Smashed to Smithereens
On a rainy Monday night, what better activity would there be than a few games at the Wollongong home of Scrabble, Collegians Football Club ? The W.O.R.D.S. choir were still on a high after their rapturous reception following their rendition of “When the WORDS Come Out to Play” at last Saturday's Revesby tournament – ASPA’s first singing invitation to a Scrabble tournament (as far as we know).
My first game was against Lila and I had a QUIET start for 42 points, soon followed by LAITIES for 68 points. A well-placed GON(E)F netted me a cool 53 points followed by a TIPS for 45 points which finally won me the lead. “All downhill from here” one would think, but there was a nasty surprise for me when on Lila’s 11th move she hesitatingly announced that she “might as well try this word”. Starting with an already played S she placed M then I then T then H – “SMITHIES ?” I thought to myself – then continued with E, R then S to spell SMITHERS. “That’s a long shot” I blurted out as I checked it on the challenge computer. To my utter surprise the computer replied “Allowed” and Lila netted a cool 92 points to take out the High Word prize for the night of a $1 scratchie. I was so stunned that I never recovered and whimpered to a loss. Later, I consulted the dictionary to discover that it means “small fragments” so I guess I was smashed to smithereens. BTW, MITHERS is allowable but not *SMITHER.
The match against Keith went better for me. We had some amusing (s)wordplays – he played CRIMS then QUEER later, which I extended to QUEERS when I got down AlSOOnE followed by LUSTY. Prior to that bingo I held HODAddY on my rack with nowhere to play.
My third match against Natalie was quite remarkable for the exchange of amazing comeback plays. My start was dreadful as I rid myself of a surfeit of vowels – AULOI, AERO, TRIER, (C)ANOE. Meanwhile, Natalie had balanced her tiles for DUsTING to jump to a 112 point lead. I needed a bingo immediately from my rack of AIOGNRS. SOARING wouldn’t go down anywhere but I found IGNAROS with my I placed just three squares away from the top right-hand TWS. As luck would have it, Natalie was able to place her J in the DLS to reach the TWS with J(I)VY for a 75 point reply. *#$^!@. Reloading my rack, with EIOGLW? I saw GrOWLI(E)R but wasn’t prepared to risk it as a comeback play. I selected LOWErI(N)G instead which placed the O three squares south of the top centre TWS. “What are the chances of Natalie profiting from that opening again?” I wondered. The answer was as swift as it was deflating – BO(O)ZE with the Z hitting the DLS for a resounding 78 point reply to take out the Highest Scoring Non-Bingo $2 scratchie prize. The funny thing was that Natalie told me she chickened out on extending BO(O)ZE with her D to get 84 points (and also block my future bingo play). I was now 120 points behind despite playing consecutive bingos ! I was desperately working out how I might use my X profitably while scoring another two bingos needed to catch the gleeful Natalie. I could only get NIX for 30 to prevent her from gobbling up a dangerous TWS spot but soon managed TARRIES (should have played TARSIER). Another bingo was required and I found myself holding SHUNTED with only the TARR of TARRIES to play through. It turns out that there is no solution though I tried *HAUNTEDS and *STARRIES in desperation with the last one securing me a win if it was allowable. At least I made someone happy :(