April 13: Scrabble Day, Thomas Jefferson Day, National Peach Cobbler Day, Great Chicago Flood 20th Anniversary

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Scrabble Day

They say necessity is the mother of invention, or maybe its father is poverty. Words With Friends players should be saying thanks to the late Alfred M. Butts (born April 13, 1899). In 1931, Butts lost his job at an architecture firm. He then combined his creativity with his love for games, particularly crossword puzzles, and created the first incarnation of the game that came to be known as Scrabble, according to MIT. It was called Lexiko and players used nine, not seven tiles per turn.

The next version was called Criss-Cross Words. The tile count dropped to seven. Butts "used letter frequency counts from newspaper crossword puzzles to help determine the distribution of tiles and their relative point values," according to the Computer Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Butts returned to work as an architect.

James Brunot bought the rights to the game, with Butts receiving royalties. The game's rules changed, the board got new colors and the name was changed to Scrabble. Macy's helped popularize the game in 1953. The game has passed through the hands of Selchow & Righter Co., Coleco Industries, and Hasbro Inc.

Thomas Jefferson Day

April 13 is Thomas Jefferson Day. Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 and served as the third U.S. president. He was also the second vice president, and the author of the Declaration of Independence, according to the White House.

National Peach Cobbler Day

Cobble together a dessert, much like they did in the "American West during the second half of the 19th century" (Food Timeline). The resourceful pioneers made crusts in deep dishes and then filled it with whatever fruits they had on hand that would cook in their Dutch ovens. Modern cobbler does not always have a crust on the bottom, only a crust on the top. Sometimes it's biscuit-like, other times it could be a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, brown sugar and spices.

Try peach cobbler made with:

* Macaroons

* Raspberries

* Ginger

Great Chicago Flood 20th Anniversary

What sets the Great Chicago Flood apart from other floods is that it happened a mere 20 years ago. Millions of gallons of water broke through an old underground tunnel, 20 feet below the bed of the Chicago River, flooding the city's business district on April 13, 1992. "Over 200 million gallons of water surged through an extensive series of underground tunnels, affecting more than 30 major buildings, including City Hall and the financial markets. Lower levels of major office high-rises held up to 40 feet of water, and the city center was evacuated out of fear that electrical or utility connection failures could endanger lives ... causing estimated damages of $2 billion," according to Exponent Engineering.

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