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March 10, 2011

The App Burrito: Volume 1 - Fightin' Words

I might be considered a grammar Nazi to some people. I can't help it. I love words. If I didn't, I wouldn't write so much. It is super fun for me. I suppose it goes back to my comedy hero, George Carlin. The guy made language his bitch. I think that's why I enjoy the following apps. The greatest thing about smartphones is that you can do anything with them., What do I choose to do? I play a century old board game and do crossword puzzles. Old am I.


I never played a ton of Scrabble when I was a kid. I always enjoyed it, but it just never came up. I am a spelling guru, and I love to learn new words. Wordfeud is a game that basically lets you play Scrabble without boundaries. I have played some vile words on this game. My friend and I have played JAGS, CUNT, SHAT and so many other horrific things. There are some words that somehow don't make the cut, like ZEN, but for the most part, you can do what you want. The game allows you to randomize the bonus spaces like double and triple word score. It also allows you to play with specific people or random strangers. You can chat within the game, which is also very cool. Each player has up to seventy-two hours to take a turn, so it can fit into your busy life at your pace. When it is your turn, you can choose to receive a notification from the game. At the time I write this, I think I have nine games going.

Words With Friends

This has everything that Wordfeud has except for the notifications, which is a little bit of a hindrance. It causes you to have to check your phone frequently in order to see if it's your turn. The dictionary is also not as liberal, so you don't get to have such a potty mouth. Words With Friends is cool for its animated gameplay. Tiles float onto the board and not only is the last word highlighted, but the score is embedded on one of the tiles.


I'm not really sure what the name of this app has to do with what it does, but Shortyz is the ultimate crossword puzzle feed. As soon as you open the app, daily crossword puzzles download from several sources including USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. Eight puzzles download and you are able to navigate the puzzles quite easily with your touch screen or trackball. You can unlock a letter or word that has you stuck, or you can choose to reveal the entire puzzle. One option that I like is having the puzzle alert me to an incorrect word.

What would any word game player be without his dictionary? belongs in every computer's bookmark list, and now it belongs on every phone. The app is beautifully designed and opens up with a word of the day, which is also available in widget form. You can favorite words, search dictionary or thesaurus and even speak a word into the phone if you can't spell it. That part always seems a little tricky, because you have to speak very clearly in a quiet environment, but that goes for any voice activated option.

All in all, I could skip Words With Friends, but the other three apps are must haves for any word nerd. If you're interested in a game of Wordfeud with me, add me on Twitter (kevinmoyers) and send me your user name.


  1. "Shortyz" is named in homage to Will Shortz of the NYT crossword puzzle. :)

  2. Did not know that. Now it makes sense. Thanks for the trivia!