Crider fell tile, line and triple word score


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The teetering Scrabble scores hardly mattered, not canada goose factory outlet until late into the game when poker faces became tough to preserve.

For a minute straight, Ruth Thomson alternately scrutinized her rack of plastic coated letters, canada goose outlet jackets a calculating expression on Jay Malarcher’s face and the 15 by 15 Canada Goose Coats On Sale square board between them.

Already, an array of words sat on the rotating puzzle, including obscure two letter terms squirreled away in the canada goose outlet new york city minds of Scrabble enthusiasts: canada goose black friday sale OP, OE, ET, XI, XU.

Thomson drum rolled her fingertips, shuffled the seven letters that stared back, pondered her next move. She sighed aloud, anticipating Malarcher’s impending delivery. For the moment, Malarcher kept a slight cheap canada goose edge over canada goose outlet reviews Thomson, who had canada goose factory sale honor at stake namely her 13 win no loss record at Club 497 of the National Scrabble Association.

Since March, Club 497 has gathered Thursdays inside Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church in South Allentown. There, Canada Goose sale Scrabble diehards vie against each other in rounds, with some nights lasting up to four hours. They come from canada goose outlet in usa Easton, Orefield, Emmaus and beyond, armed with lists of quirky albeit acceptable Scrabble words. A canada goose outlet toronto factory few extremists even travel an hour official canada goose outlet on Mondays to play at the next closest club, No. 333 in Exton, Chester County.

Beginners come, as do solid canada goose black friday sale competitors.

Although it’s not just about winning.

Each embraces the challenge of the game that marks its 50th anniversary this year. None are at a loss for words.

At a recent meet, two electric fans mechanically shifted the muggy air lingering in the narrow second floor room. A carafe of coffee brewed in the corner as a few players snagged strands of red licorice to slowly gnaw as they contemplated words.

After initial greetings, 16 players squared off.

With chess clocks ready, each randomly plucked seven tiles from personalized cloth and leather bags. They gabbed about the weather, grandkids, work, a new perm.

Most have played since childhood, attracted by the appeal of the popular game that requires brain crunching wordsmithing and a bit of luck.

They’re hardly alone.

“We come because we love the game,” said club director Sally Crider. “We’re hooked.”

Alfred M. Butts invented a version of the game in 1931. However, it didn’t gain popularity until 1948 when it was trademarked as Scrabble. Eventually Scrabble spread to other countries and was translated into 29 other languages including Braille.

Overall, more than 100 million sets have been sold.

Devotees follow rules set by the National Scrabble Association, the sole group running Scrabble activity in North America. They also memorize the 100,000 words listed in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, including the acceptable two letter words, from “AA” canada goose outlet nyc to “YO” and the nearly two dozen “Q” words that don’t require a U, such as QINDAR and QOPH.

Crider started Club 497, one buy canada goose jacket of more than 500 in the nation, due to the lack canada goose outlet online uk of a local outlet for Scrabble devotees.

A year ago, a friend visiting from South Carolina took her to the Exton club. Crider fell tile, line and triple word score. At the time, a group of Scrabble ites was meeting monthly in Whitehall Township’s Barnes Noble. But it wasn’t an NSA sanctioned club, which would require the leadership of an official director.

So Crider, a reading specialist at Kidspeace, stepped up to the board. Last October, she canada goose clearance took the NSA’s director test. She needed five hours to answer the questions, but she passed.

Soon, Club 497’s inception spread by word of mouth. Crider began hosting competitions in her family room at home. As more players came, canada goose outlet she moved the site to the church.

They follow tournament rules. Two players per round. goose outlet canada Each keeps score. A 25 minute time limit for each Canada Goose online person. A penalty if it’s exceeded. No dictionaries or word lists allowed. No letter exchanges if fewer than seven tiles remain in the bag. A 50 point bonus for a bingo: making a word with all seven tiles.

Elliot Schiff is, perhaps, more Scrabble driven than most others.

How so? He owns an embroidered bag. Juggles his work schedule as a cashier at Giant around his Scrabble nights. Doesn’t miss a Monday in Exton. Memorizes as canada goose uk black friday many words as he can, including the 109 two letter words.

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