In New Zealand we play with what is called the 5 point challenge rule. It means that you can challenge one of your opponent’s words and if it turns out to be correct they just get an extra 5 points. Not a very big price to pay. Occasionally you will dislike both the word they play and another word made in the same turn, perhaps by hooking an S on the end of a word already on the board. In that case you can challenge both words, but it will give your opponent an extra 10 points if they both turn out to be correct. Both words have to be challenged at the same time. You are not allowed to challenge one word, and if it is correct, come back to the board and say you would like to challenge another word as well. You only get one opportunity to challenge each turn.
If the word, or one of the words, is incorrect then the person who played that word takes it off the board and loses their turn completely. That is a much more serious penalty compared to 5 or 10 points. That is essentially the philosophy of our rules. It is cheap to challenge, but expensive to be caught out playing an incorrect word.
Our rules are essentially the same as international tournaments, but other countries have their own rules. In Australia they allow completely free challenges. I still remember one obnoxious opponent who made me walk over to the computer and check just about every word I played, just because he could challenge for free. It felt ridiculous. On the other hand the Americans play what is called Double Challenge. Under their rules someone will lose their turn. It makes the tactic of bluffing, playing a word you know is wrong, more attractive. While this is a very exciting rule for play between experts, it isn’t a very good rule to encourage new players to the game.
One of the areas you should always consider a challenge is when an S goes on to the end of an –ING word. It is just so hard to remember which ones take an S and which ones don’t. Some can be very surprising. I still remember a tournament game against Glennis Hale. My first rack was BGINRRY and I was delighted when her first play put an E in the middle of the board allowed me to play BERRYING. That was one away from the bottom Triple Word Score, but neither of us thought BERRYINGS would be a word. At the end of the game Glennis had a bonus word that wouldn’t go anywhere else so she played it after BERRYING out of sheer desperation. It turned out to be a huge, game-winning score.
To show you how difficult it is there are 20 -INGS words in the next list.
10 of them are correct and 10 of them are not. Consider them carefully and see if you can pick out the 10 correct ones. I won’t keep you waiting this time. The answers are at the bottom of this blog
Answers to the last quiz: GUINEAS, OUTSAIL, UNEATEN, ROUTINE, MOUSIER, RIOTOUS, REBUILT, HIRSUTE, BEDOUIN, SOLUNAR
I was ignorant of the last one until about 6 months ago and haven’t had a chance to play yet. I don’t think it can be a new word from the latest update, because Wikipedia gives it a much older origin:
The solunar theory is a hypothesis that animals and fish move according to the location of the moon in comparison to their bodies. The theory was laid out in 1926 by John Alden Knight, but was said to be used by hunters and fishermen long before the time it was published.
If I type SOLUNAR into Google the first match that comes up is:
Tides and solunar charts for fishing in Auckland in 2018
So perhaps the fact that I have never been interested in fishing is the reason the word is unfamiliar to me.
Alright, don’t scroll down to the next part unless you have decided which were the 10 correct words from the -ings list.
The 10 correct words were: CEASINGS, DIETINGS, EBAYINGS, LEADINGS, LORDINGS, RESTINGS, RUSTINGS, SOURINGS, TEASINGS, TRADINGS
So these words were all wrong: ANTEINGS, AUTOINGS, DARTINGS, ERODINGS, EVADINGS, FREEINGS, LEAPINGS, STORINGS, TEARINGS, TERMINGS
Some of those wrong words look quite reasonable to me, particularly LEAPINGS. Whereas EBAYING (to sell something on eBay) looks ugly even before you allow it to take an S. Worthwhile to note that if you have DARTING/TRADING only TRADING can be pluralised.