Magnetic Fields songs often hinge on witty, erudite turns of phrase, so it’s not that surprising that band mastermind Stephin Merritt plays a lot of Scrabble. It’s a bit surprising, though, that he’s devoted an entire book to the two-letter words that can often affect the outcomes of Scrabble games. Merritt just published 101 Two-Letter Words, a book of 101 poems for each of the game-beaters. And now he’s given Billboard a few of his tips, most of which are fairly common-sense. Here’s what he offers to Billboard:
• The letters you leave yourself should always have one consonant and one vowel.
• I like the rules the way they are. I never cheat.
• Study the words that contain “q” without “u.” There’s not that many of them.
• The best music for Scrabble is something everybody likes, like Fifth Dimension or Dionne Warwick.
• I refuse to play people who are too challenging for me. I declined Jason Keller, a [nine-time] Jeopardy champion.
• I play the Words With Friends app and the Scrabble app, which is too buggy to let me finish a single game. I prefer the board game.
• Most of all, know your two-letter words! There’s 101 of them, and I could remember only 40, so I wrote this book — it’s like a gateway drug.