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Things From Another World


A Hobble-de-hoy is which one of these:

1. 17th century cabinetmaker's tool used for drilling peg holes in hard woods.

2. A young shepherd.

3. An affectionate greeting between crippled sailors.

4. Nonsense, confusion. Also a stew of vegetables, meat, and broth; hotchpotch.

5. An awkward, callow youth.

6. A wooden toy of colonial times; currently still made in remote mountain communities.

7. A mariner's cry when a whale becomes entangled in a harpoon line.

8. Trade name for a breakfast cereal made from a species of seaweed.

Well, which one?

Hobble-de-hoy! is a published version of an old parlor game, Dictionary. It consists of a single hardbound book, a little over 9" high (23 cm). The book contains complete instructions, a word list of 1001 words, and, in the back of the book, definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary for the 1001 words (reprinted with permission).

The book can be opened from either end - flip it over, and it appears to be right-side up from either side. One side brings you to the word list, the other to the definition list. Each word and definition are numbered so you can match them up easily.

As in the traditional game, players take turn finding an obscure word and announcing it to the group. Everyone writes down a definition for the word, while the player in charge writes down the official definition. The player in charge of the word then shuffles the definitions, reads them through once, then reads them again. Players voting for the correct definition get 2 points, while players whose word was selected as correct by someone else get 1 point for each selection.

The word list is a very interesting selection of some of the more obscure words in the Oxford English Dictionary. In the parlor game, a player has to thumb through a dictionary looking for an obscure word. In this book, you won't recognize at least 98% of the words! The title of the game is one such word, meaning an awkward, callow youth. (Did you get that right?) Some of the lovelier sounding words chosen include quemeful, poculary, bewscher, dedolence, cawquaw, wicopy, timwhisky, etc. And did you know there's a word that has the definition, "Excessive use of the letter R"?

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