Saturday, January 17, 2009

Judith Thurman on People You Meet Playing Online Scrabble

I have probably met more interesting strangers playing online Scrabble than I have in a lifetime of travel to exotic places. A Ghanaian taxi-driver from Brooklyn invited me to Prospect Park, where his Scrabble club held weekend tournaments. A tattoo artist in Alberta surprised me, between plays, with her knowledge of Gerard Manley Hopkins. An Oxford don beat me soundly, but so did a used-car salesman. I have played Aussies and New Zealanders (Scrabble is popular in the antipodes), an impertinent prodigy who confessed to being eleven, a cardsharp in Las Vegas, a lawyer in Bangalore who traded places with his wife for the endgame ("She's the family closer," he said), a corgi breeder, and a Jane Austen fan ("elizabennet") who added a few words that Jane never used -- "feeb," "ottar," "vas," and "zineb" -- to my vocabulary.
--p. 29 of Judith Thurman's January 19, 2009 New Yorker article, "Spreading the Word."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might find this game of interest. Hope you will take a look.

Although the scoring system and game play are like Scrabble, the thinking and words played are completely different. Memorizing odd short words is a waste of time.