Triple Word Score. Again and again.
August 24, 2005 9:52 PM   Subscribe

A 14-letter word on a 15-row Scrabble board, and other adventures at the 2005 National Scrabble Championship. Check out the final board and try putting some of those words into sentences.
posted by icontemplate (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
KEETS? I call bullshit.
posted by H. Roark at 10:00 PM on August 24, 2005

KEETS? I call bullshit.

Apparently so does the OED. It's only listed as an abbreviation of parakeet, and it starts with an apostrophe. I didn't think that was allowable in scrabble.
posted by sanko at 10:07 PM on August 24, 2005

Fooey on the OED. You gotta check the Official Scrabble Dictionary.
posted by ColdChef at 10:11 PM on August 24, 2005

keet keets \ n pl. -S a young guinea fowl

From Hasbro's Scrabble dictionary tool online, based on Mirriam-Webster's Scrabble Dictionary, 3rd edition.
posted by icontemplate at 10:13 PM on August 24, 2005

posted by sdrawkcab at 10:19 PM on August 24, 2005

A friend of mine once told me about a famous tournament-winning scrabble board that included the word "DARKIES" -- apparently a recognized Scrabble word. When the board was posted for view, like this, the offensive word was replaced with something else -- such that all the tiles on the board didn't work out in a full Scrabble set. People cried foul, and then the winner's... interesting word choice... had to be made public.

My friend was telling me about this at a wedding, right as the wedding videographer was coming by with the camcorder. Ah, uncomfortable squirms all around!
posted by gurple at 10:45 PM on August 24, 2005

anyone have Scrabble Complete? Lets play online! TCPIP!
posted by Satapher at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2005

Man I love Scrabble.

I used to play a lot with friends and for a while online at a Romanian website. It was there that I played my Best. Game. Evar.

I took a snapshot of the screen. Wish I had a way to post it here. Scored 203 points on one word and went on to win the game 576 to 341.

Yay me! Yay Scrabble!
posted by trip and a half at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2005

I loved the documentary Word Wars, and I'm thrilled to see that "G.I. Joel" was there!
posted by krix at 10:57 PM on August 24, 2005

omg, that Craziest video is nuts
posted by Satapher at 11:03 PM on August 24, 2005

Word Freak is, of course, the predecessor to the docu, and a pretty good read if you're into that kind of thing, too.
posted by trip and a half at 11:05 PM on August 24, 2005

ok, gotta tell of my best game ever...
my opponent (ok, my mom) made a vertical word beginning with the letter N, two squares from the top left corner.
i came back with CONQUEST across both triple word scores, with the Q on the double letter score!
29 x 9 + 50 = 311 points!
game total was about 870 points.
posted by Silky Slim at 11:34 PM on August 24, 2005

holy god!
just watched the "craziest" video... i had no idea!
did i equal the best play in the history of scrabble?!!?
posted by Silky Slim at 11:51 PM on August 24, 2005

bettered it even... "conquest" is much more elegant, no?
posted by Silky Slim at 11:52 PM on August 24, 2005

according to wikipedia...
Highest single play (OSPD) BRAZIERS, 311 by T. A. Sanders (TX) 1997.
posted by Silky Slim at 11:56 PM on August 24, 2005

btw, in the final board linked above, why does the first word get 72 points? i count 66.
posted by Silky Slim at 12:02 AM on August 25, 2005

They do say that the players "agreed on the incorrect score", so I guess mistakes were made...
posted by benzo8 at 12:18 AM on August 25, 2005

try putting some of those words into sentences

"Hello," said the Unicorn to the Sujjayakorn.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:16 AM on August 25, 2005

Great post thanks icontemplate. I love love love scrabble but it will always be because of the language skills above the strategy (not to say that I'm not a point-slut though). I've had about 3 favourite opponents with whom I compiled a short list of acceptable 2-letter words and came to agreement about what common usage or pseudo-foreign words are allowed (and usually on-the-go). OED 4th Ed. at hand which can be used whenever (I don't like scrabble dictionaries --- many of the words aren't, in 'my book').

Gentleman's rules in other words (although all 3 were women, but you get the drift). I think I've only ever got over 300 points about a dozen times so seeing those American finalists with 420+ averages is surreal. But I do very much relate to the ultimate in C R A Z I E S T (great video by the way, thanks sdrawkcab) because it has panache, luck and strategy, but is not so esoteric as to be beyond belief. I'm nearly motivated to try it online now. There are lots of sites.
posted by peacay at 1:40 AM on August 25, 2005

Interesting bit of trivia: the guy from Starbucks Everywhere is also a Scrabble player, and he competed in this year's NSC.
posted by emmastory at 3:17 AM on August 25, 2005

btw, in the final board linked above, why does the first word get 72 points? i count 66.

The M is on a double letter score, which is then doubled again by the double word score at the end? (1+1+1+1+ (3x2)+1)x2 Plus 50 for the 7 letter, as you already know. From memory I thought it was actually a triple letter but its been a while, and the double letter gives the 72 score.
posted by biffa at 3:44 AM on August 25, 2005

The 467-388 game was much closer than that; Dave actually led until the final turn, when Panupol was able to use all his useful letters to make an eight-letter word, SABERING, for 86 points and the victory. Dave was left staring at a D, three I's, two O's and a T.

Poor guy's final (losing) play would've been IDIOT.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 4:40 AM on August 25, 2005

You can play online (free) at My rating is pathetic, but it's good fun.
posted by mosch at 4:46 AM on August 25, 2005

biffa - of course! thanks for that.
posted by Silky Slim at 5:44 AM on August 25, 2005

try putting some of those words into sentences

"Yo! Grape Alan?"
posted by jonvaughan at 5:44 AM on August 25, 2005

Give trigs a chufa, Rax.
posted by Edible Energy at 6:07 AM on August 25, 2005

Cool post. I can't wait to watch CRAZIEST.
posted by OmieWise at 6:08 AM on August 25, 2005

In terms of pure bragadoccio and panache, I'll always be proudest of the time that I was kicking butt already in a game, leading my opponent to remark, "Maybe He can help me," as she played GOD. Without missing a beat, I replied "Your god can't help you now," and placed QUIZ on a triple word score.

I can be a real asshole sometimes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:46 AM on August 25, 2005

I'm with H Roark and Sanko...tav/dexy/howfs/keets/alan are not words...I don't care that the scrabble dictionary people created them for the express purpose of making scrabble easier. In fact, bo/jole/un/qat are barely words and I have my doubts about endostea. My wife and I have been having this fight for years...she figures if its in the scrabble dictionary its a word...I argue that if its not in OED its not a word. So she uses words like "tav" and I usually lose but claim the moral high ground by never using a word that I can't define at least loosely. Part of the game of scrabble consists of trying to sneak a word by your opponent that is close enough to being real to prevent them from risking a challenge, but I find it frustrating that so many words on those final boards are just made up words that somebody stuffed into the scrabble dictionary.
posted by cyclopz at 6:53 AM on August 25, 2005

Maybe Hasbro have too much power.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:29 AM on August 25, 2005

cyclops: The first rule in Scrabble is that players must select and agree upon the dictionary to be used.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:08 AM on August 25, 2005

cyclopz and I are together on the moral high ground. There's no point in playing against someone who memorizes the Scrabble dictionary. Call me naive, but I like to play Scrabble using my own vocabulary, NOT using words I have never used myself, words I have never read in a book and can't use in a sentence.
The so-called Scrabble "Dictionary" is indeed full of words that are not used in the English language but make playing Scrabble easier. QAT is my favorite example- it's an alternate spelling for an African bush. Of course, the only reason they include this "word" in the Scrabble dictionary is because you can use your Q tile without a U tile.
posted by Lord Kinbote at 8:15 AM on August 25, 2005

The first rule in Scrabble is that players must select and agree upon the dictionary to be used. - StickyCarpet

I thought the first rule of Scrabble was that you make a predictable Fight Club reference to it.
posted by knave at 8:19 AM on August 25, 2005

Incidentally, you can play Scrabble any time you like (mostly against lonely housewives, I've noticed) at And hey, if you want to cheat, use's own Word Builder.
posted by sdrawkcab at 8:27 AM on August 25, 2005

ahh, lonely housewives here i come
posted by Satapher at 8:39 AM on August 25, 2005

Craziest is the bomb.
posted by OmieWise at 9:05 AM on August 25, 2005

Craziest is a warning
posted by Satapher at 9:19 AM on August 25, 2005

Cyclopz: I argue that if its not in OED its not a word.

Well, you're inarguably, conclusively, and completely wrong on that count. Buy your wife a car or fir coat (pine needles are an insulator, don't you know).

The OED's update cycle is so slow that many words appear, are used for decades, and then recede into history before the OED editors get to defining them. Plus, its editorial policies have been to not include much slang, many technical and jargon words, and millions of chemical compounds. That's all besides the number of new meanings for existing words that it has yet to record. I agree very much that it is the best dictionary in any language so far, but it is by no means all-inclusive yet.

Also, just because you haven't heard of a word doesn't mean it's not a word. Maybe you're being facetious; if so, that's not clear. Most words are new to most people most of the time, even words with hundreds of years of history behind them. Qat is indeed a word: I've seen the plant it denotes.

Peacay: there's no such thing as the "OED 4th ed." They're still working on the third edition now. Did you mean ODE, the Oxford Dictionary of English? If so, it's a different beast, with a different editorial staff, different editorial policies, and differently derived content.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:13 AM on August 25, 2005

Yes, I realize that pine trees are not firs, but then the gag doesn't work.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:16 AM on August 25, 2005

I'm reading Word Freak right now, coincidentally.

One of the interesting things about the way that Scrabble is viewed in competitive play (or at least I gather from the book so far) is that it seems like much more of an abstract, mathematically-based game, with a very complex ruleset. While a garden-variety Scrabble player might say that a rule of the game is that "words I can define and use in a sentence are legal plays" (for example), a competitive player sees every word in the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary as governed by a separate rule (that is, for any given word in the OSPD, there is a rule that states that "[word] is a legal play"). It's a small but important difference. The result is that the OSPD isn't a dictionary as we usually think of it--it's a long list of rules for competitive play. So from a competitive player's point of view, the seeming arbitrariness of many words in the OSPD presumably doesn't matter much, since none of the words have meanings anyway (for the purposes of the game).

It follows that in competitive play, the winning player is likely to be the one who has the greatest comprehension of the game's rules--hence all the memorization. It's the complete opposite of something like go, in which the rules can be understood in five minutes, but the implications of the rules are what lend the game its richness.
posted by Prospero at 11:55 AM on August 25, 2005

what if you agree on a dictionary that utilizes mountweazels? do they count?
posted by carsonb at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2005

"The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English 4th Ed. 1951 (reprinted)" University Press, Oxford.

I'll take your word for it Mo Nickels but where I come from we tend to use 'OED' as shorthand for all lexicographical works from Oxford University, with reference to title/edition/year as necessary. The 4th Ed. is a perfect hand/desk/scrabble size, particularly for those of us who like to play scrabble seriously for fun, with our slightly modified rules.
posted by peacay at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2005

great article!
posted by jann at 1:14 PM on August 25, 2005

stickycarpet...are you married? Either way, you should know that compromise is much more likely than agreement. ;)

mo nickels...I accept your point on the OED but thats not the issue with the most egregious scrabble words...also, I was being somewhat facetious but don't underestimate my vocabulary. /facetious

Finally, prospero's post puts an interesting spin on tournament play, but it's not going to get my wife off the hook...she will be stuck with my moral superiority and I will continue to lose.
posted by cyclopz at 3:15 PM on August 25, 2005

i grew up in the city where Hasbro is headquartered.

i've always loved palying scrabble. i have a regular opponent but he lives on the west coast now. the last time we played, just last month, he used all 7 letters 3 times and i used all 7 letters once in the same game! i'm sure he won as he usually kicks my ass (but sometimes i do win).
posted by brandz at 6:32 PM on August 25, 2005

Scrabble story: I live in Jackson Heights, Queens. At 81st Street and 35th Ave, I noticed the sign is spelled out "35TH AVENUE" which in NY, is unusual. Then I noticed that beneath each letter is the letter's Scrabble score (1,4,1,4,1,1,1,1). After checking around, turns out: the church on the corner is where the game of Scrabble was developed by a guy named Alfred Butts as a game called "Criss Cross Words." Cool, I thought.
posted by fungible at 7:04 PM on August 25, 2005 [1 favorite]

posted by huzzahhuzzah at 7:18 PM on August 25, 2005

I got bored one day, and the highest-scoring word I could conceive of would be Q U I Z Z E R S, stretching from one triple word score to another. The U, I, E, or R would have to be present already, the second Z played with a blank (the first has to go on the double-letter score). 365 points.

I love Scrabble.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:59 PM on August 25, 2005

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