There’s a popular Scrabble-eque game for iPhone called “Words with Friends”. I was not only suckered into playing it but stupidly buying it as well — even though there’s a free version that’s ad supported. I have the mobile version of the App Store to thank for that by only presenting the pay version, but on with the show.

I’ve played several dozen games of Words with bloggers, clients, my spouse, former colleagues and even strangers. And I want to let all of you know – I’m on to you! Here are the five signs I know you’re cheating when we play.

Ancient Chinese Proverb

1. Calm down, Bill Nye. I know your background, ma’am, and there’s no way you know that much about science. The last time I checked you were in favor of banning teaching evolution and bragging about Scientology so I know you have no clue as to what those words mean.

2. Botany references. It’s a scientific fact that women love flowers but there’s no way in hell you know the nine species of the graminoid plant, let alone how to spell them correctly. Play anything ending with “ae” and I can pretty much assume you’re cheating.

3. Random-ass letter dropping that seems to work. I know damn well you didn’t mean to spell “Jin”, “Fie” and “Cedi”, nor do you know what they mean. Sub-category of number three: Two letter words you’ve never heard of, like “Qi” and “Xi”, yet you still land a triple word score and earn 33 points for shit you thought was Chinese. ‘Nuff said.

4. I know how you talk and write. And there’s no way in hell I’d ever hear you say any of these words, even if you were writing a post-graduate essay.

5. Back and forth. No, I don’t mean you’re being indecisive about what word to play or letter to withhold. I’m talking about those little eyes that appear in the upper right hand corner of the app that show I’m watching you. And when I see you come and go several times I know you’re either Googling words or using a site like Win Every Game to cheat.

Now, you might be asking “Dave, you seem pretty astute at this process. How do you know so much about catching Words with Friends cheaters?” To which I”ll say this: Takes one to know one. ;)

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