Word Games

It’s a clue, people.

It’s a clue, people.

There’s always something to do at the shop. But how do booksellers (and other word lovers) entertain themselves? Lauren writes…

Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine created a word game to occupy tedious shifts in the food service industry. The game was called Stinky Pinky. It was a game that finally gave advantage to us word-devouring bibliophiles who keep a list of favorite words in one pocket and a thesaurus in the other.

As vocabulary enthusiasts, we relish encounters with new words. In a Civil War history lecture at MU, Jay Sexton (Author of A Nation Forged by Crisis) used “recrudescent” to refer to the harmful resurgence of imperialism in the 19th century. I spent the rest of the lecture turning it over in my mind, daydreaming about the perfect opportunity to use it in conversation to impress (annoy) my friends… and paying attention to the lecture, of course, if you’re reading this, Dr. Sexton.

I speculate that this competitive drive for bookfolk to show off with words stems from an internalized lack of athletic skill that creates the perfect environment for mental word gymnastics. But here I am talking about myself again. It probably started with the invention of the word “actually.”

I’ve played my share of word games. It began with my father’s obsession with Wheel of Fortune, escalated when I angrily flipped my first Scrabble board, and peaked when I discovered Stinky Pinky.

The rules are simple:

Pick two rhyming words that have the same number of syllables. These words can be completely unrelated.

Think of an inventive clue to describe each of the words. Think Taboo here. How can you talk around the word or, more importantly, how can you show off your smarts?

Introduce the words by indicating the number of syllables. Think charades here. If you’re using two-syllable duos, say “stinky pinky.” One-syllable, use “stink pink.” If you’re feeling like a hellion, “stinkity pinkity.” Then deliver your clue.

Utterly stump your friends.

Try solving these:

Stink pink. Evangelical Stone-fruit.

Preach Peach

Stinky pinky. Leafy Steam Room

Fauna Sauna

Stinkity pinkity: Homosexual Actor.

Lesbian Thespian

Your friends will be so pleased to see what a wordsmith you are!

I’ll leave you with this stumper: Stinky Pinky. Credit card abbreviation, terrible lizard. Let me know when you’ve cracked it.