Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Call My Bluff

I have been reading the dictionary.  And not just a footling one volume thing that anybody might read either, but the huge twenty volume OED that is crammed full of words (OK, I know that all dictionaries are full of words, but not like this one, believe me!) 

I'm not reading it cover to cover or anything, just dipping in to it to find some good words for 'Call My Bluff'.  It's brilliant.  There are words in there that you cannot conceive of ever needing to use.  'Leep' for example - 'to wash with cow dung and water'  -  why would you do that, and if you did, would you talk about it?   Or 'tableity' - 'the state of being a table' (Neither of those are words that I have selected for CMB this year incidentally, but it may pay you to remember them just in case...)

I would suspect the compilers of making up some of the words but why would they need to bother?  There are just so many words out there that just writing down the real ones, with all their variants, is a full time job.  Which is just as well if you are a lexicographer. 

I remember watching the old Call My Bluff with  my Granny, many years ago, when up popped the word 'Tharm'.  'Oh,' she said 'that's part of a pig's intestine that you'd use as a sausage skin'.  And then that's what Frank Muir said.  She was right, it's an old Lincolnshire dialect word, but that's the only time I've ever known anybody actually know a word, it's usually a case of guessing.

Mind you when we played CMB at the FFiesta previously even guessing wouldn't necessarily get you very far.  I handed out the cards for one of the words to the three volunteers and was very surprised when none of the definitions read out was the correct one.  Somebody, who will remain nameless for now, had not liked the definition I had passed to him, perhaps thinking it too pedestrian, or maybe not convincing enough,  and had not simply embroidered on it, but had changed it completely.  The look of guilt mixed with shock on his face when he moved his thumb and discovered that it had been covering the word 'True' written in the corner of the card, was a picture. 

Perhaps strangely, I was the only person to guess that the correct definition was something completely different to any of those that had been read out.  (Well, technically I didn't guess, since I knew the answer already, but I was the only person to get it right, and since I'm not allowed to play, I have to take my pleasures where I find them)

I hope that you are now all looking forward to the Ffiesta so much that you are fnding it hard not to tripudiate.



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