by John Holgate
Word Ways, 1990


There was an old woman who hid in her shoe
Some esses for gaining a point (sometimes, two).
She sneaked them in one at a time
And no one detected the crime--
But when she played SASSAFRAS, SISSY and SMILES,
Her opponent demanded a recount of tiles.

Little Jack Horner stared at the corner;
He hoped that his letters might fly.
But he had no success (his rack was a mess);
No bingo could he find to try.
So he lit up a fag, pulled two blanks from the bag,
And said, "What a winner am I!"

Mary had an anagram
Which used up every tile.
"What a clever girl I am!"
Said she with knowing smile.
Opponent moaned "My luck's absurd;
You'll beat me by a mile!"
But when she came to play her word,
Damn! He'd blocked the triple file.

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse looked at his clock.
With seconds to spare,
And a win in the air,
He played DICKORY,
Was challenged,
And lost.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To play a game of Scrabble.
But Jack fell down
And broke his crown--
Jill won the game by forfeit.

Little Miss Muffett sat on her tuffet,
Playing a game with a quist.
Along came a spider and sat down beside her,
And whispered the moves that she'd missed.
To a cockroach and beetle who knew very leetle
Of Scrabble or words on a list.
Miss Muffet said "Stuff it!"
And jumped off her tuffet.
"Please do not kibitz--
It's really the pits."
And, wielding her rack,
She killed them (whack, whack!)
All squashed into bits.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How did your tourney go?
"First I met Joe, who played like a pro
And blocked every spot on the board.
Then I got Stu, who, palming the Q,
Kept using rude words I deplored.
Lost to Jim, Mike and Frank without sighting a blank,
Going down by a hundred or two.
My confidence soared when I beat Lindy Lou;
Against her I scored fifty-four for KAZOO.
But then I struck Max, and had horrible racks,
Like V-V-Y-K-P-P-Q.
So I threw in the lot, and picked up more rot,
Like A-E-I-E-I-U.
In my very last game, it was more of the same,
And I lost by three hundred and two.
I cursed Alfred Butts (I hated his guts!)
For marketing Scrabble at all.
I played like a klutz and slowly went nuts;
My opponents were having a ball!"

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To play Scrabble games on her own,
Left hand vs. right, she played through the night.
Neglecting her dog and his bone.
Her average score? Seven hundred and four.
Her highest? A thousand or more.
Three ninety two was her score for QUIXHONY.
(No one was present to challenge this phony.)
"Where's the fun in this?" she cried,
"If I can't hear opponents moan?"

"Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
"I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Mum was there, and Hubby, too;
We played Scrabble in the loo.
Though not the swankest place to be,
It calmed their fears of kitty pee.
I started right off with a bingo, REGINAS
(A fitting beginning for such an occasion!).
Under the I-N-A-S Liz played NASION;
Then Phil came down off her end with VAGINAS!
This caused Her Highness to rebuke
The word choice of the randy Duke.
'Non-standard plurals are banned around here;
Queen's English is what we adhere to, my dear.'
Then her Mum played an eight-letter word, RIGATONI.
Her son-in-law snorted 'That looks like a phony!'
And Liz said, 'Oh, pshaw! What a lot of boloney!
It sounds like a foreign-born import to me.'
I checked it at once in my O.S.P.D.
And located the word.
The Queen, though, demurred.
'Americanisms might be quite the fashion,
Yet I must confess that I have a mad passion
For the Celtic eccentricity
Of Chambers English Diction'ry.'
She then took down a lexicon
Ensconced above the royal john.
'This is a tome which I often peruse
On many a boring Britannica cruise.
Why, touring the Falklands in war's aftermath,
I'd pore through my Chambers while taking a bath.'
TheDuke then chipped in with a quip of his own,
'She even reads Chambers when she's on the throne.'
'Thereanent I do decree
That we must use the C.E.D.
O.S.P.D.? Why, pish and tush,
This book deserves a royal flush!"
My paperback went down the drain,
Never to emerge again.
'Let the game now proceed.'
And her husband agreed.
The Queen Mum though it was most absurd
Her daughter had ruled against her word.
My turn now came; I laid down KAT.
The Prince exclaimed 'I'll challenge that.
He's unacquainted with this game.
Just look! He cannot spell his name.'
(But'twas in Chambers, all the same.)
The Prince, thus forced to eat his hat,
Agreed I was no pussy cat.
His Highness said, 'In words I'm weak.
I'd rather play this game in Greek.'
The game then went on without further ado
Except when the Queen found an X in her shoe
And the Duke played a blank by inverting his Q,
But I finally won by one hundred and two.
They haven't invited me back to the Palace,
But do not ascribe this to soreness or malice.
The reason? While leaving the Buckingham yard,
I lifted my hind leg and pissed on a Guard.
Us mogs are a rabble,
An unlettered lot,
But when we play Scrabble,
We're pretty damn hot."

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