In this zany, one-of-a-kind memoir, former executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association John D. Williams Jr. brings to life the obsessions, madness, and glory of the SCRABBLE® culturefrom living-room players to world champions.
Beginning his career on a lark as a freelance contributor to SCRABBLE News, John D. Williams fell down a rabbit hole inhabited by gamers, geeks, and the grammar police. For twenty-five years, as the executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association, Williams served as the official spokesperson for the game, and as the middleman between legions of fanatical word-game fans and the official brand. Now Word Nerd takes readers inside the byzantine, dog-eat-dog world of top tournament players, creating a piquant (seven-letter word, 68 points!) work that is part pop-cultural history, part anthropological study. Indeed, what Christopher Guest did for the world of dog shows in his film Best in Show, Williams does for the world of competitive word games in this funny and perfectly observed memoir.
As readers will discover, Word Nerd explores anagrams, palindromes, the highest-scoring SCRABBLE plays of all time, the birth of the World SCRABBLE Championship, as well as many of the more colorful figures that inhabit this subculture. Die-hard word fans will find invaluable tips on how top players see their boards and racks to come up with the best play, how they prepare, and the psychology of tournament competition. Those uninitiated in the mysteries of SCRABBLE mania will find a delightful, madcap memoir about all the fun people have with language and how words shape our lives and culture in unexpected ways.
Whether reminiscing about past national champions, detailing the controversy over efforts to purge the Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary of all offensive words, opining on the number of vowelless words that are allowable (cmw for a Welsh deep-walled basin or nth for the ultimate degree), noting how long it takes a word to get into a dictionary, or explaining why there remain more male than female champions, Williams crafts a loving tribute to words and the games people play with them. Word Nerd will fascinate both amateurs and seasoned experts alike.
|Publisher:||Liveright Publishing Corporation|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
John D. Williams Jr. served as the executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association, acting as the official national spokesman for the game, and is the coauthor of the best-selling Everything SCRABBLE®. He lives in Greenpoint, Long Island.
Table of Contents
1 The Game Begins 1
2 Opening Moves 7
3 How a Word Gets into the Dictionary 17
4 Wash Our Mouths Out with Soap 29
5 How I Became a Player 37
6 Media Time 53
7 The World Joins In 63
8 Man vs. Machine 93
9 The School Scrabble Program 99
10 School Scrabble Makes the Grade 115
11 Scrabble Hits TV 125
12 Going Hollywood 139
13 Jimmy Kimmel Spells It Out 147
14 Wordplay 157
15 Are Men Really Better than Women? 167
16 The End Game 179
17 After Words: Afterwards 193