Clearwater Record-Ewing News

I select seven tiles from the lid of a box, arrange them on the wooden rack in specific order. Vowels first, then consonants, each grouping in alphabetical order.

It’s easier to create words that way. Well, at least it is for someone who crafts letters into conversation every waking minute. 

I place the first word on the Scrabble board: “Zaire.”

“Nope. Can’t play a proper noun,” a cousin tells me.

“Money isn’t a proper noun,” I retort.

Another cousin informs, “Can’t play it. Used to be the name of what is now known as the Congo.”

I explain it was a form of money from the former country, that 100 makuta equal one zaire.

“Grab the Scrabble dictionary,” one of the cousins responds. 

All this hassle for a 24-point play?

Our family thrives on wordplay, especially games that rely on creativity and craftiness. It’s one of our favorite activities at family gatherings. 

Add a little wine to game time and the possibility of questioning specific words increases.

It’s alright. Some cousins are walking dictionaries, walking Scrabble dictionaries, that is. We, -er, they, boast knowing every one of the 100,000 entries, ranging from two- to eight-letter words.

Ew.

Wait a minute.

That word wasn’t acceptable until Monday, when Merriam-Webster added more than 300 words to the official Scrabble dictionary.

Ok.

Hold on.

I can hear my cousin, Ryan. “You can’t play “ok” because the word is comprised of two capital letters.”

Newsflash: Yes. I. Can.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary features a lowercase version of the two-letter word, so plop that ‘K’ on a turquoise triple letter score.

That’s worth 15 points, in case you’re not a Scrabble fanatic.

I’m also going try to score major points with “bizjet,” “qapik,” “twerk” and “zomboid.”

All are now Scrabble-official. 

At least that’s what my “bestie” tells.

Heck, if I can make “bizjet” a plural, that’s potentially worth 120 points, if I play all seven tiles.

A few years ago, while I recuperated from surgery, Scott volunteered (read: I strongly suggested) to playing a nightly round of my favorite board game.

He insisted it wouldn’t be fair, that he wouldn’t want to take advantage of my weakened state.

Game on.

The first round went fairly fast and was evenly matched.

“Quit sandbagging,” he jokingly told me. “Let’s play one more round.”

So I did what any good wife would do.

I pounced on his good-natured and caring generosity.

Seventy-seven points on my first play, another sixty-some on the second. 

Then, I handed him the Scrabble dictionary.

“In case you need a little assistance,” I suggested.

Who wears the Scrabble pants in our family?

She’s writing this column, that’s who.

“Ha.” (That’s 12 points if you build the word on a pink square.)

I’m not sure how adding pop culture words will affect my play. To maximize point totals, it will require strategy.

And a new Scrabble dictionary. 

“Yowza.” (Twenty points.)

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