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Boyfriend Keeps Bringing Up Scrabble Victory

PLYMOUTH, NH—Evan Riedel has made reference to his Dec. 20 Scrabble victory over girlfriend Amy Vanderploeg "about 200 friggin' times" in the days since, Vanderploeg reported Monday.

Amy Vanderploeg with boyfriend Evan Riedel, who is still carrying on about his Dec. 20 Scrabble win.

"Evan will not let that Scrabble game drop," Vanderploeg, 23, said. "Constantly, he'll say stuff like, 'Do you need help reading that magazine article? I know your vocabulary isn't the best, judging from that round of Scrabble we played.' Give it up already, Evan."

The oft-alluded-to match, which took place at Vanderploeg's apartment, was a decisive 382-183 victory for Riedel, who needed less than one hour to dispense with his girlfriend of three years. Upon winning, he performed a brief victory dance and began verbally taunting his vanquished opponent—behavior that has continued unabated nearly two weeks later.

"He works the word 'esteemed' into conversation whenever possible and then says, 'Gee, I really like that word 'esteemed,'" Vanderploeg said. "He was so proud that he'd used up those four e's in one word and used all seven tiles."

Vanderploeg added that by placing "esteemed" across a triple-word-score spot on the board and earning a 50-point bonus for using all his letters, Riedel was able to, in his words, "rack up a sweet 77" on the turn.

In addition to constantly bringing up his best moves, Riedel has relished pointing out errors Vanderploeg made during the game.

"Whenever we see a cat now, he goes, 'C-A-T... Cat!' as a way of making fun of me for putting down such a simple word at one point," Vanderploeg said. "Then he usually says, 'You know where cats like to walk? On the catwalk!' That's because instead of putting down 'cat,' I could've added my 'cat' onto the word 'walk' that was already on the board and gotten a lot more points."

Vanderploeg said she should have anticipated Riedel's post-victory arrogance on the basis of his behavior during the game. "Evan was getting way too into it," she said. "At one point, he got a double-word score and actually screamed, 'Boo-ya!'''

Scrabble game

By the midpoint of the game, Riedel had developed an elaborate tile-picking ritual, shaking the bag vigorously before blowing into it and chanting, "Come on, come on, please... gimme the Xs, Js, and Zs!" According to Vanderploeg, such theatrics made it difficult for her to concentrate on the game and contributed to her poor showing.

"There were several times when I put down the first thing I thought of, just to get the stupid thing over with faster," Vanderploeg said. "Every time it was my turn, Evan would lean across the board and stare at me. It started to get really annoying, but whenever I told him to stop, he'd say, 'What's the matter? Can't take the heat?'"

According to noted psychologist Dr. Eli Wasserbaum, Riedel's behavior is rooted in his outsider status during childhood.

"Awkward and ungainly as a boy, Evan never excelled in athletics," Wasserbaum said. "He did, however, find shelter in academia. It is natural, then, that he is most comfortable asserting his male competitive instincts in this arena. His frequent allusion to the Scrabble victory can be likened to a male peacock extending his colorful tail plumage before the female bird. With his constant boasting, Evan is not actually trying to annoy his girlfriend but instead impress her and win her approval."

Riedel has engaged in boardgame-victory braggadocio in the past, carrying on about triumphs in such games as Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, and Outburst.

"One time, we were playing Scattergories with [longtime couple] Jeff [Weitz] and Kimberly [Alford], and Evan got so bad, I had to cut the game short," Vanderploeg said. "We didn't see them for, like, three months after that."

While Riedel admits to mentioning the Scrabble victory frequently, he denies any wrongdoing.

"I'm just teasing Amy, is all," Riedel said. "Besides, I can't help it if I possess a superior vocabulary and stellar word-formation skills. Ka-ching!"

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