Sunday, September 17, 2006


Is it possible for a game of scrabble to end in deadlock? To construct a network of letters so dense, so intricate, that no further words can be connected to it? That despite the fact that there are still letters left in the bag (and no matter how often the contestants replace their letters) the game can go no further?

I imagine two people sitting across the table from each other, staring at the letters in front of them, realising they have run out of words.



Anonymous said...

If you do, in fact, really think about such things, you may want to check out the book "Word Freak" by a guy named Stephen Fatsis. At least I think that's his name. It would be right up your alley.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Of course this happens. Or were you being allegorical?


Szerelem said...

J.A.P beat me to it. It does happen. Often, at that.

n said...

First it sounded scary. then i thought, people being people, would bend the rules. Tehy'ds take back a few words, or crunch some together to open up a corner. Maybe under the new rules, new words are to be created by shifting the letters of an existing one. It would become a bigger challenge, inventing the rules as you go along

The Man Who Wasnt There said...

mmm...Well I mean I know the 'problem statement' is not explicit enough and can be susceptible to various interpretations..but then really assume the 'language' as a limited and closed system...? The game only ends if you play 'within' the this case it would be to use 'words' which are in the dictionary (long time since I played scrabble but the times I played dictionary overruled all our creativity..)
Anyway what if the dictionary had only one word to start with? what if it had no 'words' at all? Then is the game actually over before it has begun?

Ok prima facie the above looks like random rambling but it just might have a point :p

Anyway today was a surprising 'revelation'( well at the risk of hyperbole!) about your identity...I would have never EVER guessed what connotation your name year dammit and I was wrong on one vital thing!! (I will never ever forgive myself for that one preconceived notion which led me astray!)

Anyway let me just say the next time I stir the COFFEE with the SPOONS it will never be the same again...:)

km said...

Please. I have enough aggression problems with Scrabble as it is :)

Falstaff said...

anon: Thanks. Will look it up.

JAP / Szerelem: Really? It's never happened to me. Sure, sometimes one player will get with a bunch of letters he / she can't do anything with, but all players at the same time? And not being able to find any way to make any more words no matter how often you change your letters?

n: no, no! SCRABBLE is sacred. You can't just go around making up rules. Next you'll be telling me that it's okay to wake up one morning and decide that murder is okay.

Man who wasn't there: Yes. Or you could just switch to a different language. ZQWVYJAS - Triple Word Score - Polish Expression roughly translated as "Hah! Sucker!"

km: With scrabble? really? You mean other than the usual annoyance of having to play with people who haven't spent months memorising the scrabble dictionary?

Swathi said...

ah,scrabble and dead lock, i get into it often, but then the computer wins...

Supremus said...

It does happen. Have been in a game like that twice.

It sounds wierd that such a situation can arise, but sometimes there is just nothing a player can do - there are just so many 2 letter-words left hehe!


Arnold said...

It actually happens quite often when there are just a couple of letters left. I think it would be more interesting to figure out what's the maximum possible number of letters unplayed when such a situation occurs.