Last week, I posted a Scrabble riddle posed by my buddy Tony. Here’s the riddle again:
Specify a word that cannot be played under any circumstances in a Scrabble game.
If you still want to take a stab at the riddle, follow the link above to see the complete rules. Now, SPOILER ALERT – answers are below!
There are two ways to get this right. First, the board is only 15 tiles by 15 tiles. So, any word over 15 letters is unplayable. I failed to come up with any such words, but my buddy Dan quickly fired back the longest “non-coined and nontechnical” word in the English language: antidisestablishmentarianism. My rugby buddy Luke noted that many chemistry/biology terms will exceed 15 letters (Luke is my go to guy for many science questions, such as my concerns about bug-based food dyes). Another college rugby teammate (Pipes) sent along supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which is the right idea as well, if maybe not a “real” word.
The second approach is a word with too many of a certain letter(s). For example, there’s only one z tile and two blanks, so any word with four z’s will be unplayable. After puzzling for a few hours, I came up with pizzazz. I posed the riddle to my wife Julie, and she uncovered pizzazz instantaneously (just when I was feeling smart . . . ). Pizzazz does seem a little obvious in hindsight, and it can be spelled with just three z’s. Tony had a much more original solution: knickknack. Honorable mention goes to fellow blogger Stats in the Wild who managed a two q word — equivoque — which would be unplayable if not for the blanks. Another avenue is a word that combines multiple rare letters (jazz, quiz, quixotic), but I haven’t come up with one that works yet. There must be a seven s word out there too.
If you have more entries (no googling . . . ), send them my way.