Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Scrabble Reigns

Aah, Scrabble. The game of kings. Okay, so that's chess, but it *should* be Scrabble.

I am a third-generation Scrabble player. I played with my grandma when I was young, and with my Mom the rest of her life. Right now I am playing a game or two almost every day with Forget-me-not over coffee. Junior Asparagus takes an old set with a few letters missing, and fills the table with three-letter words. Grooming that fifth generation--it's a "good thing."

I own a number of copies of the game. One year, my family bought one, spray-painted the box and the backside of the board gold, and "autographed" it with Grace Livingston Hill's name. The "GLH" edition. A little poetic license there--Scrabble came out in 1948, and Grace died in 1947. I have noticed that the new games seem "cheaper" (what *new thing* isn't more cheaply made than its predecessor?), so I pick up a vintage game whenever I can. That way, if a letter or two is missing, I take it from the game I give to the grandkids. Now I have my Mother's game, possibly one of the originals. Fer sure the rules are--they say No Slang Allowed--new games have no such rule.

Mom and I played a "relaxed" game. We'd pull out our seven letters, and whoever had a better word would go first. 'Long about the third turn in a row you had all vowels, she'd let you put a couple tiles back in the pool, to try to get consonants. Someone tried to tell me once that you could only use the dictionary to challenge a spelling. What is that? Half of the fun of the game is learning new words you didn't even know existed.

A few high points of my career: I hit one of those "double triples"--hitting two red squares on a single turn. Too bad most of the letters were one-pointers; the score was hardly impressive. Joe Hardy decided that a "good" game is one where you hit 300 points; a 400 point games is excellent. I've done that several times. Forget-me-not had one a couple of weeks ago--her score was 135 after three turns, and kept that up the rest of the game. A few weeks ago, I had a seven-letter word for my first turn AND my final turn.

Need a seven-letter word, but have three "i's" on your plate? I played the word "initials" and accomplished that. I love the fact that "raise" means to build up, and "raze" means to tear down. By the way, you can add an "e" to that word--razee: a ship made smaller by the removal of the top deck. (I loved the definition so much that I memorized it.) Also love the word Quire--twenty-four or twenty-five sheets of paper. 24 OR 25? What, did they have an argument about it with international repercussions, so they compromised? It's in the dictionary, folks--look it up.

I am not a "tournament" player; they look 'way too serious, and not like they have fun. Fun is the number one rule. I will have the "ultimate fun" when I am finally able to play my favorite word--oviposit. Haven't accomplished that one, yet. Have played my second-favorite word--husband. (little lovey hearts floating in air while I think about him)

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, Joe Hardy's biggest coup. He played the word "onyx" for ninety points. NINETY points for a four-letter word. I'm telling you, we are Scrabble fiends here...

No comments :