It's been a sad night for me with the shocking death of American icon, Michael Jackson. (I KNOW, CRAZY! It's not like he knew me or anything, but I DEFINITELY felt like I knew him.) Anyway, I was glued to the TV waiting for word about his condition until a little past six, so I was late getting to Scrabble club.
The way it works is that when you win the intermediate division, Joel makes you play in the expert division. (I presume this is to learn ya to be all cocky about going 4-0. "You think you're so great at Scrabble? Prove it.") I missed last week due, as I expressly wrote, NOT TO FEAR, but work. WORK.
Of course, I was hoping Joel had forgotten about me and my winningness when I showed up tonight. And indeed, he paired me with Judy Rosenthal, a strong -- but definitely still quite in my division player.
She crushed me. About eight minutes in, I was wondering if I shouldn't raise my hand and remind Joel that I'm supposed to be playing experts. Hell, if I'm going to take a whupping, at least let me be able to say it was by the hands of former Scrabble champions or, you know, people with FOUR digit ratings. Facepalm. (Not to take anything away from Judy, who is a great player, that is probably underrated because she can't play multi-day tournaments due to Sabbath restrictions.) Anyway, I didn't even bingo in that game and my highest scoring play might have been some 30 pointer. Humiliating.
Oh well, I'd get matched up with some newbie and crush him. That'd make me feel better.
Joel remembered all right and on my next pairing I was kicked upstairs to face the big boys.
I walked over to THE EXPERT TABLE and sat down.
"You're first, hon."
My rack was aeefiln. I knew I was going to lose, so I wanted to just get the pain over with: I played the longest word I could find: finale for like thirty. She comes back with flout for 8! WHAT?
My rack is an ugly gmpy?ew I play gamp through the a in finales.
Who has two thumbs and has been studying threes to make fours? THIS GUY!
I am leading. She makes another like silly dump play. I forget what I did next, but it opened up a triple line and she took it.
I just could not find a workable rack for my blank and just kept fishing.
I fell behind.
Finally, I bingoed with santera. She goes "nice play." I'm all, whatever dude.
I draw the second blank! Yay.
There are no open spots. I try to open one by playing "pun" through a u leaving a nice front ess hook for myself.
I draw great ne for a rack of: aennst? I have neatens or tanners (also inanest/stanine but they wouldn't play. Word had to end in ess.)
Of course, THIS IS EXPERTS. She played coins right through my clever, clever front hook setup and stuck an unhookable cee right up my craw! Stupid experts.
I dumped an enn.
Still nothing, I fished again burning three letters and drew uxo. DUDE.
I actually managed a nice find of "luxe" on the TWS.
I was down by forty and my final rack was aaeint? The board was closed, so no easy entasia/taenias for Dawn.
Oh no. THIS IS EXPERTS, DAMMIT!
She was not very good about time management, so I had tons of time on my clock and I took it. I had to bingo out to win.
I saw I had space to the right of the l in luxe to bingo all the way across to hit the other TWS.
Something with an El?
It looked very much like my entailer rack from last time when I tried "lineeater" -- but it didn't play. Neither would the anagrams. Back to work. I had room around the ell. Something starting with an a.
So I sat there and just did permutations of words starting with al, shifting each of my other tiles in the third position and so on until something clicked.
It wasn't pretty and took A LONG time (I could hear the lady sighing, but whatevs, that's my clock!) Finally: ALIENATE!
I wrote it out to make sure it was the word I was thinking of cause, I didn't want another Zeroxing incident! NOT IN EXPERTS! That's Intermediate play.
I played my word! And she goes "oh, good find. 16 points and you get 14 from me...okay, I win by 11."
And I'm all "uh, no...that's a bingo. It's worth 60 points, I win by 20. Nice try."
I guess she was having a bad night cause she left right after that.
My next expert game was against a mid 1400 player. He was an asian kid, who spoke English with a thick accent. My opening rack was an unplayable JNTZSWV I dumped the whole mess and drew eeinrt. I knew there were a BUNCH of bingoes in that rack, but I could only find one: trienes. (YES, I KNOW! entries, entires, blah blah MICHAEL JACKSON DIED, people! AND JOEL WAS MAKING ME PLAY EXPERTS!) Anyway, kid opens with nog. Now, I'm flustered I KNOW eeinorts is a word. I KNOW IT. I take FOREVER looking. Finally, I give up and just play trienes under the no in nog.
He then freaking bingoes with exiling under my bingo under nog.
I dump two letters, HE BINGOES AGAIN COYOTES. NO BLANKS OR NOTHING. JUST, Oh look a Y two ohs and a C? Okay, coyotes here YA GO! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I am flustered. I play "Ho" down the oy in coyotes for a stupid 20 points. Stupid because now I'm shutting down the board even though I am WAY behind. You know what he does then?
HE PLAYS ZORIL with the zee on the DLS and the ell on the DWS through my oh. MY OH! 52.
I might have burst out laughing at that point. Or I burst out laughing when I made my next move for a stupid 6 points. (I had drawn the blank and was fishing/trying to open the board. My rack was now ailrtv? The only thing I saw was travail and it didn't play. Then the kid plays venger with the vee right under the triple word line! ARE YA KIDDING ME???? WOOOOO. I LOVE EXPERTS.
BLAMO, I play my travail/avenger. I then reorder the tiles so that my real a was on the DLS instead of the blank. This move evidently flusters the kid.
"What did you say the blank was?"
He holds me.
I am now worried that travail is one of those stupid "sticky ess" words. Uh oh. What was I thinking! THIS IS EXPERTS!
He challenges the play. I am sad.
Larry says it's good!
I am happy!
The kid says he thought I was originally playing "trivial" using the blank as an i(didn't even SEE that possibility) so when I moved the natural a after the tr, he thought I had misspelled the word and challenged.) I capitalized HUGE. Making a 48 point play with paw on the TWS at the bottom of the board.
He couldn't come back and I won by 24! he sat there holding his head for a long time and then said "I had back to back bingoes and zoril...how did I do this? Why did I challenge?"
I tried to make him feel better by saying "yeah, I do that all the time too. Now I prefer when I'm playing from behind in a game, that way I can't blow my lead."
I guess he did not find that comforting because then he said "Your opening rack? The word you were looking for is oneriest," and he walked away.
I was matched up with my last expert. This guy was wearing the fancy little Jewish hat and was evidently like 1500 at one point.
He opened with WRING.
I had a bunch of crap, but like good crap. Good letters that together, were crap ZEPFYSR I looked at prez, but it seemed like a waste of a zee. PLaying zeps looked like a waste of an ess. So I went with "fe" and hoped for the best. I picked up another ess and a tee. Doh.
I eventually played "spry/wrings" Using my spry he played amity all the way down to the TWS for 54 points. Ouchy. I always forget that words can be played horizontally! It's a flaw.
I decide to play zg through the i in amity with the zee and gee on DLS.
He plays wealth and then I see an amazing play. Under my zee in zig I play jato with the Jay on the TLS! It was so sick!
He plays vender, which I almost challenge (whew. It's good.) I play ho, he bingoes with continues (JEEBUS!) He is leading, I have the blank and my rack is beeirs? I see berries, but no where to play it. I look for something through the ess in continues, but seeing nothing I decide to take a 5 point play of reb and open up the board for myself. He doesn't block and I play olestra. HE INSTA CHALLENGES.
"That's a company!" and he hits the clock. I say nothing.
He yells "challenge! challenge!"
Joel comes over barely looks at the board and goes "it's good. Wait, what's the blank?" I roll my eyes.
It's a zee.
I win the challenge, draw the x play it on a TLS square going two ways! He does something, I play leer. As soon as I hit the clock, I was look "dangit! Why did I just hang an AR on the triple lane???"
But he played ulu for 3 way away from it and I drew: airline. WOOOOO
That was essentially the game.
Set em up, knock em down. Three experts, three victories!
Have I mentioned? I love Scrabble!