I'm not a fanatical Scrabble player, although I enjoy a game now and then. Nevertheless, I understand there are some people who live, eat and breathe the game, and regard it as a major - even critical - element of their lives.
For such folks, there's a new book due out next month. It's 'Collins Little Book of 101 Ways to Win at Scrabble' by British Scrabble champion Barry Grossman. The Telegraph has a preview of the British edition.
Barry Grossman, one of the UK's top Scrabble players, has shared some of his best tricks, including how to play a “Benjamin”, the importance of the suffix “ish”, and remembering that some four letter words have no vowels.
In his new book, 101 Ways to Win at Scrabble, the former Countdown winner spells out the secrets to a successful performance, some of which are sure to prompt protests from one’s opponents.
Deploying an ‘x’ with a vowel can bring an easy high score, he notes, adding that ax, ex, ox, xi and xu are all legitimate words.
If you manage to place the ‘x’ on a double- or triple-letter score tile, your opponents will be left trailing, he adds.
While attempts to spell out a person’s name are generally met with cries of foul play, Grossman points out that some are valid words.
“Barry”, meaning a blunder, “danny”, meaning a hand, “gloria”, meaning a halo and “laura”, meaning a type of monastery are among his examples.
A “Benjamin”, meanwhile, is a crafty three-letter extension to the front of a five-letter word. So brick becomes “airbrick” and jumps becomes “outjumps”.
Appending “ish” to the end of existing words can also yield a bumper score, Grossman says, citing “childish”, “warmish” and even “pixyish” among his examples.
There's more at the link.
Rather than conventional Scrabble, I enjoy a variant of the game called Anagrab. I learned it in South Africa. The fun part is that when played by a well-lubricated group of friends, the language tends to deteriorate with every 'grabbed' word as the level in the wine-glasses drops . . .