“Guetapens” and “Quixotry” – Championship Words!

Game time!

In May, we focused this series on the importance of words in messaging and communication. We’ve traveled from how many words there are in the dictionary to “jazz” being “the word” of last century and to not allowing your words to get lost in translation. We even looked at solving crimes with words.

Now, it’s time for a little fun. Yes, with words.

If the popularity of word games is any indication, it appears that many of us do love to play with words. And that’s a good thing. Experts say that playing word games keeps the mind sharp and increases our vocabulary. On the down side, it prevents us from doing more mundane things, such as the laundry or the dishes, because – come on – what’s more fun? Words or laundry? We choose words every time.

Take actor Alec Baldwin, for instance. He got kicked off a plane when he wouldn’t stop playing the popular “Word With Friends” game on a mobile device.

Oh, we’ve got game, no question. From the venerable Scrabble to Bananagrams, there are a wide variety of word games that challenge and entertain us.


It starts early. Remember playing “Hangman” as a kid? Word games can get quite highbrow. New York Times crossword puzzle anyone? (Don’t do it in pen.)

Annually, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is held and it’s so popular that the finals are broadcast on none other than ESPN. This year’s winner was a San Diego eighth grader, Snigdha Nandipati, who attends Francis Parker School. Her winning word was “guetapens,” which means ambush. Who couldn’t spell that?

Snigdha Nandipati wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee
(Credit: ESPN)

This week’s guest blogger, John Chew, loves word games, particularly Scrabble. This Toronto resident is the co-president of the North America Scrabble Players Association and helps organize Scrabble tournaments.

Scrabble was created at the time of Great Depression and is still going strong. It has even adapted to today’s technological advances. You can play it as a traditional board game as well as on the Internet and mobile devices.

For those who want to take the game into the major leagues, there’s an annual National Scrabble Championship and a World Scrabble Championship held every two years. It’s a game for everyone. For example, the person who has the highest Scrabble score ever is a humble carpenter. Michael Cresta scored an 830, beating the previous high score of 770. One word alone, “quixotry,” notched him 365 points. Here’s a fascinating story on how he did it: http://slate.me/s7Lkk8

Mr. Chew? Well, he holds the distinction of having the highest tied score in a Scrabble tournament. He and his opponent both scored a 502. Tomorrow, we welcome his, well, words and on the fun we have with them.

Michael Stetz, Senior Writer
Collaborative Services, Inc.

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