Scrabble® School-4Posted by Randall T on Sun September 14, 2008 at 12h33
11 SEP 08
Lesson 4 - Hooks
A hook is a 1-letter extension of a word which permits a perpendicular play of a second word.
The most common of these would be adding an “S” to the end of FARM (called a back-hook) to play INSERTS.
While rack management, board strategy and bingo-making skills are invaluable to the game, nothing can
replace word knowledge. The more words you know, the stronger your arsenal. Yet the simplest words can
be overlooked because we sometimes don’t take the time to look at all the possibilities, or think a word played
earlier is safe from new scrutiny.
One way to learn new words is to study hooks and extensions. The most direct way to do this is with a
word source (such as OSPD, OWL, Apha-Back Words) and patience. Simply work through the section that interests
you and see how many words remain valid words after you have removed the first or last letter. In the case of
extensions, apply the same process with 2 or more letters (the LONGWORDS list, which contains all the acceptable
10-15-letter words, is an interesting diversion). A side benefit of this form of study is that occasionally you’ll find
a word which you’re more familiar with when it has a hook (eg. ITHER).
Types of Hooks
1] Front-Hooks: This is a letter placed at the beginning of a word to form a new or related word. A very
common letter for this is “A”, which in some cases creates the opposite meaning of the word just hooked
(eg. A-SOCIAL) or turns the word into an adjective (eg. A-SWARM). The letter “S” is also a useful front-hook
2] Back-Hooks: This is a letter placed at the end of a word, often to pluralize it, but not always.
There are some words which may start out as 2-letter words, and gradually grow to 6- or 7-letter words.
Albert Hahn calls these strip-words, and one example would be BA, BAR, BARB, BARBE, BARBEL, BARBELL, BARBELLS.
An example of a front-hook strip-word is: ES, PES, APES, TAPES, ETAPES, RETAPES, PRETAPES.)
3] Extensions: 2- or more letter add-ons to a word, front or back, which are usually played to allow a player
to reach a premium square. The most common extensions are prefixes and suffixes (UN, RE, PRE, MIS, DIS and ING,
EST, IEST, ER, ED respectively, to name a few). Less common extensions might be -BALL, -BOAT, -FISH, TAIL-, LOVE-,
UR-, MULTI- and SEMI-. A large number of extensions work on the basis of compound words, as in NIGHTJAR, DOGFACEs,
EGGHEADS. When you see a common 3-, 4- or 5-letter word, take a moment to consider if there are extensions that
might reach a triple-word-score or other bonus square.
Knowing hooks and extensions will be invaluable to you in several ways:
1] Having the only remaining tile for a word (eg. the K for KBAR) can allow you to ‘safely’ set up an unstoppable
play late in the game to pull out a win. Unless you carefully consider the play, though, your opponent can surprise you
with a play of his/her own. In the case of BAR, while you may have the only front-hook, they may have two or three
back hooks (F,E,D) and either ruin your setup or score well on their own.
2] Seeing opponent’s setups and using, blocking or negating same. For example, the only remaining bingo-line may
be the S-hook for ASCENT. If you have a “N”, NASCENT blocks that line because it does not pluralize (having been turned
into an adjective).
3] Deflecting opponent’s attention. Your opponent may be inclined to block a dangerous hook, anticipating a huge score.
This would leave another part of the board alone for a play you’ve been preparing for. The tactic is usually used when behind
to keep the board open for winning possibilities.
4] Alert you to anagrams. Would you play RANI or RAIN to open the board, holding the last D, knowing there are
still 2 Gs, a B and 3 Ts out?
- - -
KA+? = "BETSY-F" (KAB, KAE, KAT, KAS, KAY, KAF)
?+AE = "KNiGHT SWaM" (KAE, NAE*, GAE, HAE, TAE*, SAE*, WAE, MAE)
*-all one-pt tile hooks DO NOT take an “S”, the rest do.
careful of other hooks, though (TAE-L, GAE-N, WAE-SUCK-S)
- - -
a] COST- , SHIV- , COAL-
b] JAM-, PROVER-, CUBE-
c] TOR-, CODE-
d] YON-, RED-
e] MAIL-, LONG-, JAMB-, URBAN-
f] DEF-, GANE-
g] COHO-, PHOTO-
h] MUST-, LAMED-, TILT-
i] IMP-, PILE-, DASH-
l] RIDGE-, VINY-, OVA-
m] MAXI-, BUCKRA-
n] TREE-, QUARTER-, YOUR-, HIS-
0] FLAMING-, SECOND-, VOMIT-
p] BEDLAM-, THREE-
r] WORSE-, AURA-
s] ZEBRAS-, MARRIED-, WOMAM-
t] CLIP-, DIP-, SLIP-, FORGE-, RABBI-
u] HALER-, CORN-, GEN-, QUIP-
w] HALLO-, SINE-, PAPA-
x] SIMPLE-, CODE-, GALA-
y] WITH-, POLYGON-, QUINS-, BOTH-
z] DIT-, SPA-
a] -SOCIAL, -SHY
b] -REACH, -HANG, -LOOIE
c] -ILIA, -ROWDY, -HOUSE, -RURAL, -HARD
d] -HOLE, -ELF, -RUMBLE, -RAIL
e] -VANISH, -PACT, -CHARD, -IKON
f] -ITCHY, -LONG
g] -ONION, -OFFER, -UNLESS
h] -OLDER, -OCKER, -EIGHT
i] -MID, -RID, -SLANDER
j] -ARGON, -AGGER
k] -LUGE, -ALONG, -LONG, -BAR, -LUTZ
m] -ILIA, -ORGAN, -ARIA
n] -ASCENT, -UMBER
o] -PACIFY, -CREATE, -EDEMA, -MICRON
p] -ALIMONY, -ACTION, -AEON
q] -AID, -AT, QU: -BIT, -ARK
r] -HO, -URBAN, -EMIT
s] -TRIPE, -TRUMPET, -COUTH
t] -ROWTH, -HICK, -HOLE, -APELIKE
u] -LAMA, -NIT, -NITE, -NITER, -PLINK
v] -AWARD, -ROW, -AUNTIE, -AUNTY
w] -AGON, -ANION, -AUK
y] -ULAN, -EGG, -WIS
z] -ITHER, -ILL, -ANY, -ONETIME