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Spoilt for Choice

If you can fit two or more anagrams on the board, then you can look at other factors to decide which to play. Score: Does one hit a double- or triple-word square, or get a higher-scoring tile on a double- or triple-letter square? Vowel position: Does one put a vowel… Read More

Words from Canada

The Canadians are of a leisurely disposition, going by some of the words they have given to English: BEIGNET a deep-fried pastry BOGAN a sluggish side-stream LOGAN a backwater POUTINE chips topped with curd… Read More

How do you spell that?

Some words can be spelled in so many ways that it’s hard to get them wrong (or right). The small cap worn by Jewish men can be spelt YAMALKA, YAMULKA, YARMELKE, YARMULKA and YARMULKE. Quite why you can’t have, say, a yarmalka… Read More

Anagrams

Anagrams form a big part of the Scrabble player’s armoury. It’s especially useful to know some seven- and eight-letter anagrams. There’s nothing worse than finding a lovely seven- or eight-letter word that doesn’t fit on the board. Knowledge of anagrams may allow you to rearrange your word into something else… Read More

What are Benjamins?

A Benjamin is a three-letter extension to the front of a five-letter word. Quite why it’s called a Benjamin is somewhat lost in the mists of time – possibly after a French player of that name who specialised in playing them. They are particularly useful when the opening move of… Read More

What are premium squares?

If you look at a Scrabble board, you will see some rows and columns have both premium-letter squares and premium-word squares. When a double- or triple-letter square and a double- or triple-word square are three or four spaces apart, you have a chance for a really big score if you… Read More

Opening and closing moves

An important point to grasp in Scrabble is the notion of open moves and closing moves. Sometimes a move will open up an area of the board, making it possible to play a seven- or eight-letter word when it was not possible before. This would be an open move. Other… Read More

Words from Africa

Some very interesting words come from Africa, with all sorts of unusual letter combinations that can be useful in squeezing a high score from a tricky rack. South Africa, whether from Dutch-origin Afrikaans or native African languages, gives us these: NARTJIE a tangerine… Read More

The letter K

The K is a sort of semi-power tile. At five points, it’s not worth as much as the J, Q, X and Z, but it’s worth more than anything else. It appears in four two-letter words, KA (one’s spirit or life force in Ancient Egypt),… Read More