It's one of those winter nights where the fog is so thick and low you can barely see one lamp post to the next. Smoke from Blue Thorogood's tobacco roll-ups makes the air in his Rangiora bedsit more or less the same consistency.
Thorogood flips the cap off a Waikato Draught with his yellow Bic lighter and it's game on. The beer, the smoke, the heavy concentration - it's got the air of a lads' poker night but this is Scrabble. Serious Scrabble. Thorogood's opponent (and partner of three-and-a-bit years), Mandy Phillip, is using a computer for help. Phillips and her computer are streaking ahead but she's not too relaxed with the wide score gap because "Blue's endgame is amazing". That and he has just been ranked New Zealand's number one Scrabble player.