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What is the highest possible score a player can make in a turn by placing a single tile? Assume language is English, using standard North American rules.

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  • $\begingroup$ You might be interested in reading interested in reading some of the comments on this post: recordsetter.com/world-record/… $\endgroup$ – Matt Mar 21 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Can we assume that the tiles already on the board are exactly as we want them? $\endgroup$ – Hugh Mar 21 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @doppelgreener Norh should you - it's been fixed now ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 22 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor Many hanks! $\endgroup$ – doppelgreener Mar 22 at 13:26
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According to this Quora question, the best you can do using the North American Scrabble dictionary is CRYPTO(Z)OOLOGY and QUART(Z), giving a total of 171 points. The setup should look something like this:

enter image description here

...However, that's not the best you can do. We're looking at the highest possible score.

The rules of Scrabble do not prevent players from playing invalid words. There are rules for challenging someone you think has played an invalid word, and if the challenge is correct, the play will be reversed. But if players decide not to challenge, the word remains.

So, with particularly cooperative (or particularly stupid) players, the best you can do...

enter image description here

...is 303 points.

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    $\begingroup$ @Brandon_J Probably, but the latter option is not against the rules of the game, no matter what language you're playing in. If nothing else, it's worth including as an option. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mar 21 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ (Rubio changes PSE username to QJXKFFHZHVVWWYY) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Mar 21 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ why are the E's necessary in the 2nd example? Diagonal words don't count right? $\endgroup$ – Aequitas Mar 22 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Aequitas Because otherwise, the board would have 3 disconnected pieces prior to the move (which is not possible). $\endgroup$ – John Doe Mar 22 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ (If anyone is wondering, "oology" is the studying of bird eggs, nests and breeding behaviour.) $\endgroup$ – BruceWayne Mar 22 at 2:09
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In N-Tile Scrabble Records (Word Ways, May 1983, p.80), Kyle Corbin gives the following, for 231 points. All words can be found in Webster's Third.

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
 1 # . . + . . . # . . . + . . Q 1
 2 . = . . . * . . . * . . . = U 2
 3 . . = . . . + . + . . . = . I 3
 4 + . . = . . . + . . . = . . C 4
 5 . . . . = . . . . . = . . . K 5
 6 . * . . . * . . . * . . . * S 6
 7 . . + . . . + . + . . . + . I 7
 8 # . . + . . . S N O W B A L L 8
 9 . . + . . . + . + . . . + . V 9
10 . * . . . * . . . * . . . * E 10
11 . . . . = . . . . . = . . . R 11
12 + . . = . . . + . . . = . . I 12
13 . . = . . . + . + . . . = . N 13
14 . = . . . * . . . * . . E R G 14
15 H Y D R O X Y B E N Z E N E # 15
   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O

An S tile is placed into the # in the bottom right corner where there is a 3× word bonus.

(HYDROXYBENZENE)S/(QUICKSILVERING)S for 231 points.

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    $\begingroup$ That's pretty cool, but wouldn't work for tournament scrabble according to scrabble.merriam.com $\endgroup$ – James Mar 22 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ @James: As noted on the other answer, it will work if nobody challenges it. One problem historically with the OSPD3 was that it didn't include words that are longer than eight letters and are not formed by adding common prefix or suffix to a words of eight letters or less. As noted in the introduction, one would have to look in another dictionary to check the validity of a word like "petroleum", since "eum" is not a common suffix. Does the aformentioned dictionary claim to exhaustively list all valid words of all lengths up to 15, regardless of stem length? $\endgroup$ – supercat Mar 22 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @supercat: As far as I can tell, the dictionary I linked to exhaustively lists all "valid" words, where "valid" means "legal in tournament Scrabble". I also notice that there are some 15-letter words in that dictionary, including "cryptozoologist" and "cryptozoologies". $\endgroup$ – James Mar 22 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ @James: Unless things have changed, any played word that is not challenged is valid, and this is actually a significant aspect of strategy. Even if one would expect one's opponent to believe a word is probably invalid, one might expect the opponent to refrain from challenging in cases where the downside risk would be too great. $\endgroup$ – supercat Mar 22 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @supercat: I totally agree with your last comment. I thought when you used the word "valid" in the last sentence of your first comment above, you meant "valid if challenged". After all, you discussed using a dictionary to "... check the validity of a word ...". Why would you use a dictionary if any combination of letters were valid. $\endgroup$ – James Mar 22 at 17:38

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