Nearly 80 years ago, during the Great Depression, a man named Alfred Butts found himself without a job and in need of some money. So, he invented a game called Criss-Crosswords. It didn’t do too much for him, but 10 years later a man named James Brunot bought the rights to the game, and changed its name to Scrabble. While Brunot’s endeavor was initially less than financially viable, after four years on the market the game finally took off. Since then, 150 million games have been sold worldwide. Today, there’s a Scrabble board in roughly half of the homes in the U.K., and nearly a third of the homes in the U.S. own one.
In the world of competitive Scrabble, people spend hours memorizing word lists and play strategically, which means they can score some pretty serious points. People around the world play in tournament games hoping to make it to the championships. And yet, three Scrabble records were shattered in one game by Michael Cresta and Wayne Yorra, a couple of guys in Pennsylvania who, by their own admission, aren’t very good at the game.
The 2006 match managed to break the record for most combined points in a game, highest individual score, and most points earned in a single play. The word Cresta played to set the single word record was QUIXOTRY (defined as “behavior inspired by romantic beliefs without regard to reality”). The word snagged him 365 points, thanks to adjacent words and strategic triple score placement. The move was really a matter of luck that most agree wouldn’t have happened in a tournament game because serious Scrabble players wouldn’t have left an opening for Cresta to make such a move.
While 365 points on a single turn is nothing to sneeze at, it doesn’t come close to matching the points for the theoretical highest scoring word you could play in Scrabble: OXYPHENBUTAZONE. A man from Ohio named Dan Stock found the word, which is worth 1,458 points. If you add some specific hooked words to the theoretical board this word is being played on, you can ratchet up the points scored to 1,778, which is 458 points more than the record 1,320 points earned in total during a single game, which was also set in the game between Cresta and Yorra. So, if you manage to somehow play that word, you won’t just be eliciting groans from your fellow players, you’ll be smashing records left and right. And for more fun with words, check out 40 Dumb Wordplay Jokes That Will Crack You Up.
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