I stink at Scrabble. Tucked away in a closet at the house, a box with a deluxe version of the game has been gathering dust for years.
I’m no good at crossword puzzles, either. Never got hooked on them, never mastered their peculiar vocabulary. I have, however, learned the fundamental principle of newspaper journalism: Never mess with the crossword puzzles. The people who like them like them with a frenzy, and they will come at you by the hundreds and thousands if you muck about with their puzzles.
James Thurber and his friends played a version of the word game Ghosts that they called Superghosts. You can read about it in his essay "Do You Want to Make Something Out of It?" in Alarms and Diversions. In Superghosts, as in Ghosts, the players go around a circle, each adding a letter until a complete word is formed; the distinction in Superghosts is that letters can be added at both the beginning and the end. Experienced Superghost players are the kinds of people who would recognize, say, that cklu is the middle of lackluster.
I’d really stink at that.
I know how to spell Vercingetorix. I can edit copy. I can write headlines in a tight count — you try summarizing a 750-word story in five or six words, not one of them longer than six letters. But I am hopeless at all word games.
This comes up because my learned colleagues at the District of Columbia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and The Sun’s diversity committee have scheduled a benefit Scrabble tournament that I will not attend on May 5, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Sun’s Community Room. For details about costs and registration, consult The Sun’s Liz Kay, at email@example.com, or The Washington Post’s Doris Truong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m told that the prizes will be exciting.