Words index Vivian Cook Letter Games with Words Sequence Games with Words
Games with words
The object of word guessing games is for players to guess a word or phrase that has been chosen by someone else.
In a variation called Dumb Crambo, the guesser asks questions which must be answered with a rhyming word: suppose the word is chair, the guesser might ask:
Is it an animal?
No itís not a mare.
itís not a pear. Ö.
In another version, known as Coffeepot, the answers have to substitute the word coffeepot for the target word, say banana:
coffeepots are quite small
Can you buy it in a shop?
Yes many shops sell
it be eaten?
it have to be cooked?
In the variant called Botticelli the player thinks of a famous person, say Johnny Depp and announces the first letter D. The others ask him or her questions and she or he have to reply with the name of another famous person starting with the same letter that the questioner might be thinking of:
you a politician?
No Iím not Alistair
Have you written books?
No Iím not Charles Dickens.
In another variant called Twenty Answers, players provide a series of twenty statements that might be answers to questions about the target word and the player has to guess the word:
Itís part of the body.
Twenty Questions exploits the type of meaning that uses a set of plus or minus features Ė edible [+], cooked [-], as discussed on page 000; can you narrow down the choices to just one word by having 20 yes (+) or no (-) pieces of information? For this reason it is easy to devise a computer program that Ďlearnsí from examples that are fed into it and soon becomes almost unbeatable Ė a commercial version is on sale.