Slaver

An excellent and unusual word appeared on the table during tonight’s epic game of Lexicon: ‘SLAVERY’. Shana was delighted to have found it amongst her cards.

As most of our readers (that’s both of you, then πŸ™‚ ) will know, ‘slavery’ is usually pronounced with what is called a long ‘a’, as in whale, kale, or ale. And it is usually linked with the heroic efforts of Little Billy Wilberforce to outlaw it.

I, however, took one look at Shana’s offering and set off upon a road entirely less frequently traveled.

‘”Slavery”,’ I said. ‘What a super word!’

I had, as if you hadn’t guessed by now, deliberately pronounced (spat out, if you prefer) the word with a short ‘a’, thus alluding to the adjectival form of the noun ‘slaver’, with a totally different meaning: that of drooling or dribbling saliva. Many dog owners will be familiar with their slavery or slavering pooches. Some older cats also slaver at times, but I’m afraid I just can’t bring myself to believe such nonsense πŸ™‚

So there we are: Shana showing her social conscience, and I showing my preoccupation with dribble. Like to have seen old Wilber trying to ban that for sure πŸ™‚

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Battleship Lexicon

Yesterday, in the annals of our regular games of Lexicon, was a red letter day. Not one, but two ten-letter words. This is the highest to which one can aspire in Lexicon, and, frankly, it makes Channel 4’sΒ Countdown and all its mere nine-letter words look somewhat lacking πŸ™‚

First one was mine, although I spotted it only after I had already put out half my letters. If I had shuffled the cards a little longer maybe I would have got there. But as it was, my word TRICOLOURS was, alas, Β as anglers would call it, ‘the one that got away’.

Shana was more alert and managed to blow me out of the water in the final game of the evening, by coming up with BATTLESHIP. Yes, she did use what we sometimes call the Joker to stand for one of the T’s, but it was a cracker of a word to end on.

Note to self: Must hide that Joker card…

Huer Missus

For as long as we can remember (though do bear in mind that often I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast the same day πŸ™‚ Β ) Shana and I have been playing each other at Scrabble and, more recently, Lexicon.

The trouble with playing too intensively though, is that sometimes you can sort of go blank, albeit temporarily.

I blame all those notorious two-letter words that Scrabblers find essential. Poor Shana was left scratching her head a few weeks ago, agonising over whether one particular word was permitted. She even spelled it out to see if that might help.

“S-O. No I’m not sure. I’ll have to look it up.”

“Of course it’s allowed,” I said. Β “It’s ‘So’, the well known conjunction, as in the sentence ‘I didn’t score enough points, so I lost the game’.”

“Oh, that ‘so’,” said Shana. “Sorry. Forgot.”

“Easily done,” I said, pencilling a quick note on the back of the scoresheet for future reference.

The other major problem with word games is that sometimes you want to look something up, either for an exact definition, or for its interesting etymology. And it’s so easy to get sidetracked and end up reading the dictionary instead.

Sometimes though, that’s when you discover fascinating words. Like tonight’s Word of the Evening: ‘Huer’.

Here’s what the dictionary tells us. A huer is, and I quote: ‘A pilchard fisherman’s lookout man’. Apparently, a huer would stand on a clifftop and would signal to his fisherman friends on their boat at sea, where shoals of herring or pilchards could be found. For some reason it’s easier to spot them at a distance rather than when you’re sailing right next to them.

Anyway, huer was never on the list of options during careers advice day at school back in the Dark Ages. Shame that, because if it had been I might have found my lifelong vocation.

Lexicon ten

At last, it has finally happened. Β This evening I got my first ten-letter word in one of our regular games of Lexicon. No letter changes, no relying on the Master Card to stand for a letter of my choice. Just ten cards straight out, spelling a valid word: ‘HOSPITALER’. This is defined as a member of a charitable religious order, if you were wondering.

Shana was a tad peeved, as it was she who had dealt the cards out. In the end it cost her a shade over sixty penalty points. We don’t include audio files on this blog, but you can imagine here an appropriately melancholy tune played on the violin πŸ™‚

Oh, and as well as being peeved, Shana was also a trifle miffed, because she recently made a lovely pink crocheted card case in which to keep our Lexicon deck. ‘It will bring me luck,’ she said hopefully. Famous last words, alas, Famous last words… πŸ™‚

On and on and Lexicon

We have been playing Lexicon for about two months now and it shows no signs of getting dull. Incredible as it may sound, this evening was the first time in dozens of games that either of us has actually put down a ten-letter word (ie, all ten cards at once). We’ve had plenty of sevens and managed nine a few times, but it’s surprising how elusive that ten has been.

Oh, and it was yours truly who got it πŸ™‚

The word? VARIATIONS.

To be fair, I didn’t get the full word straight out from the deal. (We’re still waiting for that humdinger). I did get the Master card, which can represent any letter and which I designated as an I. And on my first turn I swapped a T for the A that was lying next to the spare card pile, thus making my ten-letter winner.

Both Shana and I have, by contrast, already both suffered from the trauma of losing ten cards’ worth of points. In my case it totted up to a total of 70, which put me fairly and squarely out 😦

Meanwhile, Scrabble is gathering dust on the bookshelves. Maybe one day…