I’ve been playing Scrabble since I was a little kid. My grandmother, a Scrabble queen, always had her board out by the pool. Summer days in San Diego were spent in her backyard, with our warm skin smelling of chlorine and Coppertone, eating nectarine cobbler right out of the oven, and communing with those little smooth tiles made of pine that we’d move about with pruned fingertips that had been in the water too long.
It amazes me – all these years later – that she stooped to play with us and our impoverished vocabulary. We got smarter, of course, as the years went by. But there were a lot of summers my grandmother was forced to play off words like hat, toe, and bun. My sisters and I had no idea you could play ZA and QI and XU and get away with it. Grammary probably did but she never slapped down any of those words. She played it our way, bless her heart.
Now you can play Scrabble just about anywhere – I see the board on people’s smart phones all the time – and no one has to worry about those slippery tiles sliding off into gibberish when someone bumps the board. There is no board to bump. There are even apps and websites that will keep track of your game and tell you what word to play – I refuse to use those. Scrabble is cool again.
I play Facebook Scrabble with my mom and sisters, my daughter, a very good friend and writing colleague and not looking for more games to play, but I DO have a little list of words I am longing to plunk down – on good Scrabble real estate of course. Here’s my list:
Phlox – Love the flower, love the word in all its Seussian sass. Would bring in some good points if played well, too. I won’t lay it down without a double-word score at least.
Moxie – Okay, so yes, I like the letter X. But isn’t this a great word for verve? You don’t see moxie much these days. It has morphed into snark – also a good word. But not sure if it’s in the dictionary yet. Anyone know?
Savvy – Speaking of verve and double Vs (I don’t like to draw a V despite the 4-point value. They are snarky without an E), I would gladly allow the versatile S the start-up to play “savvy” if given the chance, just to plunk down those twin Vs without their Es and tell them to take that. I usually save my S to pluralize a meaty word and create a second meaty plural. But I would give it up to play “savvy.”
Quinoa – I just love that word. I love the way it looks and the way it sounds and I even love the way it tastes. I would play this without prime points if I had all the letters and could just lay it down. And in case you are wondering how to say it, it’s Keen Wha. And it’s yummy with fresh cucumber and Asian ginger salad dressing.
Bucolic – I actually don’t like the sound of this word. It doesn’t sound like what it is and if a word should do anything, it should make us think of what it is. Noodle works for noodles. Tart works for tart. Smooth works for smooth. Vibrant works for vibrant. But bucolic makes me think of vomiting buffalo. And that is NOT what this word means. Still, I would like to play it. Not really sure why. . .
How about you? Got a favorite word you are just dying to play on Scrabble? Do tell. . .