Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Should Scrabble's point system be rearranged?

by Take Two

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A leather-bound Scrabble board is for sale on the Geoffrey Parker Games trade stand at the "Salon Prive" luxury and supercar event held at the Hurlingham Club on July 22, 2009 in London, England. The annual three day Salon Privé offers the opportunity to view the most exotic modern and vintage super cars in the world. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

In the future, the words luxury, boxy, zombie and doozy might not hold the same weight in a Scrabble game, that is, if one UC San Diego researcher has his way. He's been floating a very controversial proposal to change the value of some tiles to more accurately reflect modern usage.

Researcher Joshua Lewis argues that the point values of the letters in Scrabble were assigned according to their frequency of appearance on the front page of the 1930s New York Times. The English language has changed a bit since then, rendering high-point letters like Z and X unfairly high in points.

According to his calculations, points for the letter "Z" should drop from 10 points to six, and X would go from eight to five. 

Stefan Fatsis, NPR commentator and author of the book, "Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players," joins the show to talk about the implications of these proposed rules. 

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