Hooking A Big Fish
Sometimes you can score well, not with a bonus word, but by taking a smaller score to set yourself up for a hook that only you can take advantage of and then using that hook next time to get a big score. Sometimes that can be when you have the last S in the bag, but unless the blanks are gone as well there is always the danger of your opponent placing their bingo their using a blank as an S.
A set up for one of the big 5 which have no 2nd letter is a lot safer because even if your opponent has a blank it is unlikely that making the blank specifically that letter will make a bingo and it won’t be worth them playing it if it is not a bingo because it doesn’t score nearly as many points for the blank.
Let me give you an example – Imagine your rack is an uninspiring IIIKNPW
An uninspiring collection. Certainly you are not contemplating playing a bingo, but just imagine that there is a letter D on square *D5* where your opponent has just played a word starting with D going down the board.
One possibility is to play the word KIWI starting at *A4*. That gives you a very respectable 38 points, but it does put the K on the edge of the board and it is very likely that your opponent will use it to get a similar score.
A more interesting possibility is to simply play IWI from the square *B4*. That scores 18 points but it leaves you the chance to play PINK using your remaining letters next time and that scores a whopping 61 points. If one of the letters you picked up was a Y, that would be 73 points for PINKY, as good a score as most bingos!
It is true that your opponent may block the spot in other ways, but often they will have more attractive plays elsewhere and they will not know for sure that you have the K. You may have just been dumping the IWI without the K hoping that your opponent didn’t have the K, after all there is only one of them. Another reason that your opponent might not want to go in that spot is that plays in that area might open up the triple word squares in other ways which could be expensive for them even when you never had the K in the first place.
Scrabble is an interesting game of strategy, not just of word knowledge.
So we need to have a look at some words that only hook one of the big 5 and no other letters. I will give you the meanings as well, but only for the longer word that includes the hook.
K – BAR Unit of atmospheric pressure
K – IWI Flightless bird
K – NUR Knot of wood
K – NUT Man who is a swell or dandy
K – RAI An administrative district in Russia
K – YAR Fibre obtained from coconut husks
K – LUGE To fix by clumsy, makeshift methods
K – LUTZ Clumsy person
K – NAVE Dishonest man
K – NOWN Something which is understood
K – NURL To make grooves or ridges
K – NURR Knot of wood
K – OMBU Japanese seeweed
K – VELL To be happy
K – VETCH To complain
K – YANG Tibetan wild ass
K – ALONG Fruit bat
K – ENTIA Type of palm tree
J – ALAP Mexican plant
J – IMMY To pry open with a crowbar
J – UNCUS Rush-like plants of the genus juncus
X – YLEM Woody tissue in trees or planys
Q – UEY Heifer
Z – AIDA Jewish grandfather
Z – HOMO Female offspring of a cross between a yak and a cow