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





but no





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"




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?



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).

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:



just to name a few. 

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







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!