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  LOGOLOG
a weblog of wordplay by Eric Harshbarger

Front Hook: Q

Oh, Q, what would do without you?

Unsurprisingly the letter Q is the most uncooperative member of the alphabet when it comes to front hooking. J was not too problematic of a high-point-value tile, and as we will see later, X and Z also provide interesting examples.

But Q? well it kind of forces our hand. In the whole North American Tournament Word List for Scrabble there are only four words that may be extended frontwards with a Q, and the one I'll pick, the longest of those four, is simply a plural of one of the other three.

Q is for Qaids

Besides explaining that a QAID is a variant on caid (a Muslim leader), there's not much to say here. The cause of the problem is obvious: Q's reliance on being followed by a U and the fact that few U-starting words have the U-then-a-vowel pattern necessary to form most Q-words. So, we're stuck with very few choices, and none of them are spectacular.

The "honorable" mentions are simply the other three options:

  • QAID
  • QAT
  • QIS

-- Eric

[22 September 2014]
   
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