Thursday, October 3, 2013

For Want of an "A"

I haven't played Scrabble for years, and am thus hazy on some of the rules. After all, when I was a kid, nobody cared if you came up with a foreign word, as long as it was in common usage and properly spelled. Post WWII, lots of German, French,  and Italian words were familiar from war movies. Try ciao, herr, blitzkrieg.  Back then "burrito" was not only foreign but exotic. Now it's on every McDonald's menu board. Does that mean it's fair game now?

I had occasion to play Scrabble with Steve and his son Josh last weekend. It's a good thing I'm not that competitive, because Josh had us beat hands down, and Steve... well, let's just say I was dependably last every time. I'd get my new tiles, make sense of them, and watch while one or the other ruined whatever space I had in mind for my play. Even going out first didn't make up for a plethora of short words with few extra points. But still, it was fun, and in good company.

I nearly had my moment of glory. All I needed was a playable "A". My consonants in my rack were M, G, C and N. I also had an A and two Is. There was plenty of room on the left side of the board to make my golden word, either vertically or horizontally. All I needed was that last "A" and I had an 8-letter word and I'd be out. Josh was no help, playing into a small space on the right. Steve didn't help either, providing only consonants, using up a vowel already played. At least he didn't "steal" a playable "A".

In order to win, I had to be what I wanted to play: a "MAGICIAN". Alas, not. All I came up with was the memory of near glory. Points: zero.

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