Posts Tagged ‘word games’
May 23, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review and a copy of Dylan’s new novel, Amateurs. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to email@example.com. The deadline is Thursday, May 26, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!
Mrs. Malaprop is the pompous aunt in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy, The Rivals, and the eponym for the word malapropism. As one of her relations puts it in the play, she’s known for her use of “words so ingeniously misapplied, without being mispronounced.” Repeatedly and obliviously, she reaches for a high-flown word but comes out with a similar sounding, contextually nonsensical or ludicrous one—appellation, for example, becomes compilation; alligator morphs into allegory.
Each sentence in this month’s puzzle contains a malapropism. Your task is to identify the misapplied and intended words. As in The Rivals, the confused words are occasionally out-and-out rhymes, but most are more subtly alike in sound. For illustration, we’ll quote two of Mrs. Malaprop’s lines:
- But the point we would request of you is, that you will promise to forget this fellow—to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
- He is the very pine-apple of politeness.
Were those quotations part of our puzzle, correct answers would read something like this:
- Illiterate should be obliterate.
- Pine-apple should be pinnacle.
Or you might right “illiterate = obliterate,” or “Not ‘pine-apple, you silly, ‘pinnacle!’ ”—unlike Alex Trebek, we’re not sticklers about how you phrase your answers, though you do need to include both words in each answer. As always, the first person to submit a complete set of correct answers—or, in the event that no one achieves that, the person who submits the most correct answers—wins a free Paris Review conscription. Read More »
February 19, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: Perhaps you’ve noticed that we did not, in fact, announce winners yesterday. Noon came and went, and no announcement! It has been brought to our attention that the conditions, as they stand, are too harsh: the puzzles are really, really hard! So we’re modifying the rules—namely, just do as many as you can. Twenty? Great! Ten? Send ’em along. You have until Monday. Good luck!
February 16, 2016 | by Dylan Hicks
Ed. Note: The response to our last round of word puzzles was so overwhelming that puzzle correspondent Dylan Hicks has brought you thirty more! This time, we’re demanding total accuracy: the first three correct lists will win a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. You must solve all thirty riddles correctly. Send an e-mail with your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Thursday, February 18, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!
As a boy, I wasn’t alone in believing there to be a wonderful blue-eyed soul duo out of Philadelphia called Haulin’ Oats. Their music, we hoped, would provide solace during our imminent and futile battles against killer bees. Some of us grew up to be small-batch granolatiers and had to fend of lawsuits from Daryl and John themselves.
The answers to the following thirty puzzles are in a similar spirit—of word-bending, that is, not litigation. They employ antanaclasis, homophony, homonymy, rhyme, assonance, and other devices toward paronomasia—okay, they’re puns. The form, I realize, has a mixed reputation.
Maybe a few further words of explanation are required. The answers tweak, reframe, or link a variety of sources: titles of books, movies, and other artworks; proper names; famous lines of poetry or political rhetoric; clichés and other well-traveled terms. Many are paragrams—plays built on the alteration of a letter or letters, not always in service to rhyme. To foster challenge and competition, a few of the clues are oblique, but never deliberately obfuscatory, though anachronism and other breaches of logic have been tolerated or encouraged. Mostly the clues try to cover the bases without too much bold-face. For instance, “Ursine Frisco bandleader trucks off to buy bings and maraschinos” might cue “Cherry Garcia.” That one was judged to be off-limits, but the standard for innovation wasn’t set fussily high. Though none of the answers were wittingly plagiarized, a half hour on the leading search engine revealed, to little surprise, that I wasn’t the first or, in some cases, the fourth to arrive at several of these (ingenious) puns. My apologies, then, for that, and for everything.
- Federal Reserve stocks up massively on Stouffer’s.
- Boundless w/r/t Yeezy.
- And as in uffish thought he stood,
At peroration of his rap
With mimsy smile he cocked his head
And cued the crowd, “Please clap.”
- Sellout Marxist pitches for OxiClean.
- MacDougal Street corner spot where Peter Pastmaster, Paul Pennyfeather, and Lady Mary Lygon might have blown in the wind.
- Khakis coax truth.
- The Sun now rose upon the right,
And parched the sloping mast
The Mariner raised his skinny hand,
And spake the long forecast
- Melvillian scrivener conditionally favors Russian pop duo.
- Thatcher refuses butter-making shift.
- Shazam, Sergeant Carter, here you are managin’ a Bally Fitness while I’m right next door teachin’ Zumba at Snap. I reckon we’re:
- After Cunningham, Wright, Carter, Leaf, Stoerner, Hutchinson, Testaverde, Henson, and Bledsoe, Cowboys fan complains with a Yeatsian sigh:
- Babylonian beau, to minimize risk
Might have shunned holey walls for red flying disks
- Photo-album caption cleverly annotates sunken-eyed, death-defying actor’s trip to Yakushi-ji.
- Tennyson follows up pathbreaking collection with odes to mostly round, fleshy fruits.
- Steven Ellison remixes stage name while piloting Air Force One.
- The Belle of Amherst runs over Rogen.
- Spanglish bed sized for married grammarians—or serial monogamists.
- Coates and Steinman coauthor book by dashboard light.
- Starring opposite Cary Grant, Mae West misquotes “The Canonization” in this little-known Metaphysical romp.
- Bloodily horrific day at voluminous East Village bookstore.
- Kafka executor visits Wexler and Abrams.
- Habitat 67 mastermind takes the wheel of ice-cream truck.
- Wallace Stevens guides multifocal examination of Clinton e-mails.
- Edmund Wilson holes up in fortified residence with Symbolist library and truckload of GlaxoSmithKline SSRI.
- I met him at the concert hall
He plumbed the depths of Schubert songs—you get the picture?
(Ja, sehen wir)
That’s when I fell for:
- Sled provides key to ambitious biopic of Family Circus
- Early in ’61, a very young Declan MacManus sets his sights on Dominican dictator.
- Under Professor Boyd’s tutelage, Bonzo begins to act according to unconditional moral laws.
- Patricidal space meanie joins forces with Australian-born pop goddess.
- Weary of the spotlight, supporting-actor nominee quietly launches spicy-chicken stand.
February 27, 2014 | by David Pablo Cohn
How many hotheaded academics does it take to solve a riddle?
I don’t know what the best thing was about Jim Propp’s parties. They were a crystalline picture of the specialized, rarefied company I kept when I lived in Cambridge in the midnineties, parked on Mass. Ave. halfway between Harvard and MIT. Profs, postdocs, and assorted academic keepsakes from the cream of Boston academia all piled into Jim’s Victorian four-square house in Somerville for an evening of … well, we never quite knew what the evening would bring.
Technically, these were “word game” parties. Each was planned around a series of intellectual challenges arranged around the house more or less like evil wizards, ax-wielding dwarves, or more mundane impediments in a typical game of Dungeons & Dragons. You’d team up with a couple friends (or the pretty redhead who was probably dating one of your professors, if you could), and make your way from room to room, solving bits and pieces of puzzles that—if you were lucky—you could string together for the grand solution. The prize was bragging rights until the next party, six months down the line.
In any case, it all began with the invitation. Twice a year, a mysterious envelope would appear. I remember the first one I received: a single sheet with nothing but a swirling Spirograph flower on one side, and the letters RSVP below it. Where, when, and how were left to the recipient, presumably after he or she had coaxed the secret out of the cryptic drawing. Read More »