Scrabble greatness, like a lot of greatnesses, requires supernatural love and preternatural ability. And unnatural devotion, because the greats memorize every acceptable word.

Gibson studied countless flash cards made by his wife. He also annotated his copy of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Here’s what it looks like.

[...] here’s how I described it in Word Freak

Gibson annotated all 668 pages of his copy of the second edition of the OSPD. Virtually every word bears some notation. Anagrams, anamonics, front hooks, back hooks, extensions, declensions, related words. All are crowded onto the page in neat, tiny, block capitals, each with its own explanatory code: a plus sign for the anamonic, front and back hooks in parentheses, component words separated by an equals sign. (For example, "LARGANDO = GARLAND + O = GRANOLA + D.") Gibson could recite the OSPD definitions almost verbatim and he did further research in “real” dictionaries on meanings and etymologies. He worked the book so hard that he had to have it rebound. Gibson put a new dark blue cover on it titled “David’s Lexicon.” He studied an average of four hours a day. Every day. For twelve years.

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Oliver Roeder Retweet