Scrabble isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, a lot of people can’t stand it. Then there’s the other half of the population who delight in using obscure two-letter words, hogging all the triple word score squares and whooping with joy when they make a seven-letter word.
Love it or hate it, Scrabble has been around for a long time, and 13 April is National Scrabble Day (yes, this is actually a real thing).
Read on for some Scrabble facts you never knew you needed to know.
Scrabble was invented in 1938 by an architect called Alfred Mosher Butts. He originally called it Lexico. Ten years later, a friend and fellow inventor, James Brunot, bought the rights to the game and renamed it ‘Scrabble’. He started to manufacture it professionally, and a few years later, it was ordered by Macy’s – one of America’s biggest retailers.
What’s the highest-scoring word?
The highest-scoring word in Scrabble is ‘muzjiks’ and means Russian peasants. It’s 29 points for the word alone, with a 50-point bonus because it’s seven letters long (also known as a bingo). If the ‘z’ is placed on a double letter square (scoring 20), then you’re looking at a whopping 128 points for one word. (Instead of the three points you normally score for words like ‘run’, ‘fun’ and ‘sit’.)
The most important word
Apparently, professional players think that ‘qi’ is the most important word you can know to be a Scrabble champion. It means ‘life force’ in Chinese and can also be plural. Stick it on a triple word score and you’re looking at 33 points.
Other little-known words that score well include ‘qat’, ‘xi’, ‘za’ and ‘xu’.
Professional Scrabble tournaments are a big deal, and this year’s world championships will be held in Las Vegas. With prizes worth thousands of dollars, you can understand why people are keen to take part. But some of the players don’t always play fair, and there have been a fair few cheating scandals revealed in the last few years. People have been caught with pockets full of blank tiles, sneakily trying to put tiles back into the letter bag and making up words that go unchallenged.
The fastest ever professional game was back in 1978 – the players took just seven minutes to use all the tiles!
While the board game is still a classic, many people get their daily fix of word-building from online versions. In fact, Words With Friends, which has been around since 2009, has recorded almost 10 million downloads and is very similar to the Hasbro classic.
Are you a Scrabble master? What’s your highest score?