Where language, that awe-striking human innovation, still feels awesome, Daniel Ari finds himself—fascinated, frustrated, maddened, mesmerized. It's a flurry, a fracas, a free-for-all—a fight—with poems!
Congratulations to Pamela (PCS) and Patricia who both took prizes in round one. The prize, a signed copy of "Monster Poems" by Daniel Ari, illustrated by Lauren Ari.
Now, let's start round 2!If you don't know how to play, here are the simple directions.
The categories are: 1. Fictional places 2. Two names of cities 3. Synonyms of "sound" 4. Obscure words
The 4-letter word: HORN
Points will be awarded as capriciously and arbitrarily as before according to (or in spite of) these rules:
1 point per cell filled
+ 1 point for each pair of cities in category 2 that are connected by roads (i.e., you can drive from one to the other).
+ 5 points for the single pair of cities among all entries that have the greatest driving distance between them.
+ 1 point for each obscure word in category 4 that includes a definition
+ 1-3 bonus points for LOLs
+ 10 bonus points if you also submit a poem or flash fiction that includes at least 5 words from your category grid.
Start your engines.
Winner to be announced June 5 because I'll be in Las Vegas when the deadline would have otherwise been.
"Categories” or “The Grid Game” is something my family
played on car trips or at home. As an adult, I have found it to be a lot of
laughs at parties or writing jams. It’s also a good way to stir up creative
At the last writing jam at my place, Jud, Maria, Janice, Rachel,
Lauren, Jason, Ajua and I played. Sharing our results inspired belly laughs as
well as a-ha moments. Then we used the answers we came up with as a wordlist
for free writing.
So here’s the game and how you can participate now in this blog-based tourney. Three sections
HOW TO PLAY
HOW TO PLAY
Create a 4x4 grid on a piece of paper. You could do this by
folding a paper into 16ths, or just draw lines. Here’s mine. You’ll notice I
left a little space above and to the left, which is not a bad idea.
Above each column, we'll write our categories. When I was a
kid, we used categories like animals, foods, girl’s names, and colors. As an adult, I have found it more fun
to use farther-fetched categories, as you will see.
When our categories are in place, we pick a four-letter word
in which no letters repeat, such as “WORD,” and we put these letters down the
left side of the grid so each row is labeled by one letter.
Now we fill in the grid with words in the categories that
start with the letters, that is, animals that start with the letters W, O, R,
and D; foods that start with those letters, and so on.
You can work in any order you wish. Usually, there is a time
limit, five or ten minutes, but since we’re playing online, take the time you
need. I suggest working out of your head with no external resources, but you
may do as you wish without fear of reprisal.
Eventually, your grid will be complete. Here’s mine:
Now, you’ll notice a few things about this:
so important (Osso Bucco has two Cs).
There's nothing wrong
with putting the same word in more than one category if it fits both.
Rules are malleable.
“Wishbone salad dressing” is absolutely a food, but a bit of askew to the category.
I would still count it.
Answers can go out of bounds. Where “out of bounds” begins is not definitive, but “Delicious rhubarb pie” would generally be regarded as a poor
answer because "Delicious" is not a food and "Rhubarb pie" does not start with D. I would declare this answer unpointworthy.
“Delta Dawn,” being a double D, could be worth a bonus point. (Insert your own boob joke here.)
I left “Color-D”
blank because I couldn’t think of one. With all the time you need, you don’t
need to leave any space blank, but you shouldn’t feel bad about doing so
if you can’t think of anything. Blanks are okay.
When I was a kid, we scored one point for each cell we
filled with a passable answer, and we earned a bonus point if nobody else had
the same answer. With categories like “Colors,” this encouraged us to think outside
the grid and reach father than “Red.” It also taught us to take risk. We
might venture to put in “Raisin-color” only to have family consensus declare
the answer unworthy of a point. But the discussion about how to score the word was always lively.
My family was plenty good at being creative, though, so when
we got older, we reversed the scoring criteria. We still got a point for each
cell filled, but the bonus point was earned when our answers matched someone
else’s. This encouraged us to try to find the obvious answer, but by then our
categories had gotten more sophisticated, so matching was rare.
The point, though, is that points are mainly beside the
point. If you want them, enjoy them.
Take one point for each cell filled.
If you see someone match your answer, take a single bonus point (you get one bonus point no matter how many people match).
When you post your
answers, I will arbitrate where you get extra points for answers that are
especially good (not to put too fine point on it).
I will also let you know if
any of your answers are out of bounds. (Don’t be afraid to go out of bounds,
though. My bounds are pretty huge.)
Write in the
categories and words below.
Fill in the
grid and post your answers by May 21.
grid in the comments section in this format: