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Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble

Words with Fiends…

 

The values of the letters in Scrabble were assigned according to the front page of a US newspaper in the 1930s. Is it time the scoring system was updated to reflect today’s usage?

All Scrabble players know that Q and Z are the highest scoring tiles. You can get 10 points for each, in the English language version of the game.

But according to one American researcher, Z really only deserves six points.

And it’s not just Z that’s under fire. After 75 years of Scrabble, some argue that the current tile values are out of date as certain letters have become more common than they used to be…

Read the full, unsettling story at the BBC.

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As we reshuffle our tiles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1950 that a nine-member gang stole $1,218,211.19 in cash, and over $1.5-million in checks, money orders and other securities from the Brinks Building in Boston.  The  largest robbery in the history of United States (at the time), it was quickly known as “the crime of the century”– and as “The Great Brinks Robbery.”  The crew was meticulous, and left almost no clues at the scene; their ingenious plan was to sit on their spoils for six years – time enough for the statute of limitations to expire.  In the end, all nine were arrested– but most of the money was never recovered.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

January 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

Genius, explained…

Recently uncovered evidence suggests that William Shakespeare used marijuana, and now a team of paleontologists want to dig him up to prove it.

Francis Thackeray, an anthropologist and director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, has made a formal request to the Church of England to unearth the playwright.  “We have incredible techniques,” Thackeray told Fox News. “We don’t intend to move the remains at all.”

After determining the identity of the remains, Thackeray’s team hopes to find out more about Shakespeare’s life and even the cause of his death.  “Growth increments in the teeth will reveal if he went through periods of stress or illness — a plague for example, which killed many people in the 1600s,” he said.

Further tests should be able to ascertain if the Bard smoked marijuana.  “If we find grooves between the canine and the incisor, that will tell us if he was chewing on a pipe as well as smoking,” Thackeray explained.

Pipes uncovered in the garden of Shakespeare’s home in 2001 showed evidence of cannabis and cocaine.  “There were very low concentrations of cannabis, but the signature was there,” according to Inspector Tommy van der Merwe, who tested the pipes at South Africa’s Forensic Science Laboratory.

The evidence of cocaine was also very strong.  “The pipes we tested still had dirt in them which preserved the residues inside the stem and bowl,” Van der Merwe said. “The readings we got were the same as if it had tested a modern-day crack pipe.”

Camphor, myristic acid, and quinoline were among other substances detected in the pipes.  “Myristic acid, which is found in nutmeg, has hallucinogenic properties, and camphor, perhaps, was used to hide the smell of tobacco or other substances,” Thackeray noted in 2001.

Sonnet 76 of Shakespeare’s poems contains a reference to the “noted weed.”

Via The Raw Story.

As we wonder if perhaps it was actually Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford who did the dope, we might recall that it was on this date in 1971 that the first ever National Scrabble Championship was held, when Gyles Brandreth had brought together 100 players in London.  Despite this slow start (Scrabble was created by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938), national tournaments sprang up in other countries over the next several years; and a World Championship was established in 1991.

Gyles Brandreth (source)

 

Increase your vocabulary!…

If, as Dr. Johnson suggested, “Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language,”  Wordnik is a veritable Santa’s sack…  One can watch the language evolve before one’s very eyes:

As we mind our p’s and q’s, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1993– a bad day for word games–that both of the broadcast series “Scattergories” and “Scrabble” aired for the last time on NBC, effectively marking the end of the brief vogue for adapting popular board games into television quiz shows (the trend before and after being in the other direction:  television to board)…

Scrabble’s TV logo

Your correspondent is turning to some family business for the next few days, a period during which these missives will likely be more roughly than daily.  Apologies.

Written by LW

June 11, 2009 at 12:01 am

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