Friday, 21 March 2008

Death of a Scrabble Master

Death of a Scrabble Master


This was the greatest of the game’s great players:
If you played BRAS, he’d make it HUDIBRASTIC.
He ruled a world 15 by 15 squares,
Peopled by 100 loetters, wood or plastic.
He unearthed EBEC, HAJI, useful QAID,
Found QUOS (see pl. of QUID PRO QUO) and QUOTHA,
Discovered AU, DE, DA all unitalicized
(AU JUS, DA CAPO, ALMANACH DE GOTHA).
Two-letter words went marching through his brain,
Spondaic-footed, singing their slow litany:
AL (Indian Mulberry), AI (a sloth), EM, EN
BY, MY, AX, EX, OX, LO, IT, AN, HE ...
PE (Hebrew letter), LI ( aChinese mile), KA, Re,
SH (like NTH, spectacularly vowellness),
AY, OY ( a cry of grief, pain or dismay);
HAI, HI, HO -- leaving opponents powerless.
He, if the tiles before him said DOC TIME,
Would promptly play the elegant DEMOTIC,
And none but the fulfilled the scrabbler’s dream,
When, through two triple words, he hung QUIXOTIC.
The day his adversary put down GNASHED,
He laid -- a virtuoso feat -- beneath it GOUTIER,
So placed, that six more tiny words were hatched :
GO, NU, AT, SI, then (as you’ve seen, no doubt) HE, ER.
-- Clement Wood

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