Word Freaks - Three Snippets

I'm really enjoying Word Freak, subtitled "Heartbreak, Truimph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players". I'll probably do a full review when I've finished it, but for now, I thought I'd pass on three items of interest.


The book mentions that one of the Scrabble players had a subscription to Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. Their web site has loads of interesting articles if you are into word puzzles and other aspects of logology.

As you can imagine, professional Scrabble players need to know lots of words. They memorize huge lists. This site can help you. They have several lists. For anybody starting out on the road to living room domination in this game, you should memorize everything on the Big Cheat Sheet (a one-page sheet containing all 2 and 3 letter words, vowel dumps, and short J, X, X, and Z words). Print it out now and laminate it.

Finally, Scrabble players need to be good at anagrams. I blogged about anagrams ten months ago, and included a link to this site. There have been several anagrams mentioned in the book (so far) that impressed me. These include:

  • 11 + 2 = 12 + 1 a.k.a. ELEVEN + TWO = TWELVE + ONE
  • PRESIDENT CLINTON OF THE USA = TO COPULATE HE FINDS INTERNS
  • In the Book of John, Pontius Pilate asks Jesus, "Quid est veritas?" ("What is truth?"). His answer is an anagram "Est vir qui adest" ("It is the man who is before you").
  • The word anagrams itself anagrams to the Latin ars magna or great art.

The book is riddled (no pun intended) with word games, puzzles and facts. I don't find many non-fiction page-turners (recommendations welcome by the way), but this is turning into one.

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