“Fat Cat” is the standard example of a hink pink. Louis Wain, Cats with Cat Dolls.
***UPDATE—The contest has ended! Thanks to all who entered. Click here for the answers—and the winners.***
Hink pink is a word game in which synonyms, circumlocution, and micronarratives provide clues for rhyming phrases. In the standard explanatory example, an “overweight feline” is a “fat cat.” Hink pinks on that babyish level aspire to lend vocabulary building an air of fun, but more sophisticated puzzles are sometimes mulled over on road trips, in trenches, and in other settings where boredom and tension might be mellowed, to paraphrase Dryden, by the dull sweets of rhyme.
Players aren’t restricted to monosyllables. A puzzle of disyllabic components is a hinky pinky, followed with decreasing dignity by hinkily pinkilies, hinklediddle pinklediddles, and hinklediddledoo pinklediddledoos. Even with longer puzzles, however, the goal, almost a mandate, is for each syllable to rhyme perfectly, though this perfection might depend on idiosyncratic stress. Many of the puzzles below are possessive constructions along the lines of “Bob’s jobs,” but where pluralization seemed cumbersome, nearly perfect rhymes were tolerated (“Bob’s job”). If you’re spurred to dream up hink pinks of your own, keep in mind that answers shouldn’t merely rhyme but also hold meaning as a unit, however whimsically. “Tree soda” might lead to “oak Coke,” but joylessly. “Naturalist’s soft drink” for “Zola’s cola” is more in the spirit.
Ed. note: The contest has ended. These are really hard. In the spirit of our contest last month, we’re prepared to make things interesting. Solve half of these riddles—any thirty of them—and we’ll reward you with a one-year subscription to The Paris Review along with a copy of our new anthology, The Unprofessionals. (If you can solve all of them, we’ll throw something extra special into the bargain.) Send an e-mail with your answers to [email protected]; the first three correct lists will win. The deadline is Friday at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck.
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