I just saw this documentary about the Scrabble tournament circuit...which I recommend with the caveat to some viewers that there's some pretty rough "street" language and a bit of illegal drug use. For one thing, it was comforting to see a film about people who are so odd in such a benign way. For another, it made me want to start reading the dictionary. Not necessarily to improve my Scrabble game. I learned that there is at least a 200 point average difference between me and people who do nothing but play Scrabble. Not long ago I had an informal tournament with one of the smartest people I know in the whole world and beat her in very close matches by taking advantage of her nurturing--motherly, if you will--nature (though it's true I was taking narcotic painkillers at the time) so I think that's really as, um, high as I need to climb in the Scrabble world. But in the universe of words known and unknown I'm feeling like I barely know a few that I tend to repeat over and over.
Here's one I learned in the movie: exordia.
I, and many of us, may be a bit more interested in the meanings of the words than a ranked Scrabble player tends to be, apparently. They have to memorize too many words to bother with definitions most of the time. Also there have been relatively few female Scrabble champions and in the film some of the women interviewed speculate that this may be due to the fact that women just can't bring themselves to care about Scrabble with quite the same obsessive intensity of some of the menfolk. I smell a thesis or dissertation here. Anyone? Anyone?