…The trouble started when the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA oversees tournaments), Merriam-Webster (it publishes the dictionaries) and Hasbro (it owns the game) set out to update two word lists — one for competitive play and one for casual play. After many months of work, the books were finally published in August.
But then serious players started noticing errors. There are typos, valid words which have been excluded, and invalid words which have been included. The two lexicons don’t agree, either. And it’s not clear what’s being done about it.
Former world and national champion Joel Sherman posted on Facebook, “I’m merely disgusted by the low quality on every front, and the potential for disruption it has brought to us.”
The director of the Seattle Scrabble Club, Rebecca Slivka, described it to me like this: “A clusterfuck.”
The Official Tournament and Club Word List (OWL) governs tournament play, and is not made readily available to the public. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) is for casual and family play, and is sold in bookstores. Aside from expurgated words — offensive or trademarked words omitted from the OSPD — these dictionaries are meant to be identical. But this time they aren’t…