I Owe My Scrabble Addiction to an Out-of-work Architect

No relief in our addiction!

My husband and I continue our Scrabble addiction (Confessions of a Scrabble Addict). We played 26 games in January and ended in a tie – 13 games each.  For February we have played a game every day (it’s been bitter cold outside – so what can you do?) and we are still tied at 14 games each.  Guess this means we are both equally smart — or equally dull-witted.

Thank you Mr. Butts!

It’s interesting to me to learn that the game of Scrabble was invented during the Great Depression.  With no work and time on his hands, architect Alfred Mosher Butts decided to do something productive – and he invented the board game of Scrabble.  His goal was to combine the word skills of crossword puzzles (in fact, he first named the game Criss-Cross Words) with the element of chance.

To determine how many of each letter to use in the game and what point value to give them, he studied the front page of The New York Times.  His study found that we use vowels more than consonants, and the vowel “E” is the most frequently used vowel.

Mr. Butt originally made the board and tiles himself and gave them to family and friends for their entertainment.  His attempts to interest games manufacturers led nowhere.  In 1948 one of the couples who had the Criss-Cross Words game convinced Mr. Butts to let them manufacture and market the game – changing the name to Scrabble.

Mr. and Mrs. Brunot received a trademark for the name “Scrabble” in 1948 and, like many new ventures, lost money in 1949 – the first year of production.

The story is (not able to confirm if true) that the president of Macy’s came across the game while on vacation in the early 1950’s and ordered some for his store.  Soon, it was a hit with everyone.

Today it is estimated that over 35 million people play Scrabble.  It is one of the favorite on-line games.

So – after researching the game, I find that I do not have to be ashamed of my addition.  Seems I’m not alone!

So – on we go to March.  Questions remain:

  1. How many games will we play in the month of March?
  2. As warm weather returns, will our addiction ease up – or will our rose and hosta garden suffer from neglect as we continue our obsession with the game?
  3. Will we be able to leave it behind when we go on vacation this summer?

 

 

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