SCRABBLE Facts: Butts, Boards & Blasphemies

Butts, Boards & Blasphemies
  • SCRABBLE was invented by Alfred Mosher Butts, an architect in New York, in an attempt to make a word game that combined anagrams and crosswords, which involved chance, luck and a great degree of skill.
  • Together, Butts and game-loving entrepreneur James Brunot, refined the game and made the games by hand, stamping letters on wooden tiles on at a time. They eventually came up with the name SCRABBLE, which means "to grope frantically."
  • Most believe SCRABBLE was invented in 1948 by Butts, but actually, it was trademarked as the SCRABB*LE Brand Crossword Game in 1948. Before that, the game was first entitled LEXIKO in 1931, and then CRISS CROSS WORDS.
  • Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers both rejected LEXIKO in the 1930s.
  • Originally, LEXIKO had just as many letter tiles as SCRABBLE does today, but did not have a board.
  • SCRABBLE v -BLED, -BLING, -BLES to claw or grope about frantically
  • SCRABBLE was first purchased and owned by Selchow & Righter in 1952. Then COLECO Industries (makers of Cabbage Patch Dolls) in 1986. Then Hasbro in 1989.
  • J.W. Spear & Sons, a subsidiary of Mattel, owns the rights outside of North America.
  • Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers are both now owned by Hasbro, and you can find all three names on current SCRABBLE boards (but probably not at the same time). Milton Bradley was bought in 1984, Parker Brothers in 1991.
  • Today, 1 in 3 homes in America contain at least one version of a SCRABBLE game.
  • SCRABBLE ranks as the 2nd best-selling board game in U.S. history, surpassed by Monopoly.
  • Alfred Butts died in 1993 at the age of 93 in his hometown of Rhinebeck, NY.
  • There are 101 2-letter words that can be played in SCRABBLE, which use every letter of the alphabet except C and V. There is also 124 listed in the SOWPODS, which is an anagram of the two acronyms OSPD (Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary) and OSW (Official SCRABBLE Words).
  • A local ordinance in Atwoodville, Connecticut prohibits anyone from playing SCRABBLE while waiting for a politician to speak.
  • SCRABBLE is available in 31 different languages, ranging from Afrikaans to Croatian to Slovenian.
(1) Arabic, (2) Catalan, (3) French, (4) Esperanto, (5) Spanish, (6) Swedish
  • Mary & Matt have produced a sweet dark chocolate snack called Chocolate Scrabble. Sadly, it looks like it is no longer available in their store. :(
  • In 2008, Hasbro tinkered with the idea of adding apostrophes (') and hyphens (-) to the game. A representative from Hasbro's Research and Development Department said to John D. Williams, Jr. (Executive Director of the NSA) during a telephone conversation, "Think about it — with an apostrophe tile, people will now be able to use contractions such as WON'T, DOESN'T and SHOULD'VE, as well as posses- sives such as HOUSE'S" and would help "stretch" words to double or triple word squares.
  • Beginning in 2004, ESPN and ESPN2 have aired the National SCRABBLE Championships and the National School SCRABBLE Championships.
  • Merriam-Webster publishes the Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary which is used for home and school play, along with school clubs and tournaments. They also publish the Official Tournament and Club Word List (without definitions) for all SCRABBLE tournament and club play.
  • MaxiAids.com sells modified SCRABBLE games and tiles for blindness and low vision. Products include: Super Scrabble Deluxe Edition - Modified for Low Vision, Deluxe Braille Scrabble, Deluxe Low Vision Scrabble, Large Print Scrabble Tiles, and Braille Scrabble Tiles.
(1) Deluxe Braille Scrabble, (2) Braille Scrabble Tiles, (3) Deluxe Low Vision Scrabble, (4) Low Vision Scrabble Tiles, (5) Large Print Scrabble Tile Overlays - White on Black, (6) Super Scrabble Deluxe Edition - Modified for Low Vision
"How did you get so many Q's?"
  • Other celebrities known to play SCRABBLE are Sting, Keanu Reeves, Moby, John Travolta, Carol Burnett, Jimmy Kimmel, Kylie Minogue, Mel Gibson, Joan Collins, Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, and Queen Elizabeth II.
  • There are over 4,000 SCRABBLE clubs worldwide.
  • There are various special editions for SCRABBLE, including a few wooden boxed editions, a glass board version, a nostalgic, retro look, a sleek black presentation, a game packed in a book-shaped box, and a version made from 24 karat gold from the Franklin Mint!
  • Over 150 million SCRABBLE games have sold worldwide, in 121 countries.
  • Richard Nixon played SCRABBLE periodically in the White House during his presidency.

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