance step (takes a D, R, and S)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some PHYL- words...

Some shorter ones (which are what got me started on this):

PHYLA, plural of
PHYLUM, a taxanomic division- also PHYLAR

PHYLAE, plural of
PHYLE, a political subdivision in ancient Greece- also PHYLIC

Of course, there's the delicious PHYLLO, very thin pastry dough (also FILO, FILLO)
but here are the cool extensions:

PHYLLOCLADE
PHYLLOTAXIS, PHYLLOTAXES, PHYLLOTAXIES, PHYLLOTAXY
PHYLLOGENETIC, PHYLLOGENY/IES
PHYLLOXERA(S)

That's not all of them, feel free to post your favorite that I left out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Found word of the day: CENOPSY


Found: on an ironically outdated safety poster in my office.
Definition: 'the contraction of a word by omitting one or more sound from the middle' (What? Oh, well, the secondary definition is in use in this case:) 'brief loss of consciousness'.
Also: SYNCOPAL (cool, two fours!), SYNCOPIC
Add an S and you get PYCNOSES as well as the plural. heh heh, PYCNOSES.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

D is for DOUBLE WORD SCORE

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: D!


OK, actually in addition to the Double Word Score spots, you should keep an eye out for all the 'hot spots' on the board- easy to find because they're highlighted in a different color. This is important, because you may find a great word to play, but if it's not going over one or more the hot spots, you probably aren't going to score very well with it. 


Another simple thing you can do is to look for the double and triple letter score spaces (or DLS and TLS as we scrabble nuts like to call them)- and try and find a way to play high-point tiles on them. Better yet, play through two hot spots at once! For example, using the word QUIET, if the Q is on a TLS and the T ends on the DWS (I'll let you figure that one out) space, you'll score 68 points. Not too shabby.


Enough on that though. Here's some interesting D words:


DEE  the letter D [n]
DUH  used to indicate that something just stated is too obvious [interj]


DIDO a mischievous act [n]
DIDY a diaper [n]


and some longer ones...


lowest probability: DUMDUMS a type of bullet [n]
lowest prob with one vowel: DYBBUKS a wandering soul in Jewish folklore [n]


some 8 letter words with lots 'o vowels:
DIECIOUS or DIOCIOUS unisexual [adj]
DOUPIONI a silk yarn [n]


See, I just learned something too. I'll let you know when I get to play one of those last three in a game.







Monday, February 7, 2011

Found Word of the Day: AACINR

Found on the cover of the Valley Advocate...

anagrams are...
ACINAR: adj form of ACINUS, a small, saclike division of a gland
ARNICA: a perennial herb
CARINA: a carinate anatomical part (takes a front hook of O, and back hook of E,L,S)
CRANIA: pl. form of CRANIUM, ths skull

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C is for CHALLENGE

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week... here we go again!

The challenge I'm referring to here is not the noun defined as"difficulty in an undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it." Though, that is a good description of a good competitive scrabble game. To challenge, in competitive scrabble, means that you are questioning the validity of your opponent's last play. In North American scrabble, if you are correct (and the word is not valid), then the other player removes their tiles and loses their turn. On the other hand, if you are incorrect (and the word IS valid), then you lose your turn. 

Though this is really the rule in regular 'living room' scrabble, few people play this way (probably because it would end in an argument over whether or not the word is really a word). Of course, there is an official 'tournament word list' that is used so that everyone is on the same page. 

The addition of the possibility of playing phony words really ups the stakes and keeps you on your toes. Often times, people will play a word that they themselves are not 100% sure of- it's part of the risk. Other times, players will intentionally play all their tiles and make a phony word just to rack up points, especially if they think their opponent is unlikely to challenge. And there are even other times where a player will play a word in an effort to get their opponent to turn it into a phony (usually by adding an 'S' to it), so they can challenge and gain an extra turn. Lastly, it's an often followed practice to play the more unusual word (if the option is there) in an effort to draw a challenge, for example, playing 'STYGIAN'(which means gloomy) instead of 'STAYING'. 

OK, so now it's time for a quiz: which of the following words are acceptable in the current scrabble dictionary, and which aren't?

-QWERTYS
-DENOTER
-TEXTING
-ETESIAN
-OUGUIYA
-MOLTAGE
-KYLIKES
-GOMERIL
-FLINTER
-OUTYELP

I'll post the answers in a comment later.


things I learned at club tonight

I played Mike F. 3 times at club tonight, and managed to find a way to lose 3 times.

In the first game, I drew too many vowels at the beginning of the game, but didn't trade for a while because each time I was able to make a decent scoring play. I ended up with both blanks at the end with nowhere to play them, and no way to open up the board without being blocked. A frustrating 261-447 loss.

Second game: I keep it close with after his 2x2 ANTSIER on turn 2 with DEND(R)ITE, but don't have the guts to try LOOKUPs, Have nowhere to play the newly learned FIKLSU? (blank's a T) and then blow two turns trying FRAGILe(S) and FRAGILe(R). I should have known the second was bad after he challenged off the first and played an R in the triple lane. Finally get down GnARLIe(R), should've played GLAIRie(R), though becuase he may have challenged that. End up with the wrong tiles at the end, lose 382-393.

Third game: Start out with TENOURS hooking to his SQUAB, which was interesting because it was more points than TONSURE(S) down from the triple word and OUTE(A)RNS as a 2x2. Rather than losing this game by playing phonies, I lose it by not challenging them. I held both mOLTaGE* and TINDER(ER)S* but let them stay. With the first one, he had so many other viable options, I didn't see why he'd try a phony, and the second one just looked too plausible. Adding INTERRED and TRENDIER to the cardbox now. Mike knows a lot of words, so it's always tough figuring out when he's guessing, playing an intentional phony, or playing a good word. Lose 338-413.

Other misses:
-BDEEIRU through an R (I looked for this for a while, came very close to seeing it, somehow still missed it.)

-Had ADEIIOT with an N on the board, so of course he played through it.

-Didn't know the hook to RUBE other than S.

-Missed ECHILSV through an E (was focused on the T in the triple lane which opened up. Grrr.)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

B is for BINGO!

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week...actually it's Thursday eve as I post this! Where does the week go?



When I say 'bingo', I'm not talking about the popular game of chance often found in church meeting halls. A bingo, in scrabble, is when a player is able to use all of their tiles in one turn, for which they are awarded an additional 50 points. It may not surprise you to know that in most cases, the player who is able to 'bingo' the most in a game is the player who will win. Better players are able to bingo an average of 2 or more times per game. In a recent record-breaking game, a player actually played all his tiles in 8 out of 9 of his turns! 


For most casual players, though, the idea of playing all of one's tiles seems like an unreachable goal. Fear not, though, it's not as difficult as you might think! Here's a few tips for getting there:


1. Start out with the assumption that there may actually be a word contained on your rack. The first hurdle to get over is to even look for longer words- there are plenty of ordinary words that you may not ever see, simply because you didn't try. Add to that the open letters on the board with which to play through, and there are unlimited possibilities. 


2. Look for common letter combinations. The most obvious of these is if you have ING on your rack. There are 3,628 ING words alone (made of 7 or 8 letters, and good in scrabble), so chances are you may be able to spot one. There are plenty other common 2 and 3 letter combos, which I'm sure you can figure out.


3. Balance your rack.  Balancing your rack means keeping a good blend of consonants and vowels, and not keeping too many high point tiles at once. The better you get at doing this, the more often you'll be able to bingo. I'll talk more about this in a future post.


4. Study words! Ok, most people may not be at the point where they're actually going to learn new words for the sake of playing scrabble. If you aren't there, you may just find it fun to write down all the letters from each turn and then after you play, use an anagram generator (a website that will find words for you) to look and see if you missed anything. If you are ready to study words for the sake of scrabble, you can do a search for 'high probability bingos' and find dozens of lists to start learning. The top of most of these lists will feature words that can be formed from the letters AEISNT or AEIRST.  
       


I'm going to close out with a few examples of bingos- click on the links below and see if you can find the answers before hitting the 'Forward' button.


Example 1

Example 2

Example 3