Score points with power words


Published: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 3:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 12:00 a.m.
In the beginning, there was the lottery. It was the path to untold riches. If you played once a week, you had a chance to win as much as 10 or even 20 million dollars. Then came the power ball. This new and improved lottery made it more difficult to win, but if you did, you were then taking a shot at 50 or even 100 million dollars. The beginning Scrabble player wants to simply score points. Word placement and combinations do not matter. As the player advances, they learn that if they put together certain high-point tiles in short productive words, then each play would be a point's bonanza. Enter the era of power words.
The letter J has some power words that we all know: JAW, JOW and JAB being a few of them. Here are a few that you may not know. The word HAJ is a variant of the word HADJ, which is the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca. A JIN or DJIN are alternative spellings of JINN, which is a supernatural being in Muslim mythology. The power of these words comes not just from the points they award, but their use of letters like W, B and N, which can hook to virtually any vowel.
The letter X also has many power words that are well known such as BOX and FAX. A PYX may be unfamiliar to you but it is the container in which the eucharistic bread is kept. Properly placed, the word KEX, a dry hollow stalk, can add extra points to your score.
Z is the one letter that many players like to have on their rack early. There are so many high-playing opportunities that you can be patient and choose the one that is best for the game you are playing. Here are some not so typical three-letter z words. A ZEK is an inmate in a Soviet prison camp. A ZAX is a tool for cutting roof slates. An ADZ is similar in meaning to ZAX in that it is a cutting tool. BIZ, short for business, and BIZE, an alternative spelling for BISE, which means a cold wind, are two more power words you should know.
These words will use your high-point tiles to their fullest potential. As your Scrabble vocabulary increases, you will be able to find many other combinations for these high point tiles and create your own power words. Use them wisely and you will hit the Scrabble jackpot.
Gainesville club Mo Alim, 3-0, 415; Guerry Smith, 3-0, 374; Mark Gooley, 2-1, 396; Chris Medved, 2-1, 383; Marie Gier, 2-1, 360; Ellen Blottman, 2-1, 324.High series, Alim, 1,245; high game, Alim, 463; high play, Cathy O'Sickey, 102 (squillae).
The Gainesville Scrabble club meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW at 1150 Waldo Road. Weekly dues are $2. Call O'Sickey at 336-0690 for details.
Lake Area club Marie Gier, 3-0, 362; Geeke Lossing, 2-1, 340; Irene Van Sise, 2-1, 331. High series, Gier, 1,085; high game, Gier, 390; high play, Gier, 90 (emulator).
The Lake Area club meets at the Melrose Public Library Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Call Blottman at 473-5588 or Lossing at 475-2956 for information.

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