In a Tight Pinch

On Monday night I played Antonia and she started the game with VIG. With mostly consonants on my rack I played PINCH using her I.

That left an interesting position where I was wondering what 4 letters I could add to PINCH to get to the triple word score. So before you move on to the rest of the blog have a think about what words you would be willing to try playing.

P I N C H ? ? ? ?

In our actual game I cost myself two missed turns because I had a B. First I tried putting 'bars' to get down to the triple word score . It looks unusual, but I was pretty sure that a pinchbar was another word for crowbar. it was challenged off, but a check on the internet later that night proved that I was correct.

Crowbars are also called pinch bars and pry bars, but only CROWBAR is allowed at scrabble. You can also use it as a verb. If you opponent plays BARRING you might get a chance to turn it into CROWBARRING. Wouldn’t that be nice?

So, having lost one turn, I picked up an L and decided to try extending pinch with 'able'. After all if a car thief saw that you had left your keys in the ignition wouldn’t he consider your car to be pinchable? Apparently not. I got another red screen and another word challenged off.

So how did you go with the challenge? Did you try either of those words?

THE ANSWERS

The only easy legitimate word is also the lowest scoring at 54 points:

PINCHINGS Acts of pinching

Coming in slightly better at 57 points is:

PINCHGUTS Miserly people.

If there had been 5 spaces then a word with the same meaning - PINCHPENNY - would have been great. Look at those common letters. If you had the chance to play PUNCHING most people would find it. Just making one N into a T is actually a more likely group of letters, but how many people would think of PINCHGUT? Moving on, you could score 66 points with:

PINCHBUGS Large beetles

Without the S it is another 8 letter play where everyone except Nigel will be looking for an ING word. There are two 69 point plays available with:

PINCHFIST Yet another word for a miser.

PINCHECKS Fabric designs.

I googled ‘images of pincheck patterns’ to get a look at those designs. I have had shirts like that. I had no idea that is what they were called. Obviously I am not a fashion guru. The second highest scoring word needs a blank to be played. But if you had CKO and a blank wouldn’t you spend the blank to score 72 with:

PINCHCOCK A clamp on a flexible pipe

I am betting you would be scoring 77. Who wouldn’t challenge that? However the best score of the lot is 81 points (or 86 with the challenge) for:

PINCHBECK A gold-like alloy of copper and zinc.

Apparently it is used to make cheap jewellery. For that reason it can also be used as an adjective to describe someone or something cheap and trashy. That must be the most highbrow insult I have ever heard!

Happy Scrabbling

Patrick

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