Vivian Cook
Spelling Humour

Matching Letters

Each of two players writes down a six letter word, say,

               C O M M ON

The aim is to discover the other person's word. Each player produces another six letter word, say

               O R I G I N

They score one point for each letter that is in exactly the same place on the target word, in this case 1 for the last letter N. Repeat until the word is found. Proper names and plurals are not allowed for the target word but can be used in the test words. A four-letter version of the same game can be played by two people in a car.


Last and First

The aim is to supply a word of the appropriate category that begins with the last letter of the preceding word. So, if players choose countries as a category, the sequence might be:

Japan > Nigeria > Afghanistan > New Zealand > ...

Players lose a point when they cannot supply a word.


I love my love with an A

Each player describes their love with words starting with a given letter of the alphabet, following say the formula:

I love my love with an A because she is Athletic. I hate her with an A because she is Artful. Her name is Amanda and she comes from Aldeburgh.

Players go through the letters of the alphabet: X, Y and Z are optional. This game goes back at least to Samuel Pepys (1669).



The most common spelling game is probably I-spy - in the version 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with ..', not with colours etc.



Text Box:



1. One player thinks of a word and writes it as a series of dashes instead of letters, for example:    -  -  -  -

2. The other player(s) have to guess what the word is by suggesting letters -'Does it have any "c"s?'

3. If the guess is correct, the first player. substitutes the letter for the appropriate dashes.              
                 -    -   
c -

4. If the guess is wrong, the first player adds one element of the hangman drawing, starting with the pole.

Text Box:     5. The game finishes either when the word is complete or when the hangman drawing is finished.

For the squeamish, the drawing can be the Stop Sign, completed in eight steps.



1. Players choose

a) a set of five different categories, say places, first-names, vegetables, cars and sports.

b) a word of five or six letters long, say 'praise'

3. Each player has to provide a word for each category starting with each letter of the target word, i.e. with praise:

                        P        R          A             I          S            E

place           Poland   Rio      Aden     Ireland  Santiago   Essex

first-name   Paula     Rita     Arthur     Ian        Sam         Edith

vegetable    potato   radish    avocado    -         spinach     - 

car              Porsche  Renault  Alfa       -        Saab        E-type

sport           polo       riding   archery    -          swimming    -

4. Scoring is either 1 point for each word supplied or 1 point for each word no-one else supplies, each blank counting 1 point minus.  



Ghosts can be played by any number of people from two upwards. The object is never to finish a word.

1. The first player thinks of a word longer than two letters and writes the first letter:


2. The next player has to continue a possible word by supplying the next letter he or she thinks is in the word..

3. The round continues till a player completes a word longer than two letters.

4. At any time other players can challenge whether there is really a word with that spelling. If the player who gave the letter cannot supply one, they become a third of a ghost; if they supply a word, the challenger becomes a ghost.

5 After a player loses three times, they become a complete ghost and do not take part in the rest of the game.

6. The player wins who is not eliminated.

A variant on this called Superghosts allows players to add letters at the beginning and in the middle of words, for example:

            t > tr > ttr > uttr > utter

Another variant makes ghosts invisible so that living beings who talk to them become ghosts themselves. For a full account see the works of James Thurber.


The Parson's Cat

In each round, players describe the parson's cat with an adjective starting with a given letter, going through the alphabet in order.

     The parson's cat is an angry cat ...

     The parson's cat is a brainy cat ...

     The parson's cat is a cheeky cat ...

     The parson's cat is a deceitful cat ...

Words index Letter Games with Words  Sequence Games with Words