Whether you consider winning at Scrabble a case of extreme luck or supreme spelling ability, here are 10 words that — if conditions are right — will help you trump any opponent.
Definition: An anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis and bursitis.
Conditions: The theoretically highest-possible scoring word under American Scrabble play — as calculated by Dan Stock of Ohio — has never actually been played... and probably never will (unless you're really, really lucky). That's because it has to be played across three triple word score squares and built on eight already-played (and perfectly positioned) tiles.
Definition: To quiz or question.
Conditions: Not only will you need to draw the game's only Q and Z tiles (there's only one of each), but a blank tile, too (in place of the second Z). Play this verb as your first word across two triple word squares with the Z on a double letter score square and you've got the game's most valuable eight-letter bingo.
Definition: An anti-anxiety drug.
Conditions: All that stress will melt away if you can build on one existing letter, play across two triple word score squares, place one of the most valuable tiles (i.e. X or Z) on a double letter score square and net a 50-point bingo.
Definition: The national bird of Guatemala as well as one of its monetary units.
Conditions: Placement is everything to score this whopper of a word: Building on one letter, use all seven letters on your rack for a 50-point bingo, with Q and S on triple word score square and Z on a double letter score space.
Definition: A romantic or quixotic idea or action.
Conditions: In 2007, Michael Cresta used an already-played R and all seven of his tiles across two triple word score squares to earn the most points ever on a single turn, which aided in a second record for the full-time carpenter: The highest-ever individual game score (830 points).
Definition: A small pickle, made from an immature cucumber.
Conditions: In 1985, Robert Kahn paid tribute to the pickle at the National Scrabble Championship in Boston — using an E and R already on the board — to set a record for a non-bingo word score.
Definition: Resembling quartz.
Conditions: "Quartzy" held the record for highest-ever single turn score until "Quixotry" nearly doubled its total in 2007. Play it across a triple word score square with Z as a double letter score, with a 50-point bingo for using all seven letters on your rack.
Definition: A Russian peasant.
Conditions: On its own (with no bonuses or extra points), "muzjiks" is worth an impressive 29 points. But exhaust all of your tiles on your first turn to spell it, and you'll earn more than four times that — which is what player Jesse Inman did at the National Scrabble Championship in Orlando in 2008 to earn the record for highest opening score.
Definition: An alignment of three celestial bodies.
Conditions: Forget trying to pronounce it (though, for the record, it's "SIZ-i-jee"). Instead, just remember how to spell it — and that it's worth 21 points au naturel. You'll need one blank tile to make up for the lack of Ys (there are only two in the game). For a higher total, land the Z on a double letter score square and the final Y on a triple word score square.
Definition: Slang term for pizza.
Conditions: Big words are great and all, but two-letter words can also score big. And be especially annoying to your opponent. Build on two As — one directly below, the other directly to the right of a triple letter square — to spell this two-letter delectable across and down.
More from Mental Floss...
* 31 acronyms spelled out
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- Why insects are the future of food
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
Subscribe to the Week