Monday, November 30, 2009

The Battle of the Titans, or Scrabble Reloaded

This afternoon, Martin Harrison and I(representing the Causeway Open Division) played three games of Scrabble against Lewis Mackay and Phil Robertshaw ( representing the Causeway Masters Division).
Game 1: Lewis and Phil started with the beautiful ROCKABY( a song used to lull children to sleep). It was followed by our MELTAGE+S, making ROCKABYE. WORDINGS, PEERAGE+Sand DISCANT+S gave them a well deserved win:LewisPhil 597 MartinAdrian 446


Game 2: Martin and I exchanged one tile in the first move, and bonused the next move with CORONET+S. Lewis and Phil played EYEPATCH, a nonvalid word, that stayed on the board. ABRIDGER+S and CELERITY put us well ahead, but a hidden bonus from us, combined with a bad pickup for the masters, won us the game: MartinAdrian 481LewisPhil 453

Game 3: We decided to play a decider. Martin and I started with KINKIER. While Lewis and Phil where struggling with consonants, we kept scoring. To make Martin happy, I let him hook an S onto KINKIER to make SKINKIER(not a valid word). OUTHIRE+D,S, ANHINGAS( an aquatic bird) and JAILORS comfortably won us the game: MartinAdrian 554 LewisPhil 293

So the final result was Open Division 2 Masters Division 1, winning us the fight, and with it, a lot of compliments from our "master brothers".

Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (World Champion 2009)

I met Pakorn four years ago at the King's Cup, my first international tournament. I remember finishing my game and going to the" better tables" to see who won. Pakorn was there laughing, and talking to his opponent about his game. I asked one of the onlookers if Pakorn had won the game and the answer was: "No, he lost by over 100 points". I was quite impressed by his attitude towards this game. If you do your best, there is absolutely nothing to be sad about. Put a smile on your face and move on to the next game. And I believe that along with his amazing word knowledge, strategy and intuition, this attitude has won him many games. At this WSC, Pakorn played his third final. I believe this says much about his level of play. Nobody has made the final three times. How did he get to this level? The first step was falling in love with this game. The second step was learning the words. The third step was improving his strategy. And the last step was perseverance! I remember Pakorn telling me: " Wherever Nigel Richards goes, I go." Nigel Richards is another monument of Scrabble. Out of all the Scrabble players, he has the best word knowledge. He is a " trophy collector". The secret to improving yourself is matching your powers with the best players. And this strategy worked for Parkon. I forgot to mention another thing one needs in order to win games: self confidence. "I will win this year's World Scrabble Championship", Pakorn told me while we were playing some games on ISC in October. I knew he wasn't joking. Nigel and Pakorn are both my friends. Before the final I went to them and wished them good luck. I knew that luck would play an important part. I wanted both players to win, but I knew that this was impossible! I was sorry that Nigel lost the final and happy that Pakorn won it. When he came into the room where we were observing the final, he was crying. He had to wait for three finals to win this one. But he finally did it. Congratulations, Pakorn!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Been there, done that, got a T-shirt

As my wife was saying, this is the end of the road. At the next WSC there will only be one Romanian. Unless we organize the event. I think that would be good for Mattel. In Romania all the students study English in Elementary School, High School or University, but very few play Scrabble in English. The good thing is that Scrabble has a good image in Romania and even though it's not as popular as chess, it's considered a sport. And we have a Michaeltanglike* organizer: Septimiu Crivei. Regarding the WSC, I can say that I've been there, played there, got a T-shirt and a Scrabble board.(since I won my last game and the winner took the board while the non-winner took the tiles).My average score was 433, which I'm quite happy with, while my opponent's average score against me was 436. Needless to say that I'm not happy about that!!!

WSC ( Day 3 - the afternoon games)

In the afternoon I had two unwinnable games against Irfan Siddiqui and Rasheed Ateeq Khan, and two one sided wins against Dielle Saldanha and Robert Linn. Despite my disappointing performance, I won 20 rating points. Unlike yesterday, today I had a better flow of the tiles.
Game21: Adrian Tamas SSSQZ?(exchanged twice) Irfan Siddiqui ?JSX Lost
Game22: Adrian Tamas SS?ZQ Rashid Ateeq Khan SSJX? Lost
Game23: Adrian Tamas ZSS? Dielle Saldanha QJXSS? Won
Game24: Adrian Tamas SSZ? Robert Linn QJZSS? Won
Romania loses a spot but wins a lot of experience. We will be back...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The End of the Road

To avoid misunderstandings, this is the wife speaking. I have just seen the standings on the WSC official website. Not exactly what I would have expected, so I thought I should count the positive and negative aspects, to see whether I should mourn or rejoice.


1. Romania is (I think) back to the one-player team.
2. The very supportive people back home (Septimiu and the U Cluj club, for example) may be disappointed.
3. I'm afraid my husband would get drunk if he drank alcohol. Honestly, I'm sorry he doesn't. As I mentioned before, I'm a terribly sorry loser, so I'd probably be suicidal were I in his shoes.
4. The surprise breakfast (pancakes!) I had planned for him is off. That was the breakfast for champions.


1. Our house has been very clean and neat for the past seven days.
2. I can eat my favourite cereal every morning because the bag stays miraculously full during the night.
3. I don't have to watch TV wearing headphones anymore (Adrian doesn't watch TV).
4. The strange ringing in my husband's ears (it sounds something like: "How many times have I told you not to leave your dirty socks on the floor?" "Take your feet off the desk!" "Dry the dishes and put them back in the cupboard after you've washed them!" and other such endearing words) has completely disappeared.

Another minus: all the pluses enumerated above will magically disappear as soon as Adrian is back from Malaysia.
Another plus: pending on the Causeway Challenge results, the pancake breakfast might be back on schedule.

Congratulations to all the players, good luck tomorrow to the two Lords on top and, as the Japanese put it, お疲れ様でした (otsukare sama deshita = your efforts during the day are much appreciated).

WSC( Day 3 at lunchtime)

Today started with four interesting games. Joel Wapnick and Brian Bowman played a nine timer each to win their games against me while I had a late nine timer against Michael Tang which won me the game.That's three nine timers in 4 games!!! In the game against Victor Ikawa a late setup for my E gave me the win. I have started picking good tiles. Whenever my opponent looks away, I take some " goodies" out of the bag! The strategy works and I am planning to keep doing that...
Game17: Adrian Tamas SS? Joel Wapnick JQZXSS? lost
Game18: Adrian Tamas ZXSS?? (exchanged 3 times!) Michael Tang QJSS won
Game19: Adrian Tamas S?X Victor Ikawa JZQSSS?
Game20: Adrian Tamas SSJX? Brian Bowman ZQSS? Lost

I hope that the non- scrabble players don't think that this game is just about luck. It requires a lot of concentration, intuition and word knowledge. If you don't have this, you can take all the goodies from the bag and still lose! It's time to go back for my next game.

WSC ( Day 2- licking my wounds )

Harshan And I before the game

As you already know, today was not such a good day for me. A lost game to Sherwin Rodriguez after being 140 ahead and holding a blank, a balanced game against Trevor Mark Hovelmeier( more balanced than the score shows), five games where I was just an observer and a win against Harshan Lamabadusuriya. And how sweet that win was! I have played Harshan seven times and this is the first time I beat him! He is not having a good tournament either. And neither is Joel Wapnick, a former World Champion and finalist of the World Scrabble Championship, who will be my next " victim" tomorrow...
Out of curiousity I had a look at the "goodies" I picked today. In Scrabble, QZJXSS?? are called goodies, because they make one's life a lot easier during play.

Game 9: Adrian Tamas ZQXSS Martin Harrison ??SSJ lost
Game 10: Adrian Tamas JXSS? Sherwin Rodrigues ZQSS? lost
Game 11: Adrian Tamas QZ? Nathan Benedict JXSSSS? lost
Game 12: Adrian Tamas S Mark Nyman QZJXSSS?? lost
Game 13: Adrian Tamas QXSSS? Harshan Lambadusuriya JZS? won
Game 14: Adrian Tamas X Helen Gipson QZJSSSS?? lost
Game 15: Adrian Tamas QS Ayorinde Saidu JZXSSS?? lost
Game 16: Adrian Tamas ZXSS? Trevor Mark Hovelmeier QJSS? won

I will look at my first eight games tomorrow. I'm sure I picked better tiles than today! Tomorrow I am planning to pick all 16 blanks:))

Me celebrating the historical win against Harshan:))

Friday, November 27, 2009

World Scrabble Championship (II)

Well, sad news today. Adrian went down to position 63, after having lost 6 games today. And I have no photos to show you. As he put it, the only chance he had of beating one of his opponents was to actually use his fists. I can't say I would mind it. I mean, there are no rules in love and war, and this is war! You Scrabble players are so lucky I don't like the game!

Scrabble and the Real Life

While WSC 2009 has us completely entranced, I find out, by pure accident, that in Romania all TV channels and newspapers debate a short movie in which the current president apparently hits a boy. The authenticity of the movie has not been proved and many think it may be an election scam. Honestly, I couldn't care less. What I wanted to say is that we do live a happy life if we can afford to care more about Scrabble than about who is going to be the next president of Romania. I pray it stays that way.
Players, have another good day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

World Scrabble Championship (I)

I have just found these photos on the official site of the championship and I thought I'd share them with you. Together with the news that my husband finished the day on position 14. I could burst with pride!

Life as a Single Wife: Make Up

I thought the "lords of the board" need a break from so much Scrabble (please don't tell me there's no such thing as too much Scrabble; don't take from me the hope that my husband might tire of Scrabble one day), so I decided to share some images from Japan with you.
Those who have been here, and maybe some of those who haven't as well, know of the Japanese custom of putting on make up on the trains. The well educated, polite, older Japanese think it's absolutely disgusting, even worse than eating or drinking on the train. Yes, eating a sandwich, a doughnut, or even nibbling on a piece of chocolate or drinking some coffee while riding a train is frowned upon in conservative Japanese circles. I must admit I do it sometimes, the train ride being the only time I get for lunch or dinner (unless I am willing to eat dinner when it's way too late for my diet efforts). I guess this is the argument women who put on their make up on trains can give: they don't have the time to do it at home. Sacrifice manners for a few extra minutes of sleep. I'm not judging them, but I must admit I find it strange to see women who do the complete routine: face cream, foundation, drawing the eyebrows (in case you didn't know, that's the fashion here: shave your eyebrows and draw the desired design every morning. I'm pretty sure Japanese men have really strong hearts if they are still alive after waking up next to a woman with no eyebrows. De gustibus...), several layers of eye shadow, eyeliner, powder, blush, lipstick, mascara. One thing is to be admired: the perfection with which they apply this make up. I can't use eyeliner even in the stillness of my own bathroom, not to mention a moving crowded train.
The bad news is that putting on make up on trains is slowly becoming more than a no no and posters discouraging it are found together with posters which urge people to take action agains molesters. Do it at home, ladies!

Let the Games Begin...

Today is the big Day, when the Championship actually starts. Adrian must be in the game room by now (as far as I remember from last year's Causeway Challenge, a pretty impressive place), so I'm writing this post with the information and photos he sent me last night. He didn't say much about the Opening Ceremony (honey, you were writing to your wife, where was the description of dresses, jewelry, hair and make up?!?), just that Michael Tang is an awesome organizer. I can testify to that, having met Michael last year and being impressed with his skills and composure.
Since we have no red carpet photos, here are some with the presents all the participants received from Mattel:

a bag

a book of official lists

a panel shade (?)

and The T-shirt

I hope that when my husband gets home, he'll be able to say more than "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Johor Bahru (day 2)

Yesterday,we started with a "bowling tournament" for a change. Lewis Mackay, Kevin McMahon, Rick Kennedy, Pall Allan, Craig Beevers and I went to a mall called "The Leisure Mall". When we got there, we decide to split into two teams: high rated versus low rated players. Kevin has a provisional international rating, so he joined Rick and I. Together we formed the strongest three player team this sport has ever seen. Unfortunately, we had bad "tiles" and lost the first game. This is a photo with the winners of the first game. We asked for out and discussed the strategy for the next game. It was time for revenge. Four strikes for me in the first 5 frames, and a couple of strikes and spares from Rick and Kevin put us ahead by more than 100 point. That's when Allan Paul had a magic run of three consecutive strike. Lewis Mackay played a very consistent game too. Craig Beevers, the Uk National Champion en titre, had a very bad tournament, and lost a lot of rating points.Because of this, he might have to play in the Open Division next time.
We went back to the hotel and celebrated with more scrabble games. The dinner saw Peter Kougi, Martin Harrison, Phil Robertsaw and I do some more anagrams. I ordered
the " BUMBU" fish. " BUMBU" is not valid in Scrabble and you need three blanks to go with it, in order to form two valid words: BUBBLEGUM+S and TUMBLEBUG+S (I'm guessing it must be a bug...). After dinner we played a game called anagrams. Allan Paul was the "tournament director". I finished my evening with two losses to ETA KARO, a very strong Nigerian player. The second game was winnable, but not at two o' clock in the morning! I would like to share some pictures but the internet connection is not very good... I will upload them when i get to Japan.

Lords of the Board

Today the World Scrabble Championship 2009 begins and I would like to congratulate all the participants for having made it so far. As a person who hates sports and has never been good at any—it’s not just that I’m chubby, slow and clumsy, I’m not a team player and a sore loser as well—I sincerely admire all who have to strength and patience to go this far. With Scrabble, things seem to be particularly difficult. I mean, if you’re young, it’s one thing to be a tennis/ football/ basketball player, or a swimmer, or something similar, which would definitely bring you some fame and popularity, and it’s another thing to be a Scrabble player. First, not many people see Scrabble as more than a fun way to spend rainy days or evenings when there’s nothing better to do. Scrabble is a kind of chess plus poker: you need brains and luck at the same time, but the gains are infinitely smaller. And most of the times you have to accept being called a nerd, suffer your wife’s nagging (i.e, “Can you please tell me how Scrabble is going to help our family? Are you going to feed our kids Scrabble tiles?”) and your friends’ irony.
Yet you all made it so far and I think it’s great. Congratulations and good luck!

NB: This post is obviously a way of showing support for my husband and its validity does not extend beyond December 7th, 2009. On that day, the admiration goes back to its safe box and we go back to house chores and nagging.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Johor Bahru (day 1)

Mihai and I got to Johor Bahru yesterday morning. The taxi driver could only speak Chinese and Malaysian.It was a good opportunity for me to practice my Chinese. When we got to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised with the room. It seems ten times better than the room my wife and I had last year.
For lunch, Harshan Lamabadusuriya, Phil Robertshaw and I went to a Chinese restaurant. The food was good, but I was more interested in the anagrams that Phil and Harshan kept feeding me: AEHORSSW, AAADKLMN, BEIKLNS, FMNOOOOR, DEHILNPY, ADEILMOX, EFIIPRTY, CMNOORRW,
HIILPSST,HIILPST, EIKLPST, ACIKMPST. I will leave a comment with the answers.
For dinner, we had some more anagrams: BCELLRUW, ACHLOSW, EKLNOOOR, AGIKLORY, CEHINPU, AHILMOPT, AMNOPRSW, ADEHLMOY, ACEIOPVW, DLMNOOTY, EEGKNRU, and DOOOMMRT.After dinner, Lewis Mackay,Martin Harrison, Paul Allan, Rick Kennedy, Peter Kougi, Kevin McMahon and I played some "team scrabble". Mark Nyman and Andrew Fisher were there too for a while. We played some nice words and missed some even nicer ones. Here are some nice plays: AGOROTH ( no-S a market place in ancient Greece), TOWPLANE+S (an airplane that tows gliders)WEBPAGE+S( played as an opening move), SUTLERY (a camp hawker's stall), CINQUES ( the number five), DAYSIDE+S (the sun side of a planet)and HARIANA+S ( a breed of cattle).The missed bonuses were ROOTHOLD(maintenance of position by roots), POLTROON+S( a base coward)and OMNIVORY( 230 points!) Unfortunately the internet connection is not very good here, so I cannot upload too many photos!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hotpot Scrabble

After the tournament, Ricky Purnomo, Lie Ying Purnomo(Ricky's wife), Mihai Pantis and I, went to a hotpot restaurant. No, we didn't play any Scrabble. I just couldn't think of a better title. After all, "hotpot" is a valid Scrabble word. We, the Scrabble freaks, heroically tried not to talk about Scrabble. If you're a man, imagine having dinner with 3 women who for 3 hours only talk about make up, shopping and jewelry. That's what Lie Ying must have felt like, when we succumbed to our urge of talking about Scrabble. I must proudly inform you that no anagrams have been exchanged over the scrabble board though. The food was amazing. I think I could have hotpot for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Mihai Pantis, trying to run away with our food!

Singapore ( day 3)


I love being a "full-time" scrabble player. Today we had eight more games of Scrabble. In the morning, I started my day with a loss against Nigel Richards but a 3 game winning streak took me to the top 5. The most interesting game of the day is definitely the one against Hubert Wee, where he beat me by 200 points, playing some beautiful words:ENDLEAF+S (endpaper), GENETRIX (a mother), PANDECTS ( a complete body of laws). Today I had way more bonuses than yesterday. I counted 21: ERASION+S, NIPTERS(ceremonial washing of the feet), ROSULATE(no-S arranged in the form of a rosette), ASTEROID+S, ANGUINE, LIFECARE+S TOILETED, PARERGA(no-S a composition derived from a larger work), ENDURES, LATERAD(no-S toward the side), REMOUNTS, NAPOLEON+S(a type of pastry), ETESIAN+S( an annually recurring wind), SIENITE+S(an igneous rock), BORANES, DELICTS, EBONISE+D,S, TREADLES, INFLATES, SAURIAN+S TELETRON+S( a cathode-ray tube).My compatriot, Mihai Pantis, had some beautiful bonuses. My favorite were URANISCI(no-S the roof of the mouth), EPIGAEAN(no-S living close to the ground)and IODYRITE+S.My host, Ricky Purnomo, finished third, after he had to play Nigel four times!Two wins for Ricky, two for Nigel. It's not too bad if you ask me! These are the final results:
Results after round 16
Rank Player Wins Mar
1 Nigel Richards 13 1575
2 Hubert Wee 11 866
3 Ricky Purnomo 11 106
4 Goh Jiang Pern 10 670
5 Adrian Tamas 10 256
6 Michael Tang 10 -82
7 Robert Linn 9 -2
8 Cheah Siu Hean 9 -121
9 Mihai Pantis 8 4
10 Shim Yen Nee 8 -155
11 Tony Sim 7 337
12 Victor Chua 7 156
13 Dianne Ward 7 151
14 Toh Weibin 7 34
15 Marlon Prudencio 6 5
16 Jocelyn Lor 6 -153
17 Quek Sim Ho 6 -344
18 J Goutham 6 -831
19 Wong Zhi Yuan 6 -983
20 Arul Inthirajah 3 -1489
HIGH GAME: Goh Jiang Pern 662


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Singapore ( day 2)


Today, it was time for Scrabble. 20 players joined the Yew Tee tournament. I started my day with a loss against Ricky Purnomo. I had to let him win again!I also played against my compatriot, Mihai Pantis.It was my turn to win. Tomorrow morning, my next victim will be Nigel Richards, none other than the world champion en titre.
My game didn't seem to flow very well today. I only had 12 bonuses in 8 games! That is certainly not enough at this level. My bonuses were ANTITYPE+S(a contrary type), INFESTER+S, UNSENSED, REARGUE+D,S, SAXONITE+S(igneous rock), TEAGLES, GELLIES(gelignite), RIVIERAS( a costal resort area), ANOETIC(no-S feeling without understanding), PITEOUS, WINIEST and CASEMENT+S( a type of window). After the tournament Tony Sim, took us to a place with a lot of Singaporean traditional food. It was delicious! Now I need to recharge my batteries for tomorrow...

Results after round 8
Rank Player Wins Mar
1 Nigel Richards 7 789
2 Ricky Purnomo 7 503
3 Hubert Wee 6 346
4 Goh Jiang Pern 5 612
5 Toh Weibin 5 256
6 Adrian Tamas 5 196
7 Wong Zhi Yuan 5 -89
8 Victor Chua 4 87
9 Mihai Pantis 4 -27
10 Robert Linn 4 -194
11 Michael Tang 4 -257
12 Cheah Siu Hean 4 -349
13 Tony Sim 3 80
14 Marlon Prudencio 3 58
15 Jocelyn Lor 3 -132
16 Arul Inthirajah 3 -613
17 Dianne Ward 2 141
18 Shim Yen Nee 2 -193
19 Quek Sim Ho 2 -356
20 J Goutham 2 -858
HIGH GAME: Goh Jiang Pern 662


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life as a Single Wife (Day 1)

Well, as you might have noticed, my husband is frolicking in Singapore. So I'm a single wife now. By single I don't mean that he doesn't have any other wives (honestly, I think I wouldn't mind having another woman in the house, to do all the chores while I'm at work), I mean that I get to experience the life of a single woman for two weeks. The day started extremely promising: I woke up at 6:20 instead of the usual 5:30, prepared for the morning English lessons, taught English for 3 hours, cleaned the house and did the laundry for another 2 hours and a half, then had lunch. Now I'm gloomily thinking that I have to teach one more lesson in the evening. But I have something to say to all the Scrabble players in the world: I'd rather be me :))
Good luck to you all! (Not too much though, because my present from Malaysia depends on what position Adrian ends up on)

Singapore ( day 1)


I arrived in Singapore, where Ricky Purnuomo, another Scrabble freako*, was waiting for me. We ate something and then we went back to his place to play Scrabble. Since it was getting late and tomorrow we have a tournament to attend, we stopped after two games. I am staying at his place, so I had to let him win both games.Ricky's bonuses were RECOUNT, GLAIKET, INHALES, DIAMIDES, CARIERES, UNITING and CENOTES, while my bonuses were CRESTED, ERODENT and NASALIZE.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pick Up Lines for Scrabble Players

Writing this post makes me think about “Mary Poppins” and supercalifragilistic, the scene where the little old man says: “I once said it to a girl… [Bang! Heavy metal instrument clashes with his head. The tender gesture comes from his wife, who is twice as big as him, vertically and horizontally.]… and what a lovely wife she is!” That should serve you as a warning that I cannot guarantee the outcome of your using these lines.
1. The classic: “How about a game of Scrabble?” A clue as to how she might react to this question is the size of her bag. Too small a bag clearly indicates that she’s not carrying even a portable Scrabble board—so bad news for you. Although you might be lucky and she may be one of those people who like to carry only the tiles with them and quiz themselves while on buses or trains.

2. The advanced level: “I bet I can anagrammatize your name.” If this doesn’t impress her, I don’t know what will.

3. Our favourite (courtesy of our friend, Troy): “Baby, can I rearrange your letters?”

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how our Scrabble family came into existence. Well, here are the two versions:

Adrian: “I’m sure I impressed her with my brilliant conversation and with the fact that I hit myself on the head with a frying pan on our second date. Do not ask for details.”

Carmen: “He had long hair, muscles (in case you were still hoping that Scrabble is a magnet for girls, here’s some news for you: my husband was more into bodybuilding than Scrabble when we first met) and he could play the guitar. We still have the guitar (s) and he still writes lovely songs for me.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Man is the head of the family, woman the neck that turns the head.

1. People

Airhead+s = an idiot (a mentally deficient person)
Bonehead+s = a blockhead
Boobhead+s = a repeat offender in prison (Australian slang)
Butthead+s = a stupid person
Dickhead+s = a fool
Dumbhead+s = a stupid person
Egghead+s = an intellectual
Fathead+s = a stupid person
Jolthead+s = a blockhead
Jughead+s = a stupid person
Hardhead+s = a practical person
Hothead+s = a quick-tempered person
Knobhead+s = a fool
Lunkhead+s = a stupid person
Meathead+s = a dolt, a stupid person
Oxhead+s = a blockhead
Pisshead+s = a heavy drinker
Saphead+s = a stupid person
Shithead+s = an unpleasant person
Softhead+s = a foolish person
Sorehead+s = a person who is easily angered or offended
Stemhead+s = a jerk (slang)


Behead+s = to decapitate
Cohead +s = to head jointly
Deadhead+s = to travel without freight
Masthead+s = to raise to the top of a mast
Unhead+s = to decapitate

3.Addictions or hobbies

Acidhead+s = one who uses LSD
Cokehead+s = a cocaine addict
Dopehead+s = a drug addict
Gearhead+s = a mechanically inclined person
Hashhead+s = a hashish addict
Hophead+s = a drug addict
Nethead+s = an enthusiast or expert on the internet
Pillhead+s = an addict of pills
Pothead +s = one who smokes marijuana

4. Heads and their characteristics

Baldhead+s = a bald person
Barehead (no-s) = without a hat
Boofhead+s = a person with a big or ugly head
Hoarhead+s = a hoary-headed old man
Longhead+s = a person having a long skull
Mophead+s = a person with shaggy hair
Slaphead+s = someone with a shaved head
Bolthead+s = a hemispherical bolt head
Redhead+s = person with red hair
Skinhead+s = one whose hair is cut very short
Towhead+s = a head of light blond hair

5. Sea creatures

Bluehead+s = a marine fish
Bowhead+s = an arctic whale
Bullhead+s = a freshwater catfish
Flathead+s = a marine fish
Gilthead+s = a marine fish


Bolthead+s = the head of a bolt
Cuphead+s = a hemispherical bolt-head
Clubhead+s = the part of a golf club that strikes the ball
Drumhead+s = the material stretched over the end of a drum
Forkhead+s = the forked end of a road
Nailhead+s = the top of the nail
Pinhead+s = the head of a pin
Pithead+s = a mine entrance
T+Railhead+s = the end of a railway line
Toolhead+s = a part of a machine
Warhead+s = the explosive part of a missile
S+ Wellhead+s = the source of a spring or stream

7. Others

Bighead+s = a disease of animals
Billhead+s = a letterhead
Bulkhead+s = a partition on a ship
Cathead+s = a beam projecting from a ship’s bow
Drophead+s = a convertible car
Forehead+s = the part of face above the eyes
Godhead+s = the state of being a god,
Hindhead+s = describes the back of the head
Hogshead+s = a large cask
Jarhead+s = a marine soldier
Overhead+s = the general cost of running a business
Plowhead+s = the clevis of a plow
Raghead+s = an Arab
Rawhead+s = a bugbear ( a cause for anxiety)
Subhead+s = the head of a subdivision.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Poppie Nongena (2) Miscellanea

The following words appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but they are not valid Scrabble words (yet).
Magou = a non-alcoholic home-brewed drink made of thin, slightly fermented maize-meal porridge, often with wheat flour added
Kwedini = young African (esp. Xhosa) boy (who hasn’t gone through the coming-of-age rite)
Makoti = a bride; a newly-wed woman

From Carmen: The following words do not appear in the OED either, but I couldn’t help writing about them (this is my chance to relate my interest in rituals with my husband’s interest in words).

Abakwetha = a coming-of-age rite of passage (an initiation ceremony for boys, which includes circumcision)

Incibi = the man who performs the circumcision
Umguyo = the all-night party before the initiation ceremony
Thwasa = a medium/ shaman; a person who can talk to the ancestors’ spirits (called izinyanya)

Ukuthwasa = the initiation ritual of a thwasa
Inkenqe = supernatural powers
Igqwira = a bad witchdoctor
Igqira = a good witchdoctor


“This is the sad story of a sad country, and of a humble black woman, who under the burden of South Africa’s discriminatory laws, never gives up, never gives in.” (Alan Paton)

I know that our posts are (or at least try to be) funny, but we can’t joke about “Poppie Nongena”. “Poppie Nongena” has absolutely nothing in common with jokes or carefree laughter.
 you have never had to think about the colour of your skin
 you live in an ideal world where hard work bears fruit and you only get what you deserve
 your biggest worry is that you don’t have enough money for your next vacation abroad
 you have ever been on a diet (which means that you have a surplus of food)
then you should read “Poppie Nongena”. “Poppie Nongena” is a book about sadness and injustice, a book that teaches us to count our blessings and to feel ashamed for every expensive piece of clothing we buy, for every new electronic gadget and for every manicure.

If you still feel like it, here are some Scrabble valid words for your linguistic pleasure.

Koppie = small hill (in South Africa)
Ouma = a grandmother; an elderly woman
Lobola = the South African native custom of marriage by purchase. Also, the price or present given for a bride according to this custom
Mealie = maize; Indian corn
Samp = coarsely-ground Indian corn; also a kind of porridge made from it
Veld = the unenclosed country or open pasture-land
Kierie = short club or knobbed stick used as a weapon by natives of South Africa
Sangoma (isangoma) = a witchdoctor, usu. a woman, claiming supernatural powers of divination and healing
Doek = a head-cloth
Donga = channel or gully formed by the action of water; a ravine or watercourse with steep sides
Kraal = village of Southern or Central African native peoples, consisting of a collection of huts surrounded by a fence or stockade, and often having a central space for cattle, etc
Muti = Medicine as traditionally practised among the black peoples of Africa, usually in the form of charms or other objects to which healing or magical powers are ascribed, incorporating herbs and parts of animals and (occas.) of human bodies
Stoep = a raised platform or verandah running along the front and sometimes round the sides of a house of Dutch architecture

Thursday, November 12, 2009

AnagramsV (for Scrabble players only)

Now that you've seen where I keep my dictionary, let's move on to more serious things. See if you can solve this quiz in 5 minutes. I will post a comment with the answers. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Human Nature: Toilet and Curiosity

A friend asked me (jokingly, I suppose) whether my husband keeps the Webster dictionary in the toilet. Well, as you can see, no, because the Scrabble player's Bible is the Collins Scrabble Dictionary.

The rest of the objects belong to me.
And since toilets are something inextricably connected to human nature, there is something I'd like to ask all Scrabble players (this is the curiosity part of the post). What would you think about a game in which your opponent could challenge you to explain the meaning of any word played? Or the hardcore version: explanation, etymology and first recorded use. Oh, I love the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Introduction to Chicklit

Adrian has only discussed serious books here (although I’m not one hundred percent sure where to place Conn Iggulden), so I thought it was time for frivolity. “The Brightest Star in the Sky” (written by the author of many other delightful books, Marian Keyes) is definitely girly, feel-good girly, the kind of book which can successfully replace chocolate or any other comfort food on glum days, and even a manicure or a shopping spree if you’re hard on cash. Plus, it’s about Ireland, my beloved Ireland (and one of the best countries to live in) and Irish people.
That’s why we’re giving you some Irish flavoured words (all valid in Scrabble).

Eejit [s, y] = idiot
Gansey = jersey
Gobshite = a stupid, incompetent, or gullible person; a person who talks nonsense or talks incessantly; a loudmouth.
Wastrel = (in Cornwall) a tract of waste land; a good-for-nothing, idle, worthless, disreputable person
Feck = fuck; steal (in Irish English)
Gardai (Garda) = The state police force of the Republic of Ireland, established in 1922, and known as the Garda Síochána [= ‘Civic Guard’] since 1923.
Spanner = dandy (in Dublin); OED gives three other different meanings for this word
Shebeen = Chiefly in Ireland and Scotland: A shop or house where excisable liquors are sold without a licence
Knockers = underwear (?)


Here are some words which do not appear in the Collins Scrabble Dictionary. When we could guess the meaning from the context, things were fine, but some of them are still a mystery. We’re appealing to your kindness and extensive linguistic knowledge to elucidate it.
*lezzer (adj. lezzery) = lesbian
* scobie→ “I haven’t a scobie” = “I have no idea”
* madzer = mad, crazy
* bejayzus
* gank = unpleasant (?)
* jollof (?)
* tallywhacker*
Galwegian = a person not necessarily from Galway, but who tends to lead a bohemian lifestyle, fight against consumerism and various other noble causes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tokyo Scrabble (3)

One of the three Scrabbleoke* games Jason and I played

The third and last part of my Scrabble trip to Tokyo is a " word report". Here are a few words Jason and I played:

PENULTS = the next to last syllable in a word (ADRIAN)
BIVIA(no-S) BIVIUM* = part of a starfish (ADRIAN)
VISCID (no-S) = thick and adhesive (JASON)
EUTEXIA+S = the property of being easily melted (JASON)
HAIKAI(no -S) = a type of Japanese poem (ADRIAN)
ORIBI+S = an African antelope (ADRIAN)
TITTUP+S,Y = to move in a lively manner (JASON)
MASTITIS = inflammation of the breast (ADRIAN)
SHIRALEE+S = a swagman's bundle (JASON)
AZYGIES = an unpaired biological element (ADRIAN)
DOVECOTS = a roost for domesticated pigeons (JASON)
AMILDAR+S = an Indian manager (ADRIAN)
OXEYE+S = a flowering plant (ADRIAN)

The game Jason and I played on the train

XEROMAS = a dry lustreless condition of the conjunctiva (JASON)
DRUMLIN+S = a long hill of glacial drift (ADRIAN)
SEMEION (no-S) SEMEIA* = a unit of time (ADRIAN)
CRUZIE+S also CRUIZIE+S = an oil lamp( ADRIAN)
FAQUIRS = a religious ascetic in India, also FAQIR FAKIR (JASON)
DIANOIAS = a lower mode of knowledge from perception and experience(ADRIAN)
VAGROM (no-S) = wandering (JASON)

Playing so many games against Jason (who is rated 14th in the world at the moment)was exactly the kind of training I needed for the World Scrabble Championship 2009 and the Causeway Challenge (both held in Malaysia). I'm counting the days!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tokyo Scrabble (2)

The Odyssey continued on the train. If you don’t believe me, look at the photos. Nothing better to shock the locals than two weird looking foreigners doing strange and suspicious things with a colorful board and some white tiles.

Next stop, an ant-infested park. Like real heroes, we kept on playing, paying in blood our devotion to the god of Scrabble. At least Carmen has nothing to comment here: park, lake, summer night, ME… all the ingredients for a perfect romantic… salad.

My quest for the Holy Scrabble ended (tragically, I must say, because two weeks of parties, walks around temples and Takarazuka plays were awaiting me) at the Shinjuku station. We stopped in a stinky corner, where people gathered to pollute the atmosphere with their cigarettes, and played Blitz Scrabble: 3-minute games. People stopped by and cast curious glances at our boards, but we were so absorbed in the game that I almost missed my bus. I realized I had to go only 15 minutes before the bus was scheduled to depart for Osaka, so I ran to the bus stop. I know, I know, I was running to meet love. I made it there in the nick of time, only to be told by the driver that there was one hour left until departure. No, they were not late and they hadn’t changed the schedule either. I was simply one hour too early. Now, you know about my adventure on the bus, so I’ll end my tale here. Carmen made me promise to give the game report in a separate post, as not to bore all of her friends out of their wits. Enjoy the photos and I’ll be back (for Scrabble players only).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tokyo Scrabble (1)

A few weeks ago I told you about my clandestine trip to Tokyo. A little late, maybe, but I’m back with the news (no longer quite so new) report. The specialists know what I did there—played Scrabble—but the question is when and where.
Jason and I started in a businesslike manner at the Google Japan headquarters, surrounded by hundreds of computers. Of course, we played the real thing, using a board. Yet the adrenaline rush was missing, so we went to a karaoke place. Nothing to get your blood pumping like having to play the lyrics of a song! Carmen says there was no mystery, no charm to the whole thing—half amused, half angry, she says she’s haunted by the image of her husband peacefully reading Scrabble lists on some stone steps, while she was in ecstasy at the magnificent Hindu temples in Khajuraho. I don’t dare contradict her (if you’re married, you know what I mean), but I have to remind her that men would rather choose fun over… well, over a lot of things. And karaoke Scrabble IS fun.

The Scrabble marathon continued with a couple of hours at a family restaurant, where we played until 5 in the morning. Unfortunately, even legendary heroes need a break (if Achilles hadn’t gone to sleep, Patrocles wouldn’t have had time to steal his armour and… my apologies, it seems that my wife planted a mythology bug in my computer), so we started again the next day around noon. At a Chinese restaurant that served authentic Chinese food (not the Japanese-style Chinese food that is so common here) and where Jason and I could brag about our linguistic skills. The only inconvenient was the size of the tables: they were too small for the board. I guess it had been done on purpose: overwhelmed by the hordes of Scrabble players, the owners of the restaurant had adjusted the tables to an unsuitable size. Tactics similar to the burning of the fields and poisoning of the wells used by Romanian peasants in the Middle Ages when threatened by the Turks. World, beware, the Scrabble freaks are coming!

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anagrams( IV (for scrabble players only)

Here comes another set of anagrams I keep missing.See if you can find them within 5 minutes. Good luck!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Sutton's list of consonant+y+s (plural) words

We think that David's list should be granted more than just a corner in the comment section, so we wanted to give it the space it deserves. David said: The plural of COLBY being COLBIES or COLBYS, how many other words ending in consonant followed by Y can you name that can take a straight S in the plural? I make it 19 altogether but may have missed a few. OK, here goes:

BENDY BENDYS (another name for OKRA)
BIALY BIALYS (an onion roll, also BIALIES)
BLOWBY BLOWBYS (a leakage of exhaust gases)
BY BYS( a pass in certain card games)
COLBY COLBYS (a type of cheese, also COLBIES)
DARCY DARCYS (unit of rock permeability, can also be DARCIES)
DRY DRYS (a political right-winger)
FLYBY FLYBYS ( a flight at low altitude or close range)
GOODBY GOODBYS( a remark or gesture on parting)
HENRY HENRYS (unit of electrical inductantce, can also be HENRIES)
JANSKY JANSKYS (in astronomy, the unit of strength of radio-emission)
MILLIHENRY (thousandth of a HENRY)
PLATY PLATYS (a small tropical fish: can also be PLATIES).
PRY PRYS (to inquire impertinently into private matters)
QWERTY QWERTYS ( the usual keyboard layout: QWERTIES)
SHINDY SHINDYS (an uproar, can also be SHINDIES)
SWINGBY SWINGBYS (the passing of a spacecraft near a planet to use its gravitational pull)TELLY TELLYS ( a television set, also TELLIES)
TRILBY TRILBYS ( a soft felt hat, also TRILBIES
WHY WHYS( the reason or cause of something)
ZLOTY ZLOTYS ( a monetary unit of Poland: also ZLOTIES)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Scrabble Family's Halloween Story

Well, if I had a Halloween story, I’d definitely share it with you. The problem is that in Romania we don’t have Halloween (at least when we were living there, we didn’t). I can’t be sure, but I think I experienced my first Halloween in Japan. A traditional Japanese Halloween which begins at the end of September and suddenly disappears a little before October 31st, only to be replaced, on November 1st, by Christmas. The Japanese are very good at killing their holidays—something like “The King is dead, long live the King!” Despite the big scale (and often purely commercial) fuss made before a holiday, the next day (or even the actual holy day, because here it’s the Eve that counts) nothing remains to remind us that the event really existed. A way to avoid post-holiday depression, maybe?
Anyway, I’m digressing. What I wanted to tell you is the story of our monster T-shirts. They are part of my strategy for world domination. I mean, Scrabble World Championship domination. For Adrian, not for me, of course. I know, it’s not the Wimbledon, it’s not even chess, but it would still pay for a nice relaxing holiday on a beach somewhere. Plus a couple of massages and spa treatments. So:
Step 1: Wear monster T-shirt to intimidate your opponent. The design could be interpreted in two ways. (a) “I’m big, green and scary. Do you really want to mess with me?” or (b) “This is how you’ll end up if you keep playing Scrabble. Are you sure you want to finish the game?”
Step 2: Aroma therapy. This has to be done methodically. First collect at least 10 pairs of socks that had been worn while playing table tennis and put them in a plastic bag. Preferably a thick one, as they may be radioactive. Tie bag tightly until the time has come to unleash the demons. Wear the said socks on competition days and carry the bag containing the other pairs with you.
Second: Garlic and onions are good for you, so indulge. Especially before important games. Mexican beans and Japanese burdock are also recommended for their explosive effect.
Third: Win a game a couple of months before the Championship (Adrian could easily accomplish this by playing with me) and stop washing that very day, in order not to jinx your streak of good luck.
Step 3: Stop doing any housework weeks before the competition (I’d say months, but it’s me who will suffer after all). Allow your wife to start a conversation about chores and responsibilities during a game, in a language that your opponent understands. Wear your poker face and tell him: “If I lose, she’s yours.” (The effect increases dramatically if you can persuade said wife to go on a chocolate-and-pizza diet for at least half a year.)
Scary, huh?