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The Wordsmiths

Scrabble Day

Apr 13

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"An amateur wordsmith spends time looking for the right word, but a pro knows it’s much more amusing to invent one."

~ Anonymous

Do you have a grammarian in your life? Or perhaps someone who always knows just the mot juste! They might appreciate this elegant strathspey devised for a wordsmithing couple! Before there was online WORDLE, Scrabble was the game for the smithing of words. Scrabble, a relatively new game invented in 1938, has clubs and tournaments played in all parts of the world in many native languages. World records for high scoring games, words, and overall duration abound. In August 1984, Peter Finan and Neil Smith played Scrabble for 153 hours at St. Anselm's College, Birkenhead, Merseyside, setting a new duration record. A longer record was never recorded by Guinness Book of Records, as the publishers decided that duration records of this nature were becoming too dangerous and stopped accepting them. There is an online forum dedicated to an examination of a Scrabble gram in Scots-Gaelic that has derived a scheme with 100/104 tiles, with lively discussion of digraphs and diacritical marks. Shockingly, Gaelic is not a legal word in the Scrabble Dictionary! ✍️

The Wordsmiths

Scrabble's journey from a concept to a household staple is as intriguing as the game itself. Invented in 1938 by architect Alfred Mosher Butts, the game was originally called "Lexiko" and later "Criss-Crosswords." Butts based the game on a combination of anagrams and the classic crossword puzzle structure, meticulously calculating the frequency of letter usage in the English language to assign values to each letter tile. However, it wasn’t until 1948, when James Brunot, a game-loving entrepreneur, bought the rights and slightly refined the rules and the board design, that Scrabble truly began to take shape under its now-famous name.

The game's popularity soared in the early 1950s after the president of Macy's discovered it while on vacation and decided to stock it in his store. This led to Scrabble becoming a commercial success, spreading like wildfire and being licensed in over 120 countries and translated into more than 30 languages. Today, it is sold by Hasbro in North America and Mattel in the rest of the world, and it remains a competitive sport as well as a popular leisure activity.

Scrabble has not only been a game but a cultural phenomenon, influencing arts, language, and media. It has been adapted into various formats including television game shows, and it plays a pivotal role in competitive play, with numerous clubs, tournaments, and even a World Scrabble Championship.

Notably, in August 1984, Peter Finan and Neil Smith set a staggering record at St. Anselm's College, Birkenhead, Merseyside, by playing a continuous game for 153 hours. However, this record remains unsurpassed as the Guinness Book of Records later ceased to acknowledge such endurance feats, citing safety concerns!

For more on the latest in scrabble, click the Scottish Country Dance game board!

The Wordsmiths

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Wordsmiths

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