SomethingToDo2

Scrabble lovers the world over have their K-N-I-C-K-E-R-S (18 points) in a twist over an announcement that proper nouns will be admitted into the game.

And look, fair enough. If you’ve just spent a year memorising all the two- and three-letter words in the dictionary (people do this, the proof), then the idea that some “normal person” with a regular New Idea habit could come in and trounce you with Jay-Z is scandalous.

Well, actually, the story’s a beat-up. Proper nouns will only be permitted in a spin-off game called Scrabble Trickster created for the UK market by Mattel.  This bastardised Scrabble will also encourage players to steal letters from each other, so it’s hardly the gentle intellect-pitting game of old.

But the story has certainly fired up Scrabble nerds (honestly, is there a group more self-righteous than competitive Scrabble players?). And there’s nothing more fun than seeing pedants purple with rage.

“We got about 2000 new words in the last dictionary. We don’t really need these other words,” said Lower Hutt Scrabble Club president Glenyss Buchanan in The Dominion Post. “What’s next; foreign words, acronyms and abbreviations?” wonders Richard Gottlieb. Etc.

But the very notion of Scrabble Trickster does make one nostalgic for the stodgy, stickler Scrabble of old. Why not celebrate the game that hasn’t changed since 1938 tonight. Play it on Facebook. Head to the local pub for a game. Or become a Scrabble defender, join a local club near you for tournaments.

And if Scrabble seems a bit too squeaky clean, then I swear by dirty word Scrabble — just start with your mind in the gutter and let the game degenerate — no proper nouns required.

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today and get your first 12 weeks for $12.

Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW