Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A is for AA

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...

AA may look like a typing error, but it is actually a word. Pronounced 'ah-ah', it is a type of lava.
This brings up two important topics related to crossing over from becoming a 'living room' player to a competitive scrabble player:
1. Getting past the "that can't be a word because I've never seen it before" syndrome.
This is the most commonly heard sentiment from people who are just starting to play with higher level players. While there are many archaic, scientific, and otherwise unheard-in-normal-conversation words, the basis of their inclusion in the Scrabble dictionary is that they were found in one of the major dictionaries that exist. In fact, there's even a 'dictionary committee' if you'd like to take up a complaint. So just because you've never seen AA (or heard it, for that matter) doesn't mean it isn't a word. Instead of complaining about it, learn it and use it against your next opponent. When your family members decide to stop playing you, you can find plenty of places online that will give you competition.

2. Learning the 2 letter words is the first step to becoming a better scrabble player.

I did a quick search, and this site, while slightly dated, gives a pretty good overview of the 101 'twos'. I've read that learning the twos can actually raise your score by an average of 100 points. Who knows if this is accurate, but you'll definitely be able to play more overlapping words, which is one of the key ways to score more per turn. For example, if your opponent opens up with RETAINS, and you have AAEIMNT on your rack, you could play AMENTIA above it, creating 7 two letter words. Assuming you know the word AMENTIA, that is. Of course, more often it will be finding a spot to hook that last letter in your cool word so that it has a place to go on the board.
OK, here's a few more interesting A words:
lowest probability (7 letters): ASPHYXY asphyxia (unconsciousness caused by lack of oxygen)
longest scrabble word to contain 5 As: ANAGRAMMATICAL (ironically)
other interesting AA words:
BAA (to bleat) and AAL (an east Indian shrub) (good to know after you play AA and want to 'hook' another word to the front or end of it)
AALII a tropical tree
AAHING to exclaim in amazement, joy, or surprise
AARRGHH interjection used to express disgust (also AARGH and AARRGH) These ones come in handy for other reasons, also.


Richard Lawry said...

I like to play words with friends on the i-Phone. I will have to remember aa

An Arkies Musings

Unknown said...

I had no idea that aa was a word : ) Thanks for educating me!

Sylvia K said...

I learn something new every week! And just did again! Fun post for the A Day! Enjoy your week!

ABC Team

Roger Owen Green said...

Gotta say that this is pretty useful stuff, even when NOT playing SCRABBLE!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Cheryl said...

I'm definitely learning some great stuff here for my poor competitors online. Thanks so much for linking up & teaching me ways to squash my friends like little bugs. ^_-

ABC Team

photowannabe said...

Fascinating, especially for my ignorant brain. Thanks for the post and information.

Wanda said...

Well you are starting off Round 8 being the teacher again... and I love being your student, and learning something new each time I visit.

Shooting Parrots said...

Would Baal count, as in the demon?

scrabblepodcast said...

Yes, BAAL is a good word, and would also be a good 'hook' for BAA. Finding words that can continually have one letter added to front or beginning of them can be quite fun, and I'll share some longer ones when we get to H...

Tumblewords: said...

Helpful A post - Hope I can remember a few of these wonderful hints.

jijie said...

I'm your newest follower from ABC-WED, hope you will follow me back here@ Step Up
Take Care

Jijie :)

Lulu Post said...

I love playing scrabble

Visiting from ABC Wednesday. I am your new follower too. I hope you can visit my entry too.
A is for Angels

Unknown said...

There is so much to learn with ABC-wed!
Thank you for sharing!
Best wishes,
Anna's ABC-Wd-A is for Animal-Helpers

Shady Gardener said...

Did you also mention AAAH as you put up your feet? :-) Cute post!