You may have noticed, we’ve had some bad weather of late. Ice on the roads here in Georgia, and worse, God bless you people up North. So I have entertained myself and tried to keep my brain from atrophying by playing a lot of Scrabble on my I-pad. I have an app and I play against the computer using the teacher mode, which tells me how dumb I am when I make a three letter word worth five points when obviously there’s a bingo word* for 78 or 90 or a gagillion points out there. I figure I’ll learn something that will up my game when I play against real people so, as humbling as it is, I take the negative abuse, in the unrealistic hope that I will remember that word, if those seven letters ever magically appear on my board again.
Anyway, with this practice I have grown suspicious that my opponent is cheating and there is not even one Scrabble policeperson out there in cyberspace to arrest him, insist that he forfeit the game we are currently playing or, at the very least take away his points for that round. I often check with my Dictionary app, but it is apparently in cahoots with the scoundrel because more often than not, it agrees that whatever the word in question is, it is really a word. To be fair, sometimes it gives a clue that, though it is a word, it is of foreign origin or is the name of a letter from some ancient, long-gone society, or spelled the way those folks across the pond spell it.
So I’m thinking, there are rules, Cheater! I decided to look them up, just to be sure I am not accusing an innocent computer genius, who is obviously Watson’s http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/ baby brother, unjustly. I found this official Hasbro Site: http://www.hasbro.com/scrabble/en_US/ . Ah-ha! I thought! I’ll show you, whoever you are. I was ready with some of the offending words from my most recent game this morning: jole, Joe, tokay, and of course, qis. Surely at least one of these is against the rules.
This site has a word tester: http://www.hasbro.com/scrabble-2/en_US/search.cfm – dictionary You plug in the word and it will tell you if it is an officially-accepted, fair word in Scrabbledom. So I plugged in every one of those words I just listed above.
Are you kidding me, Hasbro Scrabble Dictionary, Joe is fair? Yep, it means fellow and joes is plural so you can have as many fellows as you want. Well, what about jole? Uhhuh, it means jowl. Now, isn’t that just bad spelling? Who spells it that way? It doesn’t really say, but it does tell you it is worth 11 points, even if it’s not plural (joles) or on a triple word score or any fancy upgraded space. In fact, all the words in question today are real words. Tokay (12 points) is a Malaysian gecko and qis is the “VITAL FORCE THAT IN CHINESE THOUGHT IS INHERENT IN ALL THINGS. RELATED WORDS: QI.” Also 12 points.
So I guess, except for maybe jole, which I still have doubts about, Watson’s cousin isn’t cheating on me after all. But he’d better be on his cyber toes! I’ll be watching him!!!
p.s. By the way, gagillion is not a word, don’t use it in a scrabble game even if you think it will get you a thousand points on a triple word score. I’ve heard it a gagillion times in my life, but it is not a word.
Somebody needs to update their dictionary!
*word using all seven letters at once—something I didn’t even know about before playing on my app.