Sixty Hink Pinks


Really Difficult Puzzles

“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.

  1. Hinky Pinky: How rhymin’ Horovitz secures the tool shed.
  2. Hinkily Pinkily: Cartesian cocktail.
  3. Hinky Pinky: Sniff at his pits, ye Mighty, and despair!
  4. Hink Pink: Idealist philosopher’s favorite Biergarten.
  5. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Gypsy guitarist told that Argentine dance is no mere hoofing.
  6. Hinkily Pinkily: Chem student summoned to discuss measuring mishap.
  7. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Golden notebooker sanctifies Athenian dramatic commenters.
  8. Hinky Pinky: Realist painter’s icy treat.
  9. Hinky Pinky: Bellovian hero, before that first cup of coffee.
  10. Hinklediddledoo Pinklediddledoo: Superlatively geometric afternoon.
  11. Hinkily Pinkily: Chaplin’s summertime violin school.
  12. Hinky Pinky: Ill-tempered English atheist logician.
  13. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Singing hobo’s Gold Toes are unexpectedly decorative.
  14. Hinkily Pinkily: Senescent mathematician’s umbrella.
  15. Hinky Pinky: The fruits of the behaviorist’s diet.
  16. Hinkily Pinkily: Vietnamese revolutionary’s container for bowling prizes.
  17. Hinky Pinky: St. Ives Group sculptor commanded to haul dirt.
  18. Hink Pink: The jealous brother’s crop.
  19. Hinkily Pinkily: Shaking off the blues, singer explores a lighter palette in old-fangled undergarments.
  20. Hinky Pinky: Get thee to a nunn’ry, Updike b-baller, but first don:
  21. Hink Pink: Billionaire bigot’s imminent fate, we hope.
  22. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Saucy Italian, to callipygian afrobeat pioneer.
  23. Hinky Pinky: Path-breaking playwright’s bitchin’ Flying V.
  24. Hink Pink: Jinping’s appeal.
  25. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Assange’s putrid trainers.
  26. Hinky Pinky: This year’s Tolstoy.
  27. Hinky Pinky: The last lion, the arborist, the peeling white bark, the niggling matter of payment …
  28. Hinky Pinky: On which riot cops at ’68 DNC sometimes puffed.
  29. Hinkily Pinkily: Cellist forgets to tip; waitstaff forever refers to this oversight as:
  30. Hinky Pinky: Mendacious heir.
  31. Hinky Pinky: Why yes, Hova!
  32. Hinklediddledoo Pinklediddledoo: Marxist literary theorist happily jogs with midsized hounds.
  33. Hinkily Pinkily: Smoky-voiced SoCal songster fibs on resume.
  34. Hinky Pinky: Jerry Lee Lewis converts to Islam, personalizes the five essentials.
  35. Hinkily Pinkily: Le Petite Caporal dials 1-800-SEX-CHAT.
  36. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Blues singer investigates abolitionist orator.
  37. Hinkily Pinkily: Promiscuous cloth merchant’s Hoover blanket.
  38. Hinky Pinky: Experienced six-stringer’s seductive hip shake.
  39. Hinky Pinky: Fin de Siècle scapegoat’s spotted fever.
  40. Hinky Pinky: With which Whitehead wets whistle.
  41. Hink Pink: Rustic’s K-Y.
  42. Hinky Pinky: “Heey!” says leather-jacketed German-American Abstract Expressionist.
  43. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Philandering American elevator tycoon’s latest paramour, a dreamy Homeric hedonist.
  44. Hinky Pinky: Why, thank you, sister, but this old headcloth? It’s just a:
  45. Hinkily Pinkily: David Berman nicks a sixer.
  46. Hinky Pinky: A circular graph by Leonardo.
  47. Hink Pink: Grunge martyr’s Mongolian tent.
  48. Hinklediddledoo Pinklediddledoo: Character actor from thespian dynasty makes last milk run.
  49. Hinky Pinky: Reagan’s split, salted, and smoked herring.
  50. Hinky Pinky: Offred’s gauzy adhesive strip.
  51. Hinky Pinky: Mr. October’s meatless stir-fry.
  52. Hinky Pinky: Alms for the astronomer?
  53. Hinky Pinky: Wild-haired blinker’s BO.
  54. Hinky Pinky: Brontë demon-lover rips into “Brown Sugar.”
  55. Hink Pink: Tubby prexy’s simple barque.
  56. Hinky Pinky: Dialectician’s doughnut-shaped roll.
  57. Hinky Pinky: Gangster in solitude.
  58. Hinkily Pinkily: Gabe Kaplan, Jr.’s big defeat.
  59. Hinklediddle Pinklediddle: Gingrich and mother’s mother host folkie gathering.
  60. Hinky Pinky: Gender troubler’s army peddler.
Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His second novel, Amateurs, comes out in May.