12 Scrabble Facts Even Super-Fans Don’t Know About

While most players know there are 100 tiles and that the person who picks the letter closest to A goes first, there are a few facts that even super-fans will be surprised to learn.

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scrabble board
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Scrabble was invented by an unemployed architect

While you might assume Scrabble was invented by a writer, teacher, or librarian, that honour actually goes to Alfred Mosher Butts, an out of work architect from Poughkeepsie, New York. He combined elements from anagrams and crossword puzzles to create a scoring word game. He derived the letter distribution by studying the front page of the New York Times.

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scrabble lexico
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Scrabble was not the game’s original moniker

Scrabble was originally called “Lexico” and later named “Criss Cross Words” before gaining its permanent moniker. It was first called Scrabble by James Brunot, a friend of inventor Butts, who played the games with him. After coining the name Scrabble for the games, Brunot and his wife created a partnership and began manufacturing the game in 1948.

Would you believe these childhood toys are now worth thousands?

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macys scrabble
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Macy’s placed the first big Scrabble order

Scrabble history notes that the president of Macy’s played the game while on vacation and ordered a few games for his store. Sales soared and within a year, the game was a huge hit and games were rationed to stores around the country.

Check out 20 word search puzzles you can print for free.

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Ganesh asirvatham scrabble malaysia
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A man from Malaysia is the top-rated Scrabble player in the world

Ganesh Asirvatham is the world’s top-rated Scrabble player by the World English Language Scrabble Players Association. He has played 636 games winning 450 games, losing 185 with one draw. His high game score was 709 and his low score was 264.

Just how extensive is your vocabulary? See if you can match these words to their proper definitions.

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scrabble letters pouring out
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Qi is one of the top words to win at Scrabble.

Merriam-Webster notes that the top words to win at Scrabble include qi, za, phoney, retinas, xu, zlotty, hook, gyoza, bingo, and amigo. You’ll also want to memorize these 30 little-known words that will help you score big.

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scrabble dictionary
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Hundreds of words are added to the game each year

Merriam-Webster adds hundreds of words to each new addition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. It is officially OK to use the word OK now!

Find out the funniest new words added to the dictionary last year.

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sinatra scrabble letters
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Famous crooners have featured the game in lyrics

Frank Sinatra added nine games of Scrabble to his take of the 12 Days of Christmas in 1968. Kylie Minogue complained that the subject of her song Your Disco Needs You was, “useless at Scrabble.” In his song, You Can Have the TV, Barry Manilow also said that you can keep the Scrabble game too.

These popular song lyrics don’t mean what you think.

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men women scrabble
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Men and women play Scrabble for different reasons

A study in Psychological Research showed that men and women play the game to meet different needs. Men focus their energy on practicing anagrams and evaluating the game while women are more apt to play Scrabble as a hobby.

Find out the best hobby for you, based on your star sign.

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scrabble game show cash
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Scrabble was a television game show

The show, which aired from 1984 to 1990, was hosted by Chuck Woolery. At first, the contestants received $25 for each correct letter creating a pot if they won the round, but the rules quickly changed to each round being worth $500.

Consider yourself a word nerd? See if you can answer these real dictionary questions from Jeopardy!

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scrabble robot letters
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If you play the Scrabble robot, you will never win

Attention Super Scrabble players who are getting bored playing with mere mortals: There is a new kid on the block, a robot equipped with AI and a camera. News flash, the robot wins every game but doles out consolation prizes.

Can’t get enough classic brain games like mahjong? Check out these fascinating mahjong facts most people don’t know.

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scrabble letters
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There have been a few scandals in Scrabble championships over the years

You wouldn’t think that a game as genteel as Scrabble would be associated with bad behaviour, but every once in a while, players get caught cheating. Scandals include a player smuggling in a pocket full of blank tiles and another hiding a “G” in another player’s pocket.

Check out more brain games that will help you get smarter.

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love scrabble letters
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Celebrities are among the millions of people who love Scrabble

Countless celebrities talk about their L-O-V-E for the game including Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake. If you love word games of all kinds, you should check out these (free) printable crossword puzzles.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest