Are you addicted to your Scrabble app?
Are you consumed with trying to figure out a way to get your J on that triple letter square?
Many people are. See your tax dollars at
Hopefully our representatives aren’t as obsessed as professional Scrabble players.
Scrabble may be truly called America’s game. But for every group of “living-room players” there is someone who is “at one with the board.
I picked up a copy of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players. Stefan Fatsis’ book is an utterly entertaining (and occasionally disturbing) look at a very wacky subculture.
As a kid, I loved to play Scrabble. I never knew about the unemployed architect named Alfred M. Butts who designed the game during the Great Depression. This unreservedly brilliant guy combined elements of bingo, checkers, chess, and crosswords.
He studied the front page of the New York Times, determined the rate of occurrence for each letter, then assigned a point value according to frequency of use. I always wondered why there were so many I tiles and E tiles but only one each of Z and Q, those letters non grata.
I started playing Scrabble with my friends in the 1950s.
It’s addictive for logophiles like me. They say you can play 1,000 games of Scrabble and no two will be the same.
Scrabble is everywhere in movies and books. In the comedy/drama Sabrina by Billy Wilder, Scrabble is at its most glamorous. Elizabeth tries to convince David to play. Wearing pearls.
And then there are the ladies from Foul Play (rated PG). Just so you know, in Scrabble, words are simply game pieces. Expert players often know thousands of words for which they do not know ~ nor are they required to know ~ the meaning. As Word Freak author Stefan Fatsis says, in Scrabble, meanings are meaningless.
Did you play when you were a kid?
Do you have a group that you play with now?
I wish I did.