Archive for ‘playing with words’

June 18th, 2013

As the saying goes

You’ve doubtless heard people talk about “tired cliches”, but did you know some of them get so tired they collapse into an amorphous heap of letters?

That might not strictly be true, but if it were to happen, it’d look something like this. Puzzle week continues, and today we’re asking you to perform a Humpty Dumptyesque task – can you put these phrases back together again?









The answers are waiting for you after this entirely random picture:


She could talk the hind leg off a donkey

A house divided against itself cannot stand

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Desperate times call for desperate measures

June 17th, 2013

Stretch of the Imagination

As wordnerds we know instinctively that playing with words is good for us. Most of us started doing it about the same time we stopped playing with our food. Happily, scientists weren’t content to say “yes, wordgames are cool” they researched extensively and discovered that word games are good for your memory, your organisational skills, developing patience, improving focus, and providing essential escapes from “reality”. From a wordy perspective they help us develop a sense of how words interact with each other and build our understanding of and familiarity with words. The more we play, the better we get.

We know what you’re thinking. “Wow! If only I had more wordgames in my life, what’s a wordnerd to do?”

puzzleweek image


Good news! Since we at ThatWordSite want you to be the best wordnerds you can be, we’ve declared this week puzzle week. Time to limber up your lexicographical muscles, and throw yourselves into a veritable vocabulary vortex.

We’re kicking off with a wordsearch made up only of letters from the first half of the alphabet.  You’ll find the solution here.

June 7th, 2013

E-asy Wordsearch

After the dearth of them in Chris Hancock’s article about lipograms we thought we’d better give you a surfeit of Es to make up for it. And that got us thinking, specifically about words of 8 letters or more with at least half of the letters being Es. So we sucked our pencils… then each other’s pencils… stared into the middle distance and – without straying too far into the realms of obscure words – came up with these:

Beekeeper, beekeepers, deepened, enfeeble, esteemed, exceeded, exegeses, eyepiece, kedgeree, redeemed, refereed, referees, squeegee, teetered, veneered.

Have we missed any? No doubt you’ll tell us.

As further compensation here’s another wordsearch – this time there are 50 words to find, each containing four Es. The puzzle is here and the solution is here.


December 26th, 2012

Rhetorical Answers

What wordnerd doesn’t love a little rhetoric? Rhetoric can be defined as “the art of making written or spoken discourse able to inform, persuade, or motivate”. It’s an ancient art – studied, developed and extensively practised in ancient Greece, where great importance was assigned to the power of oratory.
As wordnerds we love the power of words but – here’s the bonus. As different rhetorical devices were identified and classified, they were given names – and those names have filtered down to us from the ancient Greek. Glorious names, like Anastrophe, Antanaclasis, Auxesis, Bdelygmia, Chiasmus, Diatyposis, Hyperbaton…
read more »

October 12th, 2012

Verbosity Slickers

by Chris Hancock

Chris Hancock here. Just for a change, I’m handing my column over to my twin brother Calvin, because he has a confession to make. Well, I say confession, he says declaration of accountability. He can be a bit pompous and grandiloquent – nothing like me at all – but he’s OK when you get to know him.

Calvin, it’s all yours…

My extreme gratitude, Chris. Quite so.

You’ve probably experienced it yourself. You’re in the cinema watching a classic movie. A character delivers an unforgettable line… and you hear a “Tut!” from the auditorium. You look round but can’t identify where it came from. You settle down again. Later… another classic line. This time a murmured “Tsk! Sloppy…”. And this time you can identify the source.  It’s me!  I’m sat – not with a huge bucket of popcorn and a drinks carton of “homeopathic” Cola (99.99999% ice) – but with a notebook and pencil. I’m writing down all the memorable lines and re-writing them to better effect.

February 21st, 2012

And the answers to the Alpha crossword are…

…right here. Apparently our spelling of liripip is very niche, so we apologise if that threw anyone off track. We’ll be honing the elves’ crossword creating skills over the next few weeks, and we hope the cruciverbalists will keep playing along.

February 20th, 2012

Our Alpha Crossword

Our elves decided it’s time to test your wordnerdly skills – so they’ve created a crossword. We’ll post the answers tomorrow, and if it’s something you like, we’ll try and nag them to do it more often.

(We’re testing out fancier – aka Java – methods, but in the meantime you’ll have to print it out and fill it in the good old fashioned way.)