Monday 20 August 2007

Surely it's a Sport?

It's all been a bit literary round these parts of late, and I've even been lured into the twenty-first century, so it's time to mention something a bit more quotidian and old-fashioned.

I do like Scrabble. When board games are concerned, it's always the simplest which are the best - when you don't have to be rifling through the rulebook every few minutes, or remembering that you can't take contraband substances onto blue squares when travelling back to the moon (points for anyone outside The Clan who recognises that game?) We had a game called Investor once, and each go took about ten minutes of mathematical calculations. Our family isn't adverse to maths (two of 'em have degrees in it) but...

Sometimes we play Scrabble because it's the only board game Our Vicar isn't guaranteed to win. In the dozens of times we've played Trivial Pursuit, for instance, I can remember him only twice not winning. Sometimes Our Vicar's Wife, The Carbon Copy and I team up against him; we still lose.

When playing Scrabble, I tend to go for words which are nice, or form pleasant cubes of words on the board. I become increasingly irascible as the Carbon Copy places 'words' like 'yep', 'hi', 'oh', 'qi', 'mo'... he'll probably try to defend his actions in the comments, but I maintain that Scrabble should be played for the beauty of the language, not to use lots of two-letter-words which would be employed in no other context. The difference between an English student and a Mathematician, I suppose...

Any more aficionados out there?


  1. Confession. As far as I know I have never knowingly played Scrabble. It appeals to the word lover in me but it also has mathematical tendencies.
    I suppose it is like doing an anagram but not knowing for sure if there is an answer there. I can only do anagrams and in fact any crossword clued if I write them out HORIZONTALLY. Probably means I don't have a three dimensional brain.
    It surprises me that my husband is so good at cryptic crosswords as i wouldn't have described him as wordy but I suspect it is the logic ality of it that enables him to succeed. He nearly always manages to finish the cryptic crossword on his way home but occasionally has to ask me for help to dig out one little piece of the equation that evades him. We make a good team. We also make a good team on University Challenge much more well-balnced than the real teams. Throw in our children with their sport and musc knowledge and we are unbeatable especially when I employ my method of dealing with scientific questions. I just pick some loosely-connected answer e.g "zinc" and yell it out as the answer to every question. It's anmazing how successful I am.

  2. Yes I love Scrabble, but sadly do not play it as much as I used to. I remember the thrill when I got my first 50-point bonus; since this is a rare event it still gives me a good feeling even now. I have occasionally played the game in French (with French letter distribution), but sadly my linguistic ability is such that words such as vous, non and fou are more likely than words like fraisure to be placed on the board.

  3. You should get Equate - its Scrabble with equations! We played it with some Keblites at Ed's house the other day - amazing. I came second :) I don't know enough words for real Scrabble...

  4. I'm playing 4 games via Facebook at the moment....

  5. I love Scrabble - I remember once getting the word SQUIRREL out over a triple triple score of something and ended up with about 197 never done it since

    I also love playing Bookwork on the computer, amazing the words you can come up with that you never knew existed

    anybody know what a TUI is?

  6. Tui is a bird endemic to New Zealand. It is one of the Honeyeater family. There is a nice picture of it here

  7. As regards your post title, there's a very good rule of thumb - if the contestants are fitter than the spectators then it's a sport, otherwise it's a game. So all we have to do to determine this is wait until Scrabble gets televised.

    Oh dear.

  8. Love Scrabble, love your blog... have added you to my blog roll!

  9. Love Scrabble - haven't played it in a long time, though. I've always been a "word" person - loved word games - was practically addicted to crosswords til the one I've done for so many years lost its challenge for me. Since last Fall it's Sudoku that takes my time - can't turn out the light until I absolutely cannot focus on the page anymore. When I wake, I pick up right where I left off (I'm retired, you see, and that means I do not have to get up til I want to). Numbers are not my thing - but when I stop to think about it I realize I have had a bit of a fascination with them, with the patterns that begin to show. I'm afraid that it's cut into my reading in that I have no eyesight or focus left for a book which is terrible. There are stacks of books around me - books I've picked out that I want to read (bought two more today) but just can't give up the puzzle.

  10. Glad you are bigging up the George-Thomas Principles of Moral Scrabble Playing to the world at large.
    Mel x


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