Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Word Game

I’ve got almost three hours left, as these very words are typed, before I default on the grand promise made to myself of writing at least one post per ten days. So let me hurry up and write about a word-game I used to play quite often, long ago.

It’s about getting from one word to a totally unrelated word using synonyms.
All you need for the game is a tool (a Software or a Website) that gives you the synonyms of a word, e.g. Word-web, Dictionary.com. So here are the steps to play the game:

1. Think of any two apparently disconnected words like “Deep” and “Formula”.
2. Find Synonyms of the first word using the tool.
3. From the list of Synonyms, select a word that, you think, could take you closer to the second word.
4. Find Synonyms of the selected word in step 3.
5. If the second word (here “Light”) is not in the list obtained in step 4, then go to step 3. Else, celebrate.

So for the Deep-Formula example, the sequence using Word-web could be:
Deep-Mysterious-Occult-Eclipse-Dominate-Rule-Formula

Of course, there is more than one solution in many cases. The most fun part is trying to get to the opposites through the chain of synonyms. Let’s kill the life:
Life-Spirit-Intent-Captive-Imprisoned-Confined-Bounded-Choked-Died

Try and get to “Clear” from “Close” in minimum number of steps. Why don’t you put a challenging pair in the comments with the number of steps you took to reach the solution.

Not all pairs would have solutions; but that happens mostly if you choose a very restrictive first word, like “Calculator”. Otherwise, you almost always get to any other word through the synonyms. Now, what does that tell us about language and symbols and the way we communicate?

Let me know if you find the game genuinely interesting and whether you’ve seen something similar anywhere else. If it’s worth it, then I might create a Software (may be a Facebook application) that would help play the game. It would come up with suitable pairs which definitely have solutions and then show the user/player the route he is taking to get to the destination word. Taking a step further, the software can generate pairs at various difficulty levels based on the number of steps and choices required to solve the problem.

This also reminds me of the silly game of rhyming words, if I may call it so, that almost all of us would have played. Back in Kharagpur, me and one particular friend nicknamed Sanki, seldom had a conversation without the poetic touch. He would knock on my door and ask “Do you have a pen?”; the reply would be “Only if square of Pi is less than ten.” Yes, we were that bad. It did get emotionally draining to be always alert and continue doing so month after month. We earned many enemies in due course, some well-wishers turned agnostic too.

Putting stupid memories aside, let me request you to throw a few challenging pairs and then we can compare our solutions.

And am I glad to beat the deadline by a mighty margin of two hours :).

16 comments:

Sanjay said...

"Stupid" to "Memory" . Took me 8 steps.

Kanchan said...

he he nice game Brown .I took 2 random words from the mail I was reading : "rate" and "barrier".it took me 11 steps :
rate-incidence-degree-intensity-concentration-fixation-obsession-compulsion-force-army-barracks-enclosure-barrier

Arnab Majumdar said...

Damn interesting game that one. Although I'm not feeling smart enough right now to make a quiz of that sort, I'd surely love to play it on facebook. Haven't heard of it before, so that's also an added benefit :)

Looking forward to this game on Facebook... Cheers :D

Indyeah said...

LOL@He would knock on my door and ask “Do you have a pen?”; the reply would be “Only if square of Pi is less than ten.” Yes, we were that bad. It did get emotionally draining to be always alert and continue doing so month after month. We earned many enemies in due course, some well-wishers turned agnostic too.''


umm why only one post per ten days?isnt that a rather long gap?and its your blog you can write as much as you want

Tandoori said...

Hello Brown Phantom, I am wondering why that name?
Very very interesting premise, this word game of yours and will be trying it out for sure.
Thanks for visiting my blog Tandoori Lounge.

Niti said...

interesting!! will try out soon though..:D

Preeti said...

wow ...sounds quite interesting ...will try it out later and post the results ..

making a FB application is kool idea , go for it ..

and even I need to promise to post atleast something every week or so ..

BrownPhantom said...

@Sanjay,
Stupid-Dazed-Stupefied-Stuck-Stayed-Remained

I don't know. I am stuck here. Help me out :).

@Kanchan, I got it in one less step .

@Arnab, Glad that u liked it :).

BrownPhantom said...

@Indyeah
Yes Dear, I wud love to write more :). But TIME is the constraint. The rule is "at least once per ten days"; can go upto a very large number.

@Tandoori,
You might want to read the previous post to get the answer :).

@Niti,
Thanks, Lemme know if u it help fill any boring moments :).

@Preeti,
Honestly, I don't see that FB app coming soon :).
And yes, discipline works wonder. But you got to be careful while setting the goals .

Scattered Thoughts... said...

are you kidding.. as if blogging is not enough and then another way of wasting time.. ;) okay.. I did try it but get bored quickly.. no offense :))

Bubbles said...

Hey interesting... veryy interesting!! wud definetly let u know once i try it out :)

BrownPhantom said...

@Scattered,
I wud've patented it if not for ur comment :). It isn't a hit amongst my friends either. But a couple of them do like it. For them it's an alternative to Solitaire, not much higher thatn that :).It's not a competetive game that wud make one's adrenaline rush.
What I like abt it is that it shows how blurred can abstract thoughts be. When one transforms from "Divinity" to "Cruelty", and then one sees the chain, one smiles if he/she is in a philosophical mood :).

@Bubbles,
Yeah, try it if you will. Try and get to "Memory" from "Stupid". It's tough :).

Alter !dem said...

Mere bhai Dhanake....
Kyaa haal hai kaake...
Bhool gaya humein bengaaluru jaake...
Kitne dinn ho gaye aise vibhatsa game banaake...
Tujhe khojne hum kahan-kahan naa jhaanke... :D

Buddy, waasup! tera Sanki!!

BrownPhantom said...

Abe Sankee tuuuu..
Facebook ka Saurav Kumar tu hee tha , ye ab realize kiya :). Us time blindly add kar liya tha.

Undergroung to tu tha bhaai. KGP ke common social circles waalo ko bhi khabar nahi thi teri..

Facebook par msg karta hun :). Yahan par Vibhatsa game khelna mere nanhe-munne blog ke liye thik nahi hogaa...

nintendo ds r4 said...

interesting!! Very very interesting premise, this word game of yours and will be trying it out for sure.

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