I’m not sure whether either of you know that I am rather fond of Scrabble. I can be found haunting the Internet Scrabble Club under the name of zedwave, (playing Scrabble online with people you know only as nicknames is, I suppose, an intellectual and therefore risk-free version of cottaging) or idly passing the time with some Scrabble app or another on my phone. A love of this game was
incarcerated inculcated instilled in me by my parents, who were amused when the zoology-obsessed infant Gee played words such as ORYX. My parents now no longer dare play me, and I have in turn passed it on to the Offspring, especially Gee Minor, who regularly takes me to the cleaners.
During my time as a graduate in Cambridge I was a member of the University Scrabble club, and was thrilled when, during a Town-versus-Gown match, my opponent rashly challenged my play of the word ADDAX.
Incidents such as this kindled the ambition, long ago, to write an article on all the exotic antelopes and other ungulates whose euphonious names can help one out of a tight lexical corner. Two feature in the picture you see here — the aforementioned ORYX and the ever-useful OX, which scores mightily if you can play the X on a triple-letter score in two words simultaneously, together, both at once, and at the same time.
So, yesterday, while playing online, I noted down all the Scrabble-friendly names of antelopes and other ungulates I could think of without looking them up. I discovered more than twenty without breaking a sweat, and here they are, in (as they say on all the game shows), in no particular order.
BOK, KOB, TOPI, NILGAI, ORYX, ADDAX, GAUR, ANOA, SAOLA, NYALA, OKAPI, PUDU, KUDU, GNU, ELAND, IMPALA, SAIGA, QUAGGA, ZEBU, DIBATAG, YAK, OX and the ever-useful ZO (can also be spelled DZO or DZHO).
I am sure you can think of loads more.