Wednesday, February 08, 2006

After I zoquou, I like to ushnuu

I like playing Scrabble. Moving letters around to form words and find a place on the board appeals to me.

Growing up, we would always joke about the seemingly made up words that were found in the Scrabble dictionary. Words like XI and XU could be huge point-getters, especially when placed on a triple letter score going in two directions. And for those of you wondering what they mean, one of them is a chinese unit of measure and one is a measure of distance.

Two letter words are one of the keys to Scrabble success. A JO is a sweetheart, and AI is a three toed sloth.

The Fourth Edition of the Scrabble Dictionary was published in 2005, and with it, over 4000 new words. Some words make sense, like email. Blog, Blogger and Blogging made the cut as well. But their were two words I was really disappointed to see in the dictionary.

ZA, which the dictionary defines as Pizza, and QI, whose definition escapes me, were added to this edition. I have ordered pizza, eaten pizza, talked about pizza, and listened to others talk about pizza for many yeards. Never have I heard anyone refer to it as ZA. It seems that the guardians of Scrabble wanted to add a two letter word for both Z and Q.

Z and Q are the two highest scroing individual letters. Part of the reason for their high point value is that they are rare; there is only one of each in the game (There is also only one J (8 pts), X (8) and K (5). But they also have the high point total becaseu they sued to be difficult to unload. You could only put out a Q if you had a U as well (unless you read through the older versions of the dictionary and were familiar with words like QAID and QAT). The Z was difficult to use as well, although not as tough as the Q to unload. But now, with the addition of easy-to-place words, the letters are too easy to get rid of, and therefore, should be lowered to 8 points, just like the J and X.


Blogger Ger Tzadik said...

I have heard "Za" waaaay too many times. I think this may be an exclusively West Coast thing, since I never heard it once while growing up back east.

I have also noted that people who call it Za have absoutely no idea what a real slice of pizza should be. The whole New York vs. Chicago argument holds no water on the West Coast because they can't even get average done right.

February 08, 2006 3:23 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

how would you use Za in a sentence? Lets get a slice of Za?

Why are people on the left ocast in such a hurry to get their pizza? All they are going to do is sit in traffic with their slice of Za.

February 08, 2006 3:32 PM  
Blogger Ger Tzadik said...

Yup, that's exactly the expression. "Let's get a slice of Za." or "Let's get a Za." The latter one gets me mad. There's already a shorthand, single sylable way to express this thought. We call it a PIE. Let's get a PIE.

My friend thinks this was actually born out of surfer culture in Hawaii (where Pizza is surprisingly popular) and spread to California. Surfers are not good with polysylabic words.

February 08, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

If I remember correctly, it was shower and towel off.
Used in a family ties episode.

February 09, 2006 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pie is not quite monosyllabic. ie is a diphthong.

za on the other hand...

February 09, 2006 4:00 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I was wondering if anyone was going to know where that line was from.

February 09, 2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger The Zwicker said...

My backyard neighbor has used the word "za" to refer to pizza for many years. Of course, we all know that he says plenty of ridiculous things.

February 09, 2006 11:03 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

your backyard neighbor eats dairy?

Or is that Black Jack?

February 09, 2006 2:49 PM  
Blogger The Zwicker said...

My neighbor. Blackjack is a hot dog dog, although sometimes he gets so excited that he eats the buns before the meat gets to the table.

February 10, 2006 6:19 AM  
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