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Hooray for spelling! You don’t need to be Evan O’Dorney, or have a weird affinity for reduplications like tsk-tsk, tsetse, and hotshots to enjoy spelling games.
And now on to our own spelling game –
Each player in this game has what are called three “lives,” or chances. When the company is seated in a circle, the first player mentions a letter as the beginning of a word. The game is for each of the company, in turn, to add a letter to it, keeping the word unfinished as long as possible.
When a letter is added to the former letters and it makes a complete word, the person who completed it loses a “life.” The next player then begins again.
Every letter added must be part of a word, and not an odd letter thought of on the spur of the moment. When there is any doubt as to the letter used by the last player being correct, he may be challenged, and he will then have to give the word he was thinking of when adding the letter. If he cannot name the word, he loses a “life”; but if he can, it is the challenger who loses.
This is an example of how the game should be played. Supposing the first player commences with the letter “P”; the next, thinking of “play,” would add an “L”; the next an “O,” thinking of “plough”; the person, not having either of these words in his mind would add “v”; the next player perhaps, not knowing the word of which the previous player was thinking, might challenge him, and would lose a “life” on being told the word was “plover.” The player next in turn would then start a new word, and perhaps put down “b” thinking of “bat,” the next, thinking, say, that the word was “bone,” would add an “o,” the next player would add “n”; the player whose turn it would now he, not wanting to lose a “life” by finishing the word, would add another “n”; the next player for the same reason would add “e,” and then there would he nothing else for the next in turn to do but to complete the word by adding “t” and thus losing a “life.”
It will be seen that there are three ways of losing a “life.” First, the player may lay down a letter, and on being challenged be unable to give the ward. Secondly, he may himself challenge another player who is not at fault. Thirdly, he may be obliged to add the final letter to a word, and so complete it.
Games for All Occasions by Mary E. Blain