The Scrabble Mafia

My family are Scrabble nuts. There is nothing we like better than to finish off an evening scheming over the triple word score, agonising over too many i’s or hurling insults at each other for ‘not opening up the board!’ My Ouma is 93 years old this year and she is the Scrabble queen. She puts on this convincing little old lady routine, then wipes the floor with us. No one stands a chance.

When I first took my husband (then boyfriend) to meet my family for the first time, I hadn’t warned him of the reverential importance of this game in our household. And he was doing so well. He’d smiled, he’d charmed, he’d even asked for seconds of my mother’s cooking.
Then he agreed to play Scrabble. And he beat us all: me, my dad and even the queen of Scrabble herself.

There was a moment of stunned silence after the scores had been totted up. No one dared believe this newcomer could have had the audacity to beat up a little old lady on her home turf. Despite a careful recount, the fact remained – we’d been thoroughly thrashed.

Now, every time we go home, we’re hardly in the door before Ouma waves her stick at him and demands a rematch. She’s beaten him since then (I think she studies the Scrabble dictionary when she knows we’re due to visit) but I think that first win still irks her.

For other Scrabble nuts out there…here are some interesting facts from The Telegraph website:

1) A Scrabble Championship is one of the only places players aren’t penalised for swearing and inappropriate languages – all words that feature in the official Scrabble dictionary can be played.

2) A resident in a UK old people’s home was thrown out when she admitted she didn’t play Scrabble.

3) A five-year-old boy phoned Leicester police to complain his sister was cheating at Scrabble.

4) Janet Street-Porter once described Scrabble as more addictive than cocaine, champagne and group sex.

5) Underwater Scrabble was played at Portsmouth University on 12 December 1995 in aid of Children In Need. Special laminated boards were used and the tiles had lead weights attached.

Lara Crisp, Managing Editor

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