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SCRABBLE VALIDATES A BIT OF EX-BABBLE

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Scrabble players were given good news Saturday - "qi" is an official word.

Editors of "Official Scrabble Words," the Scrabble reference book, said qi (pronounced "chee"), a Chinese word meaning life force, would be in the new edition to be issued Jan. 1."The letter `q' will no longer be a terror," Graeme Thomas, chairman of the 500-member Association of Premier Scrabble Players, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The letter "q" is a trial for English-language players of the word game because it carries 10 points, but appears very rarely in words.