Do You Know Alfred Mosher Butts?


I didn’t until now. But you most certainly know what he created 71 years ago. My favorite board game of all time–Scrabble. That’s right, Mr. Butts was an out-of-work architect who decided to combine his love of crossword puzzles with his love of anagrams. He added in the numbers for scoring purposes and America’s best-loved word game was formed.

Today in National Scrabble Day because on this day in 1899, Alfred Mother Butts was born.

Scrabble has always been my favorite game to play, but Tom doesn’t love it as much as I do. This led me to figure out a way to remove the parts Tom doesn’t like about it: e.g. the limited number of letter tiles, the rule not allowing proper nouns, and time limits. Once I adjusted the rules we landed on our romantic version of this family classic. Romantic Scrabble.

We first shared this with our readers back in July 0f 2011 and it is still one of most popular posts. It was worth repeating with you 8 years later.

Romantic Scrabble Rules:

  • Take all the Scrabble letters and place them face up on the table.
  • Light a couple of candles for ambiance.  🙂
  • Place the letters of your last name on the center of the board – however you choose as long as the center X is covered.
  • Give each player the points scored with your last name.  Remember the center X doubles the value of the word.  Since you are one – it simply makes sense you both get the points scored by using your last name.
  • Whoever is the oldest goes first.  Make a word using whatever letters you want providing they represent a romantic memory you both share AND it ties into your name.
  • The next player goes using whatever letters he/she wants as long as it is a romantic memory you both share.
  • Keep score of the points as you go.
  • The goal is to see if you can use all the letters – filling up the Scrabble board with lots of romantic memories.

We think Mr. Butts would be proud of our version of his game. He and his wife, Nina, enjoyed playing the game with their friends. It was recorded in his obituary, “Mrs. Butts was better at the game than her inventor spouse. Once she scored 234 for “quixotic.” He admitted that she “beat me at my own game,” literally. No buts about that!

An interesting fact; the word butt is worth 10 points in Scrabble. A perfect 10. 🙂

This is my 13th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April. 


About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
This entry was posted in April 2019, Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Romantic Ideas, Ultimate Blog Challenge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Do You Know Alfred Mosher Butts?

  1. Great post and a good idea to customize a game for marital harmony. Bob doesn’t really care for the game, but he will play it once in a while. My mom and I have a game almost every afternoon. She’s 91 but still loves to play and is good at it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnrieber says:

    What a great story – never knew who he was, and romantic scrabble is terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a neat story! And I love your revised rules for Romantic Scrabble.


  4. Well, THIS was a challenge.

    Triple word and double letter,
    counting every upturned tile;
    what, really could be better
    than a game that makes you smile?
    It’s an icon for the ages
    that will never let you down
    and even mentioned in the pages
    and the movie, “Black Hawk Down.”
    Is the word in common use?
    Thus, will ‘limo’ be allowed?
    Or will the rules we choose
    still let formality stand proud?
    It can be hipster or pedantic;
    it’s what you make – even romantic!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. vidhya29 says:

    I lovee tjhis game!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Martha DeMeo says:

    This is one game I could never grasp, but interesting about it’s history!


  7. Interesting, but i think ill continue playing as Butts intended. On my phone, on my tablet, and on one of the 14 sets stashed around the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kutukamus says:

    Now this is what I call “a perfect 13th”! 🙂


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