Now I Know - Now I Know: The Lost Boggle Story?

If you're new to Now I Know, you'll notice that today's format is different than the rest of the week. On Fridays, I take a pause to write the "Weekender," my  "week in review" type of thing, or to share something else I think you may find interesting. Thanks for reading! -- Dan

The Lost Boggle Story?


Yesterday's Now I Know (here) was one of my favorites -- in part because it was a lot different than most of the others, for a reason you may not have noticed -- I did not cite a single news source, book, or similar reference. The only links are to Wikipedia (for its articulation of one of Boggle's rules) and a blog about word games (for the list of letters on Boggle dice). That's not how Now I Know usually works. My process, generally, is to read a lot about the topic I'm going to share with you, synthesize what I've learned into a cohesive story, and then credit the sources I've relied on within the story itself. But yesterday, I didn't do that at all, and for good reason: my story was mostly speculation.

If you haven't read yesterday's newsletter yet, here's the short version: in 1987, Parker Brothers, the publisher of the word game Boggle, changed the letter distribution across the 16 game dice. That change was the only major one made at that time. Before the redesign, there were two Fs and two Ks spread across four different cubes; after the redesign, there were still two Fs but only one K, and all three of those letters were now on the same cube. As a result, in the original version, you can spell words that use both F and K; in the new version, you can't. And given that there's one particular word that requires an F and a K, that change seems intentional.

But as far as I can tell, Parker Brothers didn't make a big deal out of the change at the time. No press release, no news, etc. Admittedly, I'm just a guy with a laptop, good Googling skills, and a subscription to -- while I put in more effort than most would to see if there was an announcement around this, I may have missed something. (I generally don't reach out to public relations departments to find out more, in part because my publication timeline is daily and I don't have a ton of time, and in part because in all but one case, I've been ignored or been given a "dunno"-level response. I figured in this case, I'd get the latter at best -- I doubt anyone who is still at Parker Brothers would know what happened in 1987.) 

As a result, I didn't say or imply yesterday that banning the F-word was Parker Brothers' impetus for making the change -- there's no evidence to support that, and I try not to speculate too much in the regular Monday to Thursday stories. But today, I'm speculating. 

My guess is that sometime in the mid-1980s, an executive at the company was upset that kids were using Boggle cubes to spell the F-word, so he (and it was likely a he, given the time period) demanded a change. Game designers kicked into gear and redid the letter distribution. Right? That's the most sensible explanation here. If that's true, then somewhere out there there is, or was, a group of people who received some really funny -- but wholly serious -- memo from their bosses telling them that they had to do this. I really want to hear or read a first-hand account of that story (and I'd love to see a memo to that effect!), but I'm afraid it's been lost to time or will be soon. It's the lost Boggle story. At least we get to see the impact of that story, though.

The Now I Know Week in Review

MondayWhen Make Up Boxed Out Makeup: A game show scandal about -- a woman not wearing makeup?

TuesdayHere Comes the Story of the Herricanes: I found this one very hard to write; I hope it came through well.

Wednesday: What if the Astronauts Were Marooned on the Moon?:  I said in the bonus fact that Eisenhower dated his draft about a D-Day speech only July 5th, which was incorrect.  A few of you wrote in to tell me that he likely wrote "5th" instead of "6th" because D-Day was delayed a day due to the weather, which is true -- but the mistake I referenced was the month, not the day. D-Day took place in June.

ThursdayThe Party Game With a Built-In Swear Filter: I didn't notice that my brother (who took the picture of the Boggle board in the article) hid the words "Now I Know" in it. Congrats to him on sliding an easter egg into a Now I Know article without me noticing it!

Some Other Newsletters to Check Out!

Here's a list of other email newsletters you should consider subscribing to. In the interest of full disclosure, these are paid placements -- the newsletters are paying me a small amount of money for each person who signs up. 
1440: 1440 is the daily newsletter helping 2M+ Americans stay informed—it’s news without motives, edited to be unbiased as humanly possible. The team at 1440 scours over 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and everything in between - in a five-minute read each morning, 100% free.

Stat Significant: Love a good statistic? Stat Significant is a weekly newsletter featuring data-centric essays about culture, economics, sports, statistics, and more. Are Best Picture winners getting worse? Is Christmas season coming earlier? What is the dollar value of a yard in the NFL? Subscribe for free to find out!

Tech Brew: Tech news is confusing, so Tech Brew changed that.  Join over 450K people reading Tech Brew, the 3-times-a-week free newsletter covering all updates from the intersection of technology and business. They provide free tech knowledge that'll help you make more informed decisions. 

Smartr Daily: This is the essential newsletter for curious minds! Smartr Daily sources the smartest articles on the Internet. Get thought provoking ideas and insights delivered straight to your inbox daily!

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend:

1) "Banking on the Seaweed Rush" (Hakai Magazine, 14 minutes, March 2023). The subhead "Seaweed farmers promise to feed us, combat climate change, support coastal communities, provide wildlife habitat, and more. Can seaweed do it all?" Also related: there's a huge mass of seaweed coming toward Florida -- but that's bad, not good.

2) "A Scammer Who Tricks Instagram Into Banning Influencers Has Never Been Identified. We May Have Found Him." (ProPublica, 20 minutes, March 2023). A warning: This story contains the word the new Boggle doesn't allow.

3) "Here's How to Solve a 25-Story Rubik's Cube" (New York Times, 11 minutes, March 2023). This is actually the story of how hard it is to convert an office building into an apartment building -- which on its surface makes a lot of sense in a world where many people work remotely -- but I'll be honest, I am sharing it partially because the title is brilliant.

Have a great weekend!

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2023 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Key phrases

Older messages

Now I Know: The Party Game With a Built-In Swear Filter

Thursday, March 30, 2023

It's mind-bogglingly clever! View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Thanks to my brother for digging up an old version of Boggle and sending me lots of pictures (including

Now I Know: What if the Astronauts Were Marooned on the Moon?

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Read the speech that was never given View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives I originally shared this story twelve years ago today and somehow, haven't again since. Enjoy!

Now I Know: Here Comes the Story of the Herricanes

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Today's forecast: Cloudy with less sexism than in the 1970s. View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives I love this title and I hope you get the reference. -- Dan Here Comes

Now I Know: When Make Up Boxed Out Makeup

Monday, March 27, 2023

A story about Dr. Joyce Brothers View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hope you had a good weekend. This story talks about the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. The 1994 movie

It's the Now I Know Weekender!

Friday, March 24, 2023

That generic subject line means I didn't know what I was going to write about when I started writing this. View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! If you're new to Now I

From the Void to Validation

Friday, June 2, 2023

Solitary writing is out, social writing is in. This month, we're launching Writing Sprints — workout classes for your mind — to take you from zero to published in one day. Enrollment is open until

Creative leverage

Friday, June 2, 2023

Creativity is finite so spend it wisely ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Closes 6/16 • Summer Reading Kickoff Book Promo! • Tweets • Email Newsletter • Facebook & Blog Posts

Friday, June 2, 2023

Authors: Get in front of readers looking for books to read during the summer! Enable Images to See This Reserve Your Spot in ContentMo's JUNE #SummerReading Promotion & Get Your Book Tweeted

Now I Know: The Decade-Old Dialect Quiz You Should Take

Friday, June 2, 2023

It's the Now I Know Weekender! View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! If you're new to Now I Know, you'll notice that today's format is different than the rest

Dive into data this summer ☀️

Friday, June 2, 2023

Explore data-focused courses, blog posts, and more.͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏ ‌ ͏

Risky Course

Friday, June 2, 2023

This is a risky course I'm making. Last week, I asked Better Sheets members if they'd want me to make a course on Add-ons. Specifically how to make an add-on for Google Sheets. I let it be

The Gold Standard Qualification

Friday, June 2, 2023

If you want a serious marketing qualification that opens career doors, without high fees and years of study, CXL Minidegrees are the gold standard. But you need to act quickly to join our elite squad.

Influence Weekly #287 - How Sephora Is Partnering With Creators for Brand Impact

Friday, June 2, 2023

TubeBuddy Launches Inaugural Emerging Creator Awards Influence Weekly #287 June 2nd, 2023 Executive Summary The Secrets Behind Alex Cooper's Influencer Success How Sephora Is Partnering With

🔥 Ignite Creativity: S.W.I.P.E.S. Email (Friday June 2nd, 2023)

Friday, June 2, 2023

The SWIPES Email Swipe📁 • Wisdom🧠 • Interesting🧐 • Picture🖼 • Essay📄 • Splurge💰 ​A fun email for Friday. I hope you enjoy! Edition: Friday, June 2nd, 2023​ ​ 🎤 Listen to this email here: ​ ​ Swipe: I

Is the new mentorship right for you?

Friday, June 2, 2023

​ ​ In just 3 days, the doors fling open to the new SEO Chatter Mentorship program. And it's going to be awesome for everyone involved! However, we still need to address one crucial question: