Words With Wonder
Keith is enjoying one of his extended winning streaks on Monday nights so I'm wondering what sort of tactics he'll bring to the table tonight. He opens with HUNT and I manage to find JEUNE to help clear my vowel-heavy rack. Keith squeezes in RANDIEST for 79 and I'm wondering if he deliberately selected that to try to unsettle me rather than DETRAINS or STRAINED. I vowel dump with GOO, then Keith opens a triple rank for a front-hook to MORE. Though I hold S, I can't use it profitably so I continue balancing my racks for the next three plays of TEFS, QAT and OKAPI. Keith is doing likewise but continues his unsettling tactics by playing *CK on the end of F (you have to guess the vowel). Finally, I decide to snaffle the triple lane opening for 46 points and, while Keith is challenging SMORE, I explain that the word comes from Charles Dickens's novel Oliver – "Please Sir can I have SMORE". I dump OIL and DELLY before finally grabbing the lead with INVITEs. However Keith has the final word when he delivers his coup de grace with DIOPTER, adding that it may also be spelt DIOPTRE..
I'm matched with Val next. As I reach into the bag for my opening draw I complain that I seem to be drawing all the A's. Well you get what you wish for – I've drawn AAANNND ! Just for fun I play ANANA rather than the superior NANNA because I know that this is one of the words that Val is fascinated with. We had previously discussed its front hooks of B, M and Z. I also like it because it's a palindrome. By the end of the game I manage to pick 8 out of the 9 possible A's along with 5 of the 6 N's. However, this helps me play the only bingo of our contest – ZONINgS.
Rene is next up and she soon ambushes me with PODDIES – which you'd think I'd know (iPOD users). I try *STARACE (Italian tennis player) in frustration as I can't find anywhere to play CARATES or ACATERS. After dumping CA I'm able to play SERIATE in the same place though Rene is able to hook her S on the end while playing GaITERS after much shuffling. Her choice paid off since I couldn't fit my bingo alongside. However, after dumping GUM I am fortunate to be able to play BICKErS when she generously creates a front hook opportunity for my S. Picking the J and Q allows me to retain my lead to the end.
The final game was to be against el Presidente Natalie (or should that be elle Presidente?). My luck is in as I am able to play ONEROUS alongside her QADI then GALIOTS (small galleys) 4 moves later beneath her JET, helpfully stating that there is also GALIPOTS, then NOTATEs 6 moves later when Natalie finally opens the board in desperation with COD. In between I contemplate the unplayable DHALIAs to play just DHAL, an Indian dish that may also be spelt DAHL.