A softly-spoken Jamberoo retiree flew out to India yesterday, carrying in his hands - or in his mind - our hopes at the world championships of Scrabble.
Graeme Lock Lee is one of 13 Australians who have qualified for the tournament, which will draw more than 200 of the world's best Scrabblers converge to the city of Goa in pursuit of prizemoney and prestige.
It's a thrill for Mr Lock Lee, who plays his recreational Scrabble weekly at Collegians with WORDS - the Wollongong Order of Really Dedicated Scrabblers - for four games each meeting.
There's 276,000 words. The very ambitious [players] will have taken three months off work, and they'll be studying their lists full-timeGraeme Lock Lee
But knowing the sheer size of the vocabulary of the top Scrabble players worldwide, he's been busy studying to try and boost his "ammunition" before the contest.
If a well-educated adult has a vocabulary of about 22,000 words, elite scrabblers may commit to memory several times that - well above 100,000 words.
"I have to say that word knowledge is probably the biggest determinant of how well you do in any given tournament," he said.
"Of course tactics play a part, luck plays a part, but primarily you really need to know a lot of words to be at world championship level."
As for Mr Lock Lee, he estimates his internal word count to push over 60,000, and he's trying to top it up before hostilities commence on Wednesday.
"I would really only claim to know 60,000-70,000 words," he said.
"These days you can download a list from the internet, you can buy a dictionary and browse through it, or you can be systematic - there's computer programs that help you learn, so that you put all the words you don't know into a list, and you can test yourself against the list.
"This is what the younger players can do now with the computer, and it's much nicer than the way I used to learn."
But these numbers don't come close to the total 276,000 words which are recognised by the official Scrabble dictionary, the managing rights to which are currently held by Collins.
So around the world, aspiring champions are busy cramming.
"The very ambitious ones will have taken three months off work, and they'll be studying their lists full-time."
Before retiring Mr Lock Lee worked as a website administrator - and says Scrabble can actually draw on mathematical skills almost as much as language.
"It's surprisingly a very mathematical game - there's a lot of probability in working out the probability of getting particular words on your rack, or how what letters are remaining," he said.
"You'll find that a lot of the world champions have a very strong background in maths."
And his top play?
Mr Lock Lee estimates his highest play to be a 176 ("quite a common high score") or perhaps a 221. And he hit his highest game score - 604 - last week.
Perhaps the tiles are aligning for our great word hope.