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Ten Best Scrabble Words

by Amy Kingsley

Flattery

Tom Lipscomb Team

Reading Connections’ annual Scrabble Challenge provides an opportunity for local logophiles to gather for a convivial evening of board gaming that raises money for adult literacy programs in Guilford County. The leader of this eponymous team and his cohorts Dave and Simone were trailing in the first round until they pulled out this bingo play which, coupled with bonus word and letter scores, boosted their total 95 points. They rode “flattery” to ultimate victory in the team category.

Suq

Pace Communications 1

Employees of Pace Communications populated both sides of table three and were not shy about purchasing help from members of the Winston-Salem Scrabble Club on hand to judge and offer expert advice. A “suq” (also spelled souk) is a bazaar or commercial quarter in an Arab city. It is also the only valid word spelled with the letters Q, U and S. Judge Will Cooper sold this to the team of Britta Waller, Waynette Goodson and Sheri Masters.

Ovine

Friends

Lindsay Loflin, Ana Hontanilla and Jeff Curran saw a promotion for the Scrabble Challenge on TV and decided to enter; the contest is the first any of them have attended. Loflin is an avid online player, responsible for this doozy that means “of or pertaining to, or characteristic of a sheep or sheep.” Both Curran and Hontanilla were relative newcomers, having only played Scrabble once before.

Amniotes

Pace Communications 2

Another purchased word, this time courtesy of judge Maria Mason, “amniotes” is biological in meaning: A group of vertebrates that have an amnion during embryonic development. They comprise mammals, birds, and various other groups collectively referred to as reptiles. The ten bucks Lance Elko and Julie Moore spent on this clue arguably went further than their colleagues/opponents. With this bingo, Elko and Moore walloped Waller, Goodson and Masters in the second round.

Fowling

Three G’s

This team of original Scrabble gangstas bingoed right out of the gate in the second round with “fowling,” a word that refers to the hunting of fowl for meat or feathers. Gina Moss, Gail Bretan and Gina Pennington earned 86 points for “fowling” and another 98 for “estates” played on a triple-word-tile. Moss, with a grand total of 700 points, took home the gold in the individual category. “Gina is really smart,” said Bretan, her teammate and neighbor.

Quest, Sense

Hippie and Friends

Nothing flashy about this play, just good, solid strategy that caught the eye of judge Susan Bertoni and earned the men of table eight many Scrabble points. A player who wished to be identified only as Hippie teamed up with longtime friends Evan Frisby (AKA Intern) and Patrick Ferguson (AKA Stew Ferg). Hippie, who was celebrating his birthday, had this to say about the evening: “They set me up! Rather than taking me to a nudie bar, they took me to a Scrabble tournament.”

Azon

Table Seven

Competitive Scrabblers have long engaged in the memorization of two, three and four letter words as a form of mental conditioning. Players who can use the words in a game are a dime-a-dozen, but those who can provide a definition are a bit more rare. Judge Nick Coffey belongs in the latter category. When he saw my list, he immediately supplied a definition of this word plucked from the board at table seven. “azon” – The world’s first smart bomb, operated by remote control.

Fice

Table Nine

I noticed this unusual word on the board at table nine, a group I never did get around to talking to. “fice” is derived from the word “feist,” according to the computer dictionary, and refers to a nervous, belligerent little mongrel dog. Well played, table nine, well played.

Mailings

Friends

Sure, we all know what “mailings” are, but that doesn’t diminish this bingo achievement over at table fifteen. But since I don’t need to define this one, I’ll take the opportunity to shill for the Winston-Salem Scrabble Club. Members Will Cooper, Maria Mason, Nick Coffey and Susan Bertoni pointed me to most of the words on this list. They play every Tuesday at the Barnes and Noble in Winston-Salem; if you are interested in participating, e-mail Susan at sbertoni@triad.rr.com.

Qat

Friends

Another word derived from Arabic. Another good score for Loflin, Hontanilla and Curran at table fifteen. “qat,” which has a number of alternate spellings, “kat” being the most common, and refers to a type of tea indigenous to North Africa and the Middle East. More specifically, “qat” is the leaves of the shrub Catha edulis that are chewed like tobacco or used to make tea; has the effect of a euphoric stimulant.

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