a. Listen to a radio programme about the word game Scrabble. How many different names has the game had?
b. Listen again and mark the sentences T (true) or F (false).
1. Alfred Mosher Butts was out of work when he invented the game.
2. The game of Lexico had a board and letter tiles.
3. Butts used a newspaper to count the frequency of the letters in English.
4. Butts gave the letters A, E, I, O, and U one point each.
5. Butts gave 12 points to the most difficult letters to use.
6. Scrabble became popular in 1948.
7. Butts and Brunot sold the game to another manufacturer.
8. You can buy Scrabble in more than a hundred different countries.
Presenter Hello and welcome to The World Today, we’re going to look at word games, so let’s start with the most popular of them all: Scrabble. Ricky (ones from the National Scrabble Association is here to tell us all about it. Ricky, who actually invented the game?
Ricky Well, it was an American called Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts was an unemployed architect, and in his free time he did a lot of crosswords. These crosswords gave him the idea for a game which he called Lexico. The game had the same letter tiles as Scrabble, but no board. Players used the letter tiles to make words. They scored by adding up the points on each of the letter tiles. Later, Butts introduced a board, and a set of rules and changed the name to Criss-Cross Words.
Presenter How did Butts decide how many points to give each letter?
Ricky He counted how many times each letter appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Then, depending on the frequency of each letter, he gave it between one and ten points.The most common letters, like the vowels, got only one point because they are easier to use. There are more of these letters in the game. There was only one tile for each of the least common letters, for example Q and Z, which got ten points.
Presenter So, when did Butts’ original game become the modern game of Scrabble?
Ricky Well, in 1948, Butts met a businessman called James Brunot, who designed a new board and changed the name of the game to Scrabble. Then in 1952, the president of Macy’s, the famous New York department store, discovered the game on holiday, and loved it so much he placed a large order. Butts and Brunot knew they couldn’t produce enough Scrabble sets forMacy’s, and so they sold the rights to the game to another manufacturer. Today, Scrabble is sold in 121 countries in 29 different languages.
Presenter What a story, Ricky! Thank you for sharing it with us.
Ricky My pleasure.