I don't remember my English SAT scores--that was far too long ago--but suffice it to say that I never worried about that particular test. I regularly finish New York Times crossword puzzles and have an excellent record with cryptograms. I have a strong fundamental understanding of the architecture of words--how they are constructed from their component letters.
And then I tried to play Jumble Vault.
This is a fairly clever variant on Jumble puzzles. Here, you are confronted with a series of dial, each of which has either two or three letters on it. Your job is to open the vault using the letters on the dials to construct three, four, and five letter words. You must make a set number of five letter words to get the vault open. There is no room for cheating with the easier three letter ones.
In the second round, I breezed through the three and four letter words, but was stumped by the necessary five letter words. How well can you do?
The dials have the following letters available. The dials can only be turned, they cannot be switched around in any manner. The last two dials have less than three letters on them, making the task trickier.
Dial 1: S H L
Dial 2: T A O
Dial 3: W A S
Dial 4: E T
Dial 5: S L
What five letter words can you make? I'll wait.
Oh, and you only have 120 seconds to make all the words. You need four five letter words.
Still having trouble?
Okay, time's up.
I bet, like me, you got three pretty quickly. Hosts, lasts, losts. "Losts" there is pretty dodgy, grammatically, but the game accepts it. What is that last word?
I know! I've never heard of a "hosel" either. Spell-check doesn't think it's a word. I had to go look it up. It's a golf term:
Hosel is the the socket (or neck) in the head of a golf club into which the shaft is inserted. Hosel is the cylindrical portion of a club head into which the shaft is not only inserted, but cemented. The etymology of "hosel" is a diminutive of the word "hose" (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000).
(I got this definition from this site, which then goes on to use the term to explicate the fundamental gender specific use of the term in labor protests. It's worth checking out. Really. It's clever.)
Clearly, word snob that I am, I am not up to the esoteric refinement of the recondite Jumble crafters. Perhaps I should steer clear of Scrabble as well.
On Edit: This is a "Daily Game," meaning a new set of dials and words are available each day. You can find this "hosel" game in the archives for November 30, if you read this post after that date.