Qi

letter_q_erteQi.

My new go-to play in Words with Friends.

I don’t even know what it means. Well, yes, I kinda know, but let’s go look at the dictionary together. Obviously, if you’re doing this A to Z Challenge, you must love words as much as I do.

So qi, also spelled chi or ch’i, is a Chinese principle that is an underlying part of every living thing. Or something like that. When the article described it as kind of like “the force” in Star Wars, I lost interest.

Instead, I’ll share with you my love of Scrabble and Words with Friends, and why I think qi is both a cop-out and a brilliant play!

I first played Scrabble with my mom, who is a big time puzzle player. To this day she always has those crossword books you get in the grocery check out line lying around, often missing one or two words to complete the puzzle. She doesn’t cheat.

Let me say that again…she doesn’t cheat. I admire that. She will, however, ask for help so she can learn new words. Did I say my mother works on these puzzles in English? Did I say my mother’s first language is not English? I think she learned English watching episodes of Ironside and Marcus Welby and then working on the TV Guide crossword puzzle.

Impressive, if you ask me.

But she probably never played qi.  I don’t play scrabble to win. Well. No, that’s not true — I like to win. Let me rephrase that. Part of the delight of playing Scrabble is coming up with awesome words. Elegant placements that use lots of crosswords and and neat uses of letters are sometimes more fun that racking up points.

The problem is, you need points to win. Q is a lousy letter that requires a friendly U to accompany it, and that’s not always possible. Also, nobody wants to be caught in the endgame with a Q to reverse fortunes at the last minute.

Enter qi. The perfect little letter for unloading the Q in a hurry. That’s the cop-out if you play it too early in the game instead of looking for a neat word like quinoa.

Do you have a “safe” word for Scrabble or WWF?

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