Word Games

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The missing words in the poems represent a set of anagrams (like post, spot, stop). The number of dashes indicates the number of letters in the word. The missing word at the end of the line will rhyme with the previous or following line to give you a big hint. Your challenge is to identify the set of anagrams by the context of the poem and the above rules.

This word game was invented by my mother Fan Brown, who sent her poems to game magazines and exulted the $25 she occasionally got in the mail. My mother-in-law, who fashioned herself as an arbiter of elevated artistic taste, sniffed at my mother’s efforts and pronounced her poems as “doggerel.” Well of course they’re doggerel, but damn fine doggerel tailored to the word enthusiast.


The missing words in the following poem are all anagrams (like post, spot, stop) and the number of dashes indicates the number of letters.  One angram will rhyme with either the previous or following line.  Your job is to solve the missing words based on the context of the poem. Scroll down for answers.

One of the ***** of the French RevolutionWas Maria Antoinettes clear solution

To starving peasants who had to *****

The ***** little crumb to make a meal.

“Let them eat cake instead of ***** bread.

The peasants revolted and she lost her head.

Idiom’s Delight

Idiom’s abound in the English language ,ranging from the ever popular “raining cats and dogs” to my personal favorite “when the shit hits the fan.” The historical origin of each idiom can be traced, often to the Bible or Shakespeare. Others can be traced to more recent events – “drink the KoolAid,” describing blind obedience, or “Land it in the Hudson,” a business term describing salvaging a doomed project. Some project strong visuals. (Just dwell for a moment on shit hitting a fan.)

Four different derivations are presented for each idiom. Three are “distractors” The fourth is real, as identified in various reference books. Your job is to choose the correct derivation.

Example Idiom’s Delight:

Let the Cat out of the Bag

1. An old, and presumably unsuccessful sales trick, was to bring a cat to the market in a bag and claim that it was a suckling pig for sale. To let the cat out of the bag, then, was to reveal the con.

2. The “cat” in this phrase refers to the cat-o-nine tails used to flog sailors at the slightest offense; the cat was kept in a bag in the quarter master’s cabin. Once the “cat” was out of the bag, the sailor’s punishment was imminent.

3. In this Irish phrase a “cat” refers to a highly paid mistress, and her “bag” was her discrete apartment. To let the “cat out of the bag” referred to those instances when the gentleman felt comfortable accompanying his mistress in public.

4. Cat fighting is a local custom in Hong Kong. Participants bring their trained cats to the fights in a bag, thus highly agitating the confined cats. The furious fight would begin when the owners let their cats out of the bag.


Fanagram Answers:

tales, steal, least, Stale

Idiom’s Delight Answer

No. 4 is correct

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