As Kate Middleton knows to her cost, board games cause rows, for royals and ordinary goyim alike

My hosts told me how brilliant the novelist Zoe Heller was at the game. It was calculated to get my competitive juices flowing.

Share
Related Topics

We now know that, in one respect at least, Prince William and Kate Middleton are just like any other couple. Playing board games brings it out in them. It is a third-hand "revelation" - Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo says that the Duchess of Cambridge told him at a reception that a game of Scrabble in the newly established Windsor household usually ends up in an argument - but it will strike a chord with anyone who has played Scrabble or similar word games. It will also resonate with those who are, or have ever been, in a relationship.

I would love to know precisely what causes the disharmony - Ogogo reported that the game would end with one or other of the Royal couple slamming the game shut and storming off. Was it because of Kate's fondness for those two-letter words like "xi" or "ki" or "em" that are accepted by the Scrabble dictionary, but are so recherché that they would almost never be used in common parlance? Or was William insistent on using slang terms such as "thang", "blingy" and "grrl", which are all perfectly acceptable? (So, by the way, is "za" - short for pizza, and popularised on Friends - so it's easy to see how disputes could break out.) Maybe one of them raged about the unequal distribution of the best letters, or possibly it was about dastardly blocking tactics - if I can't use that triple word, then you're not either.

I don't play Scrabble very much these days, as I find it much too stressful, and, also, I reject the more liberal interpretations of what constitutes an acceptable word. But I recently discovered a game with even more potential for discord, disagreement and divorce. It's called Snatch, and it is essentially the bastard child of Scrabble and a card game called Racing Demon, which relies on hand-eye co-ordination and quick reactions.

In Snatch, as well as arguing about the words, there's the extra element of contesting who got there first. Anyway, needless to say, the only time I have played Snatch - on holiday recently - it ended in an almighty row, which was continued - largely by me, I have to say - for several days afterwards. I had already been put on my mettle by my hosts telling me how brilliant the novelist Zoe Heller was at the game when she came to visit them. I suppose it's because words are her business, one of the gathering said, calculated to get my competitive juices flowing.

Anyway, the bone of contention was that one of my friends claimed the word "goys", and everyone else agreed. that it was permissible. "You can't have that!" I exclaimed. "Nonsense," replied my friend, "it's an accepted slang term for non-Jewish people." "I know that," I said, "but it's Yiddish slang. Does that now mean that I can use "broigus" or "shiksa" or "shnorrer"?" They wouldn't back down.

I lost the game, needless to say, and went home in a huff. It was only a week later that I realised the incontestable truth of the matter. The plural of "goy" is "goyim". Of course! But by then, sadly, it was too late to kvetch.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

£25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Misleading Translations: the next 40

John Rentoul
Syrian refugee 'Nora' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project