A Sheesha in the SUQ

“What does that mean?”

Let my first post about Scrabble begin with one of those little words that comes in mighty handy at times, but the novice players question and demand a definition: SUQ.

I took a leisurely stroll, figuratively speaking, through Souq Waqif today, then sat down and had a sheesha with a friend. Now, you won’t find “souq” or “sheesha” in the OSPD5, but they are real, I promise you.

A SUQ is a welcoming, traditionally outdoor or open-air marketplace found in various locations throughout the Middle East and Africa. It is also a rare acceptable Q-word that is not followed by a U, and an easy 12 points if you have no bonus squares to play it on. While it does still require a U, how many times have you found yourself with QU and no other available vowels?

I told my friend that I was going to write Hasbro and Merriam-Webster a nasty letter about failing to include “souq” in the newest edition of the official game dictionary. But the truth is the timing is just bad, and had I taken my stroll last year at this time, I would have had a chance to lobby for its inclusion. Oh well, there will be an OSPD6!

A sheesha is a flavored-water pipe, perhaps known better as a HOOKA or HOOKAH, both valid Scrabble words. A sheesha sounds similar but is not exactly the same as HASHEESH or HASHISH, both potential bingos in a game.

As for SUQ, you will also find it in the good book spelled SOUK, SUK, and SUKH, just not “souq,” which SUCKS.

SUQ–12 points, face value.

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