Voodoo’s Lily: Of flowers and wizardry.

The day was hot and the play even hotter. Lots of Scrabblers milling around the venue sipping cappuccino’s when I arrived at Voodoo Lily after a breakfast at Fournos. Savoury mince with a fried egg atop olive ciabatta. I was stoked. After some delay and patient management by Andrew, Steven, Kathy and Harry, we managed to start.

Game 1
Despite out-bingoing the bingoer* Steven 4-3, he,holding a non combo EGINOST, boinged off an R to go out (score was 420-425 at that stage) making the final score 420-526 (he got 16 off my rack and a +5 for the challenge. I blocked another less likely lane instead. He also hit me with two back to back 45s with two of the bazookas in the bag. Disappointing start but not before I rooted for myself with ROOTLIKE. I also played SERIATE SLEEPIER and RANDIEST to his ANTINGS ARTICLED and ROSETING

Game 2
From the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Harry up next. No margins for error. I was not prepared to take two losses in a row at the start of this tourney so with steely determination I sat down to play the mighty hash. Three quick bingoes in my first five moves AGONISE AUDITOR CODEINA interspersed with and followed by scores of 29 36 45 30 meant I was averaging 53 over the first 7 moves giving me the much needed buffer to hold off a resurgent Harry who played RAVIGOTE and QUIETER for his two highest scores.

Game 3
Sometimes the best word you play was the one you never played. Go figure. I did not see either bingo AELNTW? on my first rack here 🤨. Settling for the solitary bingo GENITAL on move 2. In a cut and thrust battle with Ola we were neck and neck on move 8 227-226 but after his LOERIES with a rack from hell I found ILIUM under LOERIES for 40 and while he was scrabbling for scores I managed some decent ones to go out the winner

Game 4
SENILES in my youth 🤨
Andrew started with NERTZ for 48. I used the Z for ZOOID off of a DOOLIE rack with another E. Andrew then tried two nonwords back to back allowing me to get two decent scores of 36,29 after which my game imploded after missing AEEILNS and playing magnificent scores of 13 and 14. I was staring into a barrel and I don’t mean craft beer. It was a sawn off shotgun and I was at the wrong end of the butt. Fortunately, to match my doddering mental frailties at that stage, I looked long and hard at EEINLSS and played SENILES (there are three anagrams methinks) which drew the expected challenge. Andrew cleverly set up AEON for his P and played PAVIN/PAEON for 54. Had he drawn the blank instead (one of the last two tiles in the bag which were P and V) I would have been found raving like a lunatic at a maximum security institution. Fortunately, I managed to hold on

Game 5
BURSTEN my bubble
IKE started with this annoying word but I managed two bingoes CARNIEST and SLINGERS to go out the winner with a steaming coconut chicken curry being served while we played and a solid score of 443-359

Game 6
One too many HARRIES.
I threatened to cry unfair advantage after Fern imbibed her dry red wine 🍷 plonking down an early HARRIES but my mid-game ANTLERS and late TONSURE held off her late charge of MATINGS
Steven was also harrying me to find out how many games I had won at that stage but despite trying to throw him off he knew I was in the hunt for a podium finish.

Game 7
Planet earth to Major Tom🎶 : RADIOING for help

Rajen started with RADIOES which I challenged. The S was a blank. I thought it was RADIOED only. Fortunately, I played MOTTLED immediately and after my TARDIVE I held a 50ish lead though which I extend in my penultimate move with LENSING to go
At this stage, it became clear Harry and Steven had also only lost one game and they still had to play each other. Please dear Lord, I’ll eat my Rice Krispies in the morning, please let me beat Gwen and Sol in the last two so I can possibly win my first 2020 tourney in GAU if things go my way. The good Lord had other ideas in mind for me 🤨.

Game 8
Saving PRIVATE Ryan
Gwen led the game all the way to move 11 (282-287). I felt this one slip-sliding away. In desperation, I opened up two bingo lanes one a 9x burning and S in the process. Much to my delight after leaving VRT I picked the tiles to make my solitary bingo PRIVATE and score a 100. Gwen thought long and hard hard to find the lovely INTRA(D)AS but it wasn’t enough.

Game 9
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother🎶
I owed Sol, big. The last time we played it was a question of 4 players on 11 at the Collin’s last year in the last round. JJ (the eventual winner) Andrew, Sol and I. I missed YEZ/ZO in that game to lose. I was out for blood. And Sol knew it.
I drew HEAVIER but he started with COG and my bingo had no home 😭. [And I missed A(c)HIEVER as I discovered afterwards 🙈 Lord have mercy!]
Sol burnt two S’s with his three U’s in his first two moves. How many did he have on his rack?!🤨 One of those was for URES which I extended to IURES* which is wrong. It came off (AEGIPVR) He plonked down UNAUS and through the N I found REPAVING for 104. Santa Klaus is coming to town 🎶 I held a lead of 93 and MANTLET on my rack which couldn’t go down but then down came his IDEALIS(t) 80 and ZIG 54 🤨. Now, I was 30 behind and he was closing lanes faster than freeways for a presidential cavalcade. I broke up a bingo to make LARIAT allowing me to pluralise it with S missing (L)ARIATEd through time pressure (less than a minute on my clock). He played Q(u)OIN giving me another lane and then with only two vowels left in the bag with clunky consonants as partners, he cleverly exchanged 5 dastardly fellows before my sTARNIE came down. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Harry and Steven were going like the clappers. Please Lord, let me win by 500 and let Harry win by 1 and I won’t go to Monte Casino with the winnings. Out the bag came POYYDRT 🙈 and he had a blank K and S. Montecasino here I come 🤨. No church for me Lord until the next wedding. I missed the winning PRY/OXY but by then my time was nigh up as was my patience. Well done to Sol!

Harry beat Steven and that was that. Game set and match. Well done Mighty Hash and Evergreen Steve.

Huge congrats to the organizers Andrew Steven Kathy and Harry but especially Andrew who also hosted me and who worked tirelessly to make this tourney a big success. And to Raquel who lifted the Praetorians.

By Llewillin Jegels