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INGS Words

2010 May 12
by admin

There are 6434 words with 9 or fewer let­ters that end in ING.  How many of these words take an S?  Answer: 897.  In other words, if you see an ING word on the board, and you add an S to it, you’ll have a valid play 13.94% of the time.  Here’s the list:

read more…

IE or Y Words

2010 May 12
by admin

Here’s an inter­est­ing list (all words with 9 or fewer let­ters that, like AUNTIE/AUNTY, end in either IE or Y – there are 204):

read more…

THREES by Category

2010 April 15
by admin

This post is the first of a series of posts for THREES Left (926). Actually, even though I’ve already addressed the THREES JQXZ (89) list, I’m going to pre­tend I haven’t and just start over with the entire list of 1015 three-letter words. I’m not going to approach things alpha­bet­i­cally – instead, at least ini­tially, I’m going to approach this list by cat­e­gory (using cat­e­gories that I’ve made up).  Here’s a link to a com­plete list of three-letter words arranged alpha­bet­i­cally: THREES ALL (1015) Alpha.

First, a bit few bits of trivia about the THREES. 778 of the 1015 words on this list can be formed by adding a let­ter to a two-letter word.  Specifically, 528 words can be formed by adding a let­ter to the left (or front), and 539 words can be formed by adding a let­ter to the right (or back; elim­i­nat­ing dupli­cates yields 778 unique words, given that some three-letter words can be formed either way, e.g. HOS can be formed by either adding an H to OS, or adding an S to HO).  786 of the three-letter words take an S to form an accept­able four-letter word. The first time I looked at this list, I high­lighted all the three-letter words that I either didn’t know or wouldn’t have felt con­fi­dent enough about to play in a com­pet­i­tive Scrabble set­ting – when I fin­ished, I had high­lighted 511 of the 1015 words on the list. read more…

FIVES JQXZ (2 of 7)

2010 April 8
by admin

This is the 2nd of seven planned posts on the FIVES JQXZ (697) list. The first post is here: http://​old​town​scrab​ble​.com/​0​6​/​0​4​/​f​i​v​e​s​-​j​q​x​z​-​1​-​o​f​-7/.  I cov­ered words start­ing with A, B and C in the first post – I’m start­ing with the D words here.

There are some “DE” words here that are fairly easy to remem­ber: DESEX, DETOX, DEWAX.  DEOXY also belongs in this list.  The word DEX (a sul­fate) has a few deriv­a­tives: DEXES, DEXIE, DEXIES.  DIAZO is a tough word to remem­ber – some­how rhyming it with GINZO or GONZO helps.  Here’s a list of words to remember:

–DIT  a dot in Morse code [n –S]
–DITS– DIT, a dot in Morse code [n]
 DITZ– a ditsy per­son [n –ES]
 DITSY– silly, eccen­tric [adj –SIER, –SIEST]
 DITZY– ditsy (silly, eccen­tric) [adj –ZIER, –ZIEST]
 DITSIER  DITSY, silly, eccen­tric [adj]
 DITSIEST  DITSY, silly, eccen­tric [adj]
 DITZIER  DITZY, ditsy (silly, eccen­tric) [adj]
 DITZIEST  DITZY, ditsy (silly, eccen­tric) [adj] read more…

FIVES JQXZ (1 of 7)

2010 April 6
by admin

This list–FIVES JQXZ (697)–is tough.  It’s long, and it’s tough.  There is some good news, though – as words get longer, there are fewer and fewer hooks, so prac­ti­cally any hook is a “sur­prise” hook.  Take a look at the TWOS – there are a total of 1068 hooks from the 101 words on the list (778 unique three-letter words).  That’s more than 10 hooks per two-letter word, on aver­age.  With this list, if you ignore the stan­dard S plural, most words don’t have any hooks.

Where to start?  Well, the let­ter A can be added to words, like BUZZ to make ABUZZ (and that’s the first word on the list) – ADOZE, AFFIX, AGAZE all fol­low the same pat­tern.  And there are quite a few “MIX” words:

MIX– to put together into one mass [v MIXED or MIXT, MIXING, MIXES] : MIXABLE, MIXIBLE [adj], MIXEDLY [adv]

 ADMIX  to mix (to put together into one mass) [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES]
 BEMIX  to mix thor­oughly [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES]
 COMMIX  to mix together [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES]
 IMMIX  to mix in [v –ED, –ING, –ES]
–PREMIX  to mix before use [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES]
 REMIX  MIX, to put together into one mass [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES]
 UNMIX  to sep­a­rate from a mix­ture [v –MIXED or –MIXT, –MIXING, –MIXES] read more…

Tournament Rules

2010 March 31
by admin


The North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA) is the offi­cial orga­ni­za­tion for com­pet­i­tive clubs and tour­na­ments. It was formed in response to Habro’s deci­sion in 2009 to end fund­ing for these activ­i­ties. As of July 1, 2009, a NASPA mem­ber­ship is required to par­tic­i­pate in sanc­tioned tour­na­ments ($30 for a reg­u­lar mem­ber­ship). The NSA now focuses on pro­mot­ing casual play, although it still funds and sup­ports the National School Scrabble Program. Both the Rules Committee and the Dictionary Committee were trans­fered to NASPA.

Here is a link to the “rules” page on the NASAP web­site: http://​www​.scrab​ble​play​ers​.org/​w​/​O​f​f​i​c​i​a​l​_​T​o​u​r​n​a​m​e​n​t​_​R​u​les.

Here are PDFs (the same PDFs that can be down­loaded from the NASPA site) of the Official Tournament Rules and Rule Changes (as of Feb 2, 2010).


1-Page Rule Summary, com­piled by Rebecca Slivka, www​.seat​tle​scrab​ble​.org

The Scrabble Community

2010 March 29
by admin


NSA: The National Scrabble Association (NSA), founded in 1978, is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Hasbro and Scrabble enthu­si­asts. The NSA is respon­si­ble for the National School SCRABBLE Program, SCRABBLE Media Relations, and pub­lishes the SCRABBLE News. The NSA also main­tains a list of casual Scrabble clubs on its web­site (http://​www2​.scrab​ble​-assoc​.com/​C​a​s​u​a​l​C​l​u​b​s​.​asp) and oper­ates an online store of Scrabble mer­chan­dise (www​.wordgear​.com). Membership costs $20 ($25 out­side the U.S. and Canada) and gets you a sub­scrip­tion to the SCRABBLE News. If you are a mem­ber, you can log into the site and access back copies of the SCRABBLE News and some other use­ful PDF doc­u­ments (a glos­sary of com­mon terms, a short his­tory of Scrabble, a tip sheet, etc.). Until July 1, 2009, the sale of pub­li­ca­tions like the OLW2 at www​.wordgear​.com were restricted to NSA mem­bers. read more…

The Official Scrabble Lexicon

2010 March 29
by admin


[Note: Books cited below are linked to Amazon​.com.]

Unlike other games that rely on a fairly sim­ple set of rules that both define and encom­pass the game – like a ship in a bot­tle – Scrabble opens itself up, in a drunken ges­ture, to all the chaos and unruli­ness of lan­guage itself.  Scrabble, in this way, is the oppo­site of chess.  In chess, all pos­si­ble moves, together with all strate­gic pos­si­bil­i­ties, are neatly bounded by a fairly sim­ple set of rules.  Part of the attrac­tion of chess, I believe, is the sense of won­der­ment a player encoun­ters and con­tin­u­ously relives as he or she explores the almost infi­nite cre­ative space gen­er­ated and sus­tained by a set of rules sim­ple enough they can be learned in half an hour.  It’s like dis­cov­er­ing a foot­ball sta­dium inside a Happy Meal box. read more…

Scrabble Bloggers Wanted

2010 March 28
by admin

Scrabble Bloggers Wanted

In addi­tion to com­ments on any/all con­tent, we need posters to:

  1. Post study notes for the word lists on the Word Study page. We need com­men­tary, tips, mneu­mon­ics, and any­thing else that will help read­ers famil­iar­ize them­selves with the words on these lists. The best of these posts will be grouped together and posted as links from the per­ma­nent Word Study. These posts will also be cat­e­go­rized (so that can be pulled up by cat­e­gory using the Category Search tool). read more…


2010 March 28
by admin

This post ref­er­ences Q No QU (22).  This list includes all accept­able Scrabble words that con­tain a Q, but no a QU com­bi­na­tion.  For exam­ple, the word QIVIUT is included on the list because it includes a Q, and although it also includes a U, the U does imme­di­ately fol­low the Q.  The same is true for SUQ, UMIAQ, BUQSHA.

Although the addi­tion of the word QI in the OSPD4 made play­ing the Q eas­ier (and get­ting stuck with the Q in you rack at the end of the game less likely), know­ing these unusual Q words is still valu­able. read more…


2010 March 23
by admin

Here is a link to the THREES JQXZ list: THREES JQXZ (89).

There are 89 words on the list.  The first sur­prise hook is ADZ, which takes an E (ADZE).  The first inter­est­ing word clus­ter is related to the word AXE (and its L hook):

AXAL axial (per­tain­ing to or form­ing an axis) [adj]
AXEL a jump in fig­ure skat­ing [n –S]
AXIAL per­tain­ing to or form­ing an axis [adj] : AXIALLY [adv]
AXIL the angle between the upper side of a leaf and its sup­port­ing stem [n –S]
AXILE axial (per­tain­ing to or form­ing an axis) [adj]
AXLE a shaft upon which a wheel revolves [n –S] : AXLED [adj] 

Basically, every spelling of AXLE you might think of is an accept­able Scrabble play. read more…

TWOS Left — Hooks

2010 March 20
by admin

I used a dif­fer­ent approach (a visu­al­iza­tion exer­cise) in another post as an aid to learn­ing these same words (TWOS ALL (101) Cat).  This time around I’m going to focus on hooks.

Download this table: TWOS Hook Grid FILLED.  In this table, the alpha­bet runs ver­ti­cally down the mid­dle of the page and the 101 two-letter Scrabble words are rep­re­sented as exten­sions or hooks to the left and/or right of each let­ter of the alpha­bet. For exam­ple, twelve of the 101 two-letter words can be formed by adding dif­fer­ent let­ters to the left of the let­ter A – AA, BA, FA, HA, KA, LA, MA, NA, PA, TA, YA, ZA. read more…

TWOS Left — Visual

2010 March 17
by admin

This post ref­er­ences the TWOS ALL (101) Cat file (see the Word Study page, Beginner 1.2).

Two-letter words are as crit­i­cal as a good short game in golf.  It doesn’t mat­ter if you can drive the ball 300+ yards, if you can’t putt, you won’t be com­pet­i­tive.  It’s the same with Scrabble – you may be good as spot­ting bin­gos in your rack, but if you don’t know your two-letter words, you’re not going to get very far.

You need to know, with­out think­ing about it or second-guessing your­self, which two-letter words are accept­able, which two-letter com­bi­na­tions are not (so you can chal­lenge), which two-letter words take an S (impor­tant when you’re look­ing for a hook for a longer word), and which two-letter open­ings you need to be care­ful about open­ing up for your oppo­nent (impor­tant for defen­sive play). read more…


2010 March 15
by admin

Note: The com­ments are about the TWOS JQXZ file (Beginner, 1.1).

The 8 words on this list will yield more ben­e­fit per word that any other list you’ll learn.

The first word is AX.  Here are the hooks:

AXE to ax (to work on with an ax (a type of cut­ting tool)) [v AXED, AXING, AXES]
FAX to trans­mit and repro­duce by elec­tronic means [v –ED, –ING, –ES]
LAX not strict or strin­gent [adj LAXER, LAXEST]; a vowel artic­u­lated with rel­a­tively relaxed mus­cles [n –ES]
MAX to reach the upper limit [v –ED, –ING, –ES]
PAX a cer­e­mo­nial embrace given to sig­nify Christian love and unity [n –ES]
RAX to stretch out [v –ED, –ING, –ES]
SAX a sax­o­phone [n –ES]
TAX to place a tax (a charge imposed by author­ity for pub­lic pur­poses) on [v –ED, –ING, –ES]
WAX to coat with wax (a nat­ural, heat-sensitive sub­stance) [v –ED, –ING, –ES] : WAXABLE [adj]
ZAX a tool for cut­ting roof slates [n –ES] read more…

Score Sheets

2010 March 13
by admin

In com­pet­i­tive Scrabble, both play­ers keep score. Although some play­ers are com­fort­able with a blank sheet of paper, most play­ers pre­fer a preprinted form that, in addi­tion to help­ing them keep score, also makes it eas­ier for them to track tiles, record their own racks, and record the posi­tion of plays to facil­i­tate later game analy­sis. Numerous dif­fer­ent score sheets can be down­loaded from the fol­low­ing club’s web­sites (other sheets can eas­ily be located on other club websites):

Ottawa Scrabble Club, http://​www​.ottawascrab​ble​club​.com/​s​c​o​r​e​s​h​e​e​t​s​.​h​tml
Forest Lake Scrabble, http://​flscrab​ble​.tri​pod​.com/​i​d​2​2​.​h​tml
Los Angeles Scrabble Club, http://​www​.the​scrab​ble​club​.com/​s​c​o​r​e​s​h​e​e​t​s​.​h​tml
Calgary Scrabble Group, http://​www​.cal​gar​y374​.org/​S​c​o​r​e​S​h​e​e​t​s​P​a​g​e​.​php
Seattle Scrabble Club, http://​www​.seat​tle​scrab​ble​.org/​l​i​n​k​s​.​php read more…


2010 March 13
by admin
  • Club Sites

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  • How to Use Word Lists

    2010 March 12
    by admin

    There are 178,691 words in the OWL2-LWL.  If you elim­i­nate words with 9 or more let­ters, the count is reduced to 112,817 (a num­ber that is only slightly less intim­i­dat­ing).  If you assume that deriv­a­tives (plu­rals, ed-ing-s, ier-iest, etc.) expand the lex­i­con by a fac­tor of 3 and that an aver­age indi­vid­ual may know (and be able to con­fi­dently play 1/3) of these words, that still leaves approx­i­mately 27,000 words to learn.

    Three pieces of advice:

    1) Be smart about it.  Some words are more valu­able than oth­ers, so learn the high-payoff words first, then work your way to down to less valu­able vocab­u­larly.  See the Word Study page for a sug­gested study pro­gram and word lists. read more…

    VOWEL DUMPS Short (4 of 4)

    2010 March 12
    by admin

    NOTE: This post relates to the “VOWEL DUMPS Short” (Beg. 1.5) word list or note sheet (see the Word List page).

    This is my fourth post on the VOWEL DUMPS Short word list.  I’m start­ing with word #69 (the first five-letter word on the list) and fin­ish­ing the list out (down to word #89).

    The first word is AALII.  A good asso­ci­a­tion here is AAL (remem­ber, though, AAL is the shrub, add two Is and you get the tree).  Everyone knows ADIEU, but did you know the plural is either ADIEUS or ADIEUX?  AECIUM fol­lows the UM-to-A pat­tern (most of the more well-known UM words both take an S to form the plural and fol­low the UM-to-A pat­tern, but not all UM words – AECIUM, for exam­ple, does NOT take an S (AECIUMS is NOT a word), unlike AQUARIUM that goes to either AQUARIUMS or AQUARIA in the plural. read more…

    VOWEL DUMPS Short (3 of 4)

    2010 March 11
    by admin

    NOTE: This post relates to the “VOWEL DUMPS Short” (Beg. 1.5) word list or note sheet (see the Word List page).

    This is my 3rd post on the VOWEL DUMPS Short list.  I’m start­ing with IDEA (Word #38) – we’ll see how far I get…

    ILEUM and ILIUM are the sin­gu­lar forms of ILEA and ILIA (note the UM changes to an A to form the plu­rals).  These two words have a nice clus­ter of hook words:

    PILEA PILEUM, the top of a bird’s head [n]
    ILEAC per­tain­ing to the ileum [adj]
    ILEAL ileac (per­tain­ing to the ileum) [adj]
    CILIA CILIUM, a short, hair­like pro­jec­tion [n]
    MILIA MILIUM, a small, whitish lump in the skin [n]
    ILIAC per­tain­ing to the ilium [adj]
    ILIAD a long poem [n –S]
    ILIAL iliac (per­tain­ing to the ilium) [adj] read more…

    VOWEL DUMPS Short (2 of 4)

    2010 March 10
    by admin

    NOTE: This post relates to the “VOWEL DUMPS Short” (Beg. 1.5) word list or note sheet (see the Word List page).

    I’m going to start with word 18 and move down the list through word 37 (AMIA through EURO).

    The first two words (AMIA and AMIE) are both hooks from AMI:

    AMI a friend [n –S]

    This matches up well with AMIE (a female friend), so think of adding an A and and E to AMI as a way to get a fish and female com­pan­ion­ship.  Also inter­est­ing here are the four front hooks for these two words:

    LAMIA a female demon (an evil spirit) [n –MIAS or –MIAE]
    ZAMIA a trop­i­cal plant [n –S]
    MAMIE mamey (a trop­i­cal tree) [n –S]
    RAMIE an Asian shrub [n –S]

    Almost hate to acknowl­edge it, but LAMIA can eas­ily be remem­ber by asso­ci­at­ing it with LABIUM/LABIA, ZAMIA is a great Z word (for stretch­ing from a DL to a DW, etc.).  MAMIE and RAMIE just have to get filed in the inter­est­ing “plant” hook cat­e­gory. read more…

    VOWEL DUMPS Short (1 of 4)

    2010 March 9
    by admin

    NOTE: This post relates to the “VOWEL DUMPS Short” (Beg. 1.5) word list or note sheet (see the Word List page).

    The word lists I’ve posted are include inner and outer hooks, def­i­n­i­tions and a col­umn for notes (I refer to these lists as Note Sheets). These sheets are designed to facili­ti­ate famil­iar­iza­tion.  Keep in mind that the real test of whether or not a word has been learned is whether or not you can pick it out of a rack of let­ters (i.e. can you ana­gram it?). More on that later.

    Right now the task at hand to become “famil­iar” with the 89 “short” vowel dumps on the VOWEL DUMP Short list, so here goes. read more…

    The Site Explained

    2010 March 5
    by admin

    I’ve put up a cou­ple pages:

    Lexicon: If you’re curi­ous about what words can be played in com­pet­i­tive Scrabble (and what all the abbre­vi­a­tions mean, like OWL2, OSPD4, etc.), read this page.

    Community: If you want to know about asso­ci­a­tions, clubs, books to read, where to buy cus­tom Scrabble boards, etc., then take a look at this page.

    I’m in the process of putting together a cou­ple more pages (a word list page and a page to blog about learn­ing word lists).


    First Post

    2010 February 10
    by admin

    I’ve set up this site with a few objec­tives in mind (objec­tives that can, I think, be met by a blog):

    • To give the Nacogdoches Scrabble Club (in the process of being formed) a home,
    • To have a place to post word lists and other information,
    • To find a group of peo­ple that are study­ing the same words lists I am (maybe together we can make the process a lit­tle eas­ier and/or a lit­tle more enter­tain­ing), and
    • To find and hang out with (vir­tu­ally, any­way) other peo­ple that enjoy the game of Scrabble enough to want to play it competitively.