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Scrabble (game show)
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Scrabble (game show)

Scrabble was an American television game show that was based on the Scrabble board game. The Reg Grundy production ran on NBC from July 2, 1984, to March 23, 1990, and again from January 18 to June 11, 1993. Chuck Woolery hosted both incarnations of the show.

Rules of the game

Crossword round

Two contestants played a crossword game on a computer-generated Scrabble board. They were given a letter to build on, the number of letters in that word, and a clue to help them figure out the word. After the clue was given, the contestant selected two tiles from a rack that was placed between the two contestants. Each tile contained a letter of the alphabet that may or may not be part of the word; the three tiles that contained letters that were not part of the word were known as "stoppers." The contestant then chose a letter that he or she had picked. If that letter was in the word, it was placed in its appropriate position; if it was a stopper, the opponent gained control of the board. The contestant continued to pick tiles, two at a time, until he/she guessed the word correctly or revealed a stopper. After the word was revealed, the contestants played another word that built on one of the letters of the previous word.

If all three stoppers in a word were revealed, a "speed word" round was played. The remaining letters of the word (except for the last letter) were randomly revealed one at a time, and the first player to buzz in with the correct answer won. Speed word rounds were also played if time was running out.

If a letter was on a light blue square on the board and the contestant correctly guessed the word immediately after that letter was placed, he or she won a $500 bonus. If that letter was on a pink square, he/she won $1,000. (There were no dark blue or red squares in the TV version.)

The first player to guess three words correctly won $500 and a chance to play the Scrabble Sprint round.

Scrabble Sprint

The object of the Scrabble Sprint round was to guess four words in the shortest amount of time. The contestant was given one word at a time. After receiving a clue and the number of letters in that word, he or she was given a choice of two letters. The letter that the contestant chose was then placed in the word (there were no stoppers in this round) and he/she kept choosing letters until there was only one letter left or if he/she knew what the word was. The contestant would hit a plunger to stop the clock before guessing the word. Contestants received a five-second penalty if they failed to make a guess after hitting the plunger, or a ten-second penalty if they guessed incorrectly. If the contestant guessed the word correctly, he or she moved on to the next word (which had more letters than the one before it) and continued until finishing the fourth word.

Originally, the winner of the crossword game played the show's returning champion in the Sprint. The crossword winner set the time for the champion to beat while the champion was off stage; after that, the champion played the same four words as the clock ticked downward instead of upward. Whoever guessed all four words in the faster amount of time won $1,500 and became the returning champion. Five-time champions would win $20,000. Under this format, an episode would often end before a match did, and the match would continue into the next episode.

The format of the show was later changed so that games would fit into the show's half-hour time slot. A new contestant played the returning champion in the crossword game, with the winner playing the Sprint alone. After that two new contestants played a new crossword game. The winner of that game also played the Sprint, but this time, he/she had to beat the time set by the first Sprint contestant in order to win. (Again, the clock ticked downward for that player instead of upward.) Whoever finished his or her respective Sprint in the shorter time won $1,000, became the show's champion, and played a "Bonus Sprint" round. The Bonus Sprint was played like the Scrabble Sprint, but the object was to correctly guess two words within ten seconds. If successful, the contestant won a cash jackpot that started at $5,000 and increased by $1,000 each day until it was won.

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