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Dizzy on the Syzgy

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By John Severance

If you’re a triskaidekaphobic or paraskevidekatriaphobic, there is little chance you are reading this. You’re more likely hiding under your bed, covering in fear because today is Friday the 13th. Yeah, well, everyone needs a hobby. Having an irrational fear of numbers or dates is as good as anything, I guess.
I have to admit that I suffer from coulrophobia, a fear of clowns. Well, that’s not exactly true. Actually, I’m afraid of a clown chasing me with a chainsaw while I’m wearing oversized swimming flippers.
But Friday the 13th holds a special meaning this month (other than the ultimate fear of being chased by 13 clowns all armed with chainsaws). April 13th is Scrabble Day!
Ah yes, yet another chance for someone out there with logophobia (fear of words) to scream out in terror, “JKQVVXZ? What can I spell with these letters?!”
But Scrabble is more than an otiose game of word salad. It’s a tradition, or more like an addiction for doctiloquent fans of the game now celebrating its 74th year. Yes, Scrabble is a septuagenarian (a word only valued at 17 points without any double or triple scores).  Alfred Mosher Butts created the game back in 1938 and those unassuming little wooden tiles have since entertained, delighted and confounded countless players.


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