Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Legend of Scrabble

Posted on December 20, 2010


Let me tell you now the legend of the greatest Scrabble game ever played. Some say the game was a myth. Others say they were there on that fateful subway ride. You may hear tell the game was played by a man and his mobile phone. I say it was played by two giants.

The year was 2010. Right up near the end of it. The outside world was cold, forbidding, no place for man nor beast. But, inside that F train, there was the warmth of battle.

Our hero received his first seven tiles, and there before his eyes laid a bingo—not lined up all in a row, no sir. Jumbled. But his mind was sharp, his courage strong, and he knew all seven letters could be arranged to spell the word “founder.” That’s 12 points, plus one double-letter, all doubled for the first turn, plus 50 points for using every tile. 76 points in one turn. You heard me right—76 points. It was a harbinger of things to come.

What followed was a mad, wild adventure across nine subway stops. Long, impressive words sacrificed without compunction to line up many small words side-by-side. The Z and Q not feared, but welcomed. The letter W placed on a triple-letter square to make not one, but two words. It counted twice, my friends. Twice times three.

Just then, the internal processor of the cell phone began to rile, cutting off entire sections of the board with misplaced Vs. It hounded his every move, placing a J where no J should go. Our hero fought back valiantly, even opening up the board in an act of chivalry.

Did the cell phone respond to this with equal good sportsmanship? No! It warned that the battery was running low. There was no electrical outlet in sight. Worse, our hero’s charging cord was left at work. Unless the game ended soon, all would be lost.

That’s when our hero noticed it. Up there in the corner. He saw not only a bingo, but the greatest bingo of all—a bingo that stretched from one triple-word square to the next. Could he believe his eyes?

His opponent had laid down an L along the edge of the board. There it was, waiting to be set down—the word “relining,” as in “to line again.” They weren’t impressive letters. No, only the G was worth more than a single point on its own. But together, together they reached from corner to mid-board, lining the perimeter like a cavalry cresting the hill. 110 points in a single move. 110 points using simple Es and Ns. It was his final move.

As far as the eye could see, commuters stood from their seats and applauded our hero. Mittens clasped together in rejoice. His fellow travelers wiped tears from their eyes at having witnessed the game. They would go on to tell their children and their grandchildren. Word of his accomplishment spread, and few believed the tale.

But, I know it to be true. I was there that day on that very train. I saw it with these two eyes, and I tell you I will remember that commute to my grave. It was surely the greatest Scrabble game ever played.


Jumble Ball

Posted on July 10, 2010

The rules of Jumble Ball are simple:

The person with the ball is called the Jumbler. He or she approaches the Jumble Line and calls for a Jumble Quorum. This means that each Jumble team votes five of its members into play. (Jumble Teams can be anywhere between 12 and 43 Jumble Players depending on the season and continent.)

When ten players have been voted upon and confirmed into Jumble Play by the Grand Ref Jumble Judge, play is almost ready to begin. Before that can happen though, the Jumble Field must be raked by the official Jumble Raker. He or she uses a regulation Jumble Rake, at least four feet long but never longer than six feet. Jumble Raking is an honor bestowed upon retired Jumble Players who have shown years of sportsmanship in their Jumbling. The Grand Ref Jumble Judge okays the Jumble Raking, and play is ready to begin--just as soon as the Jumble Paint is applied.

Each Jumble Team chooses two colors to paint their faces. If both teams choose the same colors, each team must re-vote. Spirit animals are chosen to represent that particular day's Jumble Teams' unique group attitude. Those animals' faces are then painted over the players' faces.

The Jumble Ball is blessed.

Names of fallen Jumble Players are read aloud by the Jumble Raker. Each name is inscribed into the handle of his or her rake. Then, there is the ceremonial Jumble Dance representing the Great Jumble of life. All Jumble Team members are included.

The Grand Ref Jumble Judge asks permission of the spectators to start the game. Paper ballots are used and counted. If given permission the GRJJ calls the game into play. The Jumble Clock is set at one twelfth of a Jumble Day. Play begins.

After that, it's pretty much just Smear the Queer.