(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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Entries in Alec Baldwin (1)


Friends With Words With Friends

Ah, Words with Friends: the addictive touchscreen bastardization of Scrabble that is now so popular that even the most (only?) talented member of the Baldwin family would rather get kicked off a plane than surrender his chance at instant triple-word-score gratification. It is not so much a test of what words you know—even the hard-copy version of Scrabble requires a working knowledge of words on the official Scrabble list—but how well you can make letters fit.

That Alec Baldwin is a handsome man. And he loves him some Words With Friends.It’s annoying for those of us who pride ourselves on the words we already understand. The way the game is designed allows for what I’ll call “soft cheating.” It’s not quite the same as consulting one of the many, uh, helpful sites that can tell you the highest-point word possible in any situation. But the built-in trial-and-error function—there’s no penalty for placing a non-word other than being made to try again—allows you to play your letters until you hit on an acceptable word, which is an all likelihood a word you’ve never seen before (or you would have guessed it in the first place, no?).

But ultimately, I’ve come to embrace “Words with Friends,” not as a test of vocabulary, but as an opportunity to expand it. If not for WWF,* I would likely still not know words like “toxemia” (the presence of toxins in the blood), “quale" (the quality of a thing), or for that matter “ai” (a three-toed sloth).

*Not to be confused with the WWF,** without which I would likely not know words like “sleeper hold” or “Hulkamania.”

**Not to be confused with the WWF, without which I would likely not know words like “endangered species” and “giant panda.” Okay, I probably would.

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