Sorry for the website problems

If you’ve visited Word Helper over the last couple of days you may have noticed all has not been well.

It started on Tuesday when I did a routine upgrade to the web server.  It should have taken less than 2 minutes and then been back up as normal.  Sadly things didn’t go smoothly, and the server failed to reboot.

I then tried to start my backup web server that I keep for such occasions, and I swapped over to that server.  Unfortunately I found that I hadn’t updated that server when I moved Scrabble Helper to Word Helper, so it didn’t have the Word Helper site on it.  As a result anyone visiting Word Helper got redirected to my main company homepage (Richard Loxley Ltd).  I tried to restore the Word Helper site from my backups, but then discovered a problem with my backups!

So I had to get the original server back up.  It took about 2 hours, and then it can take a while for all the DNS servers on the internet to notice the original server is back up, so some people saw the Richard Loxley Ltd page for longer than that.  Oops – sorry 🙁

I then had to fix the bigger problems with the original server, which I’ve been doing over the last 2 days.  Luckily I was able to do that without too much downtime – but I did have to restart the server several times over the last 2 days, so you may have noticed a few occasions when the page didn’t respond for a minute or two.

I believe that everything is back to normal now.  If you’re still having problems then please contact me and I’ll try to sort it out.

Sorry for messing up 🙁

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Have Scrabble tile values just changed?

If you keep up to date with the news, you might have just come across a disturbing story!

According to the BBC news, the value of all the Scrabble tiles have just been changed!

Woah!  Really?

No, not really.  Not so fast BBC.

What they are reporting is a piece of research that says the values ought to be changed, if they were to reflect which letters are in most common usage in English.

The actual research is in fact fascinating, and well worth a read 🙂

Of course, we all know (or should know!) that the points value of a tile doesn’t have much being on its actual worth.  For example ‘S’ and the blank tile are worth far more than all the others, because they enable you to play other words more easily!

And that’s just one of the tips you’ll find in my Scrabble book 🙂

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I need your help!

I want to thank everyone for all your lovely comments and support with the change of the site name that was forced upon us.

But we’re not quite out of the woods yet, and I need your help if you can spare a couple of minutes.

Before we moved the site about 20,000 people visited the site every day.  With the new address for the site about half the people found the new site, but that still leaves about 10,000 regular users who didn’t see the notice about the change, and haven’t been able to find the new site 🙁

I wonder if you could help spread the word so the other users can find it?

If you could do any of these things it would really, really help!

  • If you have a website, add a link to
  • If you have a blog, write a post about Word Helper
  • If you read any forums, write a post about Word Helper
  • If you’re on Facebook (or any other social network), share a link to
  • If you’re on Twitter, post a tweet with a link to
  • or any other way you know to get the word out!

Thanks for any help you can give 🙂

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Ok, so I made a mistake!


You will probably already know that due to legal problems I had to rename the site from its original name of

Well I only had a week to do it, and so I had to choose a new name quickly.

I reckoned a lot of the site’s users would miss the announcement, and would turn to Google to find the new site.  After a couple of hours of research I found that far more people search for phrases including the words ‘cheat’ and ‘words’ than any of my alternative names.  So I quickly registered the name and moved the site.

Well it turns out that a lot of you really didn’t like the name ‘cheat’.  In retrospect, that should have been obvious to me!  I’d always shied away from the ‘cheat’ label myself in my 5 years running this site.  People use the helper for many reasons, and I’d always felt that the site attracted word lovers who enjoyed playing Scrabble, not cheaters.

I certainly never meant to offend anyone, and didn’t intend to effectively call you cheaters!

Anyway, for the last week I’ve run a poll to see what people thought of the site name, and the results are now in.

A whopping 4590 people voted!

As you can see, the overwhelming majority (66%) wanted the site name to change, and so who am I to argue?

As of today, Word Helper is the new name for the site, and the URL is

Don’t worry if you still have bookmarked.  That domain will still work, it will just re-direct to

Sorry everyone – I’m only human 🙂

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If you’re reading this, you’ve found our new site at

So what happened to the old “Scrabble Helper” site at

Well the nice people who make the Scrabble game contacted me.  They were happy with the concept of the site, and recognised the passion of  Scrabble fans like me.  However they didn’t like the fact that I had ‘Scrabble’ in the domain name, as they believe it could confuse people into thinking that was an official site.

I certainly didn’t intend to confuse people or to use the name Scrabble against their wishes.  So I have moved the site to the new name of Cheat Words at

Sorry for the very short notice of the move, however the makers of Scrabble wanted the change to happen very quickly.

[Edit: more details in the comments below!]

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Scrabble Cheat

I just heard the news that a junior Scrabble player has been ejected from a tournament in Florida for cheating.

What amazing strategy did he use to cheat over his opponent?  He hid 2 blank Scrabble tiles in his hand after the previous game, so that he could use them in his next game!

Hardly the most devious strategy, and not surprising this young Scrabble cheat got caught.  The competitor who spotted his cheating got a standing ovation at the tournament 🙂

Of course, true players like us know that the best way of ‘cheating’ at Scrabble is simply to get better at playing Scrabble!

And what better way to improve than using Word Helper to train your mind to spot the best words?

And to take yourself to the next level, try out our Scrabble Strategy book to improve even more rapidly.

Happy Scrabbling, and remember: don’t cheat – improve!



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New dictionaries

I’ve just made a small update to the dictionaries on the Scrabble Helper site:

  • I’ve added a new dictionary called ‘USA home & school’ – this is the ‘Official Scrabble Players Dictionary’ (OSPD4), sometimes referred to as ‘Merriam Webster’.  It’s based on the official USA Tournament dictionary (Tournament Word List or TWL06) but has removed the more offensive words, so is often used in homes and schools.  The official online version of Scrabble in the USA offers this as an alternative to the TWL dictionary, so it’s useful to include here.
  • I’ve updated the Words With Friends dictionary, since the latest update to Words With Friends removed 14 words that could be considered offensive from their dictionary.  I’ve therefore removed those 14 words to keen mine accurate.

As always, if you notice any problems, let me know.


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Major site upgrade!

I’ve just put live one of the biggest upgrades to the site since I launched it 4 years ago!

There are four main improvements:

  1. We now show results for “lateral play” – that’s when you play a new word alongside an existing word, forming lots of 2 letter words in the process.  This can be a way to make serious points in a game!  I’m very excited about this feature as I’ve wanted to do it for a long time, but it’s pretty hard.  Most Scrabble Solver sites don’t even try!
  2. You can now put ‘wildcards’ in the ‘Existing word’ box.  So if you had two existing words on the board, and wanted to play a word that crossed both of them, you can enter letters from each, with ? for each empty space between them.  For example, perhaps you want to include the G from one word, and the T from another, and there are two empty squares between them, you’d enter G??T.  Scrabble Helper might suggest GIFT or YOGURT or GRATIFY.
  3. I’ve put some pop-up help pages throughout the site to make it easier to work out how to use all the features.  Just click ‘show help’ next to each item.
  4. I’ve added two new dictionaries:
    (a) the new International 2012 dictionary which came into effect on 1 January this year (also known as CSTCWL/CSW/SOWPODS 2012).  Most online games and apps are still using the 2007 version, but the new version is there ready for you once they update
    (b) a generic dictionary which contains only words that are present across all Scrabble dictionaries. This means any words we suggest are likely to be accepted by most games, but we might not always suggest the best words.  However if you find your word game is using an obscure dictionary you might find the generic dictionary matches it better than the others.

I’ve also fixed a couple of bugs:

  1. An annoying bug that tripped up many people – if you accidentally typed a space into one of the boxes, we didn’t return any results.  Now we do 🙂
  2. When the list of results is sorted by score, the words with the same score were shown in reverse alphabetical order.  They’re now in correct alphabetical order 🙂

I hope you find the upgrades useful.  As it’s such a big change there is a possibility of teething troubles.  Let me know if there are any problems and I’ll sort them out.

Of course, if you have the Word Finder for Scrabble iPhone app, I’m sure you’ll be wondering if these features will make it to the app.  Well the answer is yes!  All these new features will be in the next update 🙂

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Crossword Solver iPhone app

Do you like crosswords as well as Scrabble?

Do you have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad?

Then you might be interested in my new FREE app – The Crossword Solver.

Click here to download it from the App Store

Get it in time to help out with those lazy post-Christmas crosswords 🙂

If you already have my Word Finder for Scrabble app, then thank you for downloading it, and thank you all for your comments and suggestions.  I’m hoping to make a few improvements based on your comments, and will release an update next year.

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iPhone app – extended offer!

Thanks to all of you who’ve already download the Word Finder iPhone App!

The special launch offer is now over  🙁

However I’ve been persuaded to put together an extended offer for the rest of the launch week 🙂

Until this Thursday, anyone who buys the app can get:

  • 50% off my Scrabble ebook
  • a free Scrabble Cheat Sheet to download

Word FinderDownload Word Finder from the App Store

Click here to download it from the App Store.

Don’t forget to claim your offer after buying the app!

PS. A few people have asked if the app will work on the iPad.  Yes – it works on any iOS device from version 3 onwards – that’s iPod touch, any iPhone, and iPad 1 and 2.  I haven’t redesigned the layout for the iPad’s bigger screen, so it will still look like an iPhone app, but it runs fine!

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