Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Torte Tort

I like tortes.


A torte is multi-layer cake made with little or no flour, usually substituting ground nuts. I have a recipe for a hazelnut chocolate torte that takes about 8 hours to make and 8 minutes to eat, assuming you stare at it for 7 minutes.

An e-less torte, on the other hand, is a legal term for a civil wrong. A tort can result from an intentional injury such as smacking someone in the head with a hazelnut chocolate torte, but is more likely the result of an unintentional injury such as a person banging their head on your table after passing out from ecstasy having just eaten your hazelnut chocolate torte.

In either case, an injury suffered.

In my case, Your Honor, the Torte Tort was self-inflicted.

You see, it's like this. In my house I'm known as Dr. Devious when it comes to Scrabble. That's because I have a sneaky, crafty little mind full of rats and snakes who are always looking for nooks and crannies to crawl into. Sneaky little words that I can drop into tight places to garner both horizontal and vertical scores. Those are my speciality.

Consequently, if a double-word or triple-word box is even remotely exposed, I'll find a way to claim it.

Except for last night.

Last night I played the word "tort" for a few points, hoping to pick up some better letters. I picked up H, V and E. I already had O, L, R and I.

As the other players took their turns I scanned the board for a tricky play, but none were to be had. It was near the end of the game and there would only be another round or so; I plotted my end game, how to use up my remaining letters.

The word TORT dangled near the triple-word box. One letter off.

An S, an S! My kingdom for an S. If I had an S, I could play VISOR across, thus, claiming the triple and TORTS down. But, I had no S. NO SSSSSSSSS!


I played my backup to use the V, attaching to a hanging E to make VOLE.

There was an audible sigh of relief to my left.

"I thought you were going to play TORTE and claim the triple."

Not understanding the significance of that statement I said, "I didn't have an S."

There was a pause. Crickets chirped. In the distance a dog howled.

"S? You needed an E, like this."

My opponent laid down W I R E D to claim the horizontal triple word, and TORTE on the vertical.

"TORTE?" I said, "What's a TORTE?" And, even as the words left my mouth I realized my blunder. I was so focused on needing an S for TORTS that I completely overlooked TORTE. Adding insult to injury, salt in the wound and a fork in the eye, I had an E to play in the word HOVEL.

That was the defining move and in another round the game was over even though I unloaded all but one letter. It was not enough and Dr. Devious fell to Dr. Obvious.

In our house the Scrabble Vanquished must do the bidding of the Scrabble Conqueror. It had been a while since I had been in this position, but I accepted my fate and asked what task I was to perform.

"Hmmmmm," mused the Conqueror, "I'm thinking of a dessert for tomorrow night's dinner. Something sweet, chocolaty and rare. I know! How 'bout you whip up your famous Hazelnut Chocolate Torte? Yes, that would hit the spot."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I can't even play Scrabble with loved ones anymore because I get so competitive.