Really good Scrabble players can apparently decode AAAGMNR immediately. I guess I am not a really good Scrabble player because I had to work at it. I was stuck on MANAGAR for quite awhile, thinking it could be some version of manager or have something to do with eating from the French word manger. It’s not MANAGAR. (Loyal readers may wish to pause here to decode AAAGMNR. The answer is provided in this blog entry and I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun.)
There are more than two thousand active tournament level Scrabble players in the United States and some of them will meet in Scottsdale, AZ over the President’s Day weekend. While their competition definitely intrigues me, I’m just a recreational player and I’m not foolish enough to think I belong there.
Seven-letter words that use all of a player’s Scrabble tiles are known as bingos because they earn the player fifty bonus points, in addition to the score of the word that is played. Bingos from last year’s tournament include:
seringa - a Brazilian tree
imphees - African grasses
caseose - a water-soluble protein
I can recognize that each of these words contains an “s” and assume that the players were probably able to find a place for them on the board by making a plural of another word. Still, these bingos are not anywhere in my vocabulary and these players are clearly out of my league.
That’s not to say that I don’t share the tournament level players’ passion for the game. It would be nice to recognize in an instant that AAAGMNR can be played as ANAGRAM, but I think I got the same thrill out of figuring it out, even if it did take me a little bit longer. I probably even have a greater sense of accomplishment because I had to work a little harder to get it.