Here Are Some Game Tips From Scrabble Enthusiast Stephin Merritt

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.

101 Two-Letter Words is out now, via W.W. Norton And Company.