The String Game

The simple way of playing this game is to find an article on Wikipedia and read until you discover something novel - meaning interesting to you - then jump to that page. Continue reading until you learn something new then jump, read and jump, read and jump. Don't worry how unrelated the consecutive items may seem, that's the whole point. See how far you can go.




AVATAR (Length: 11)

As the sequel(s) to
AVATAR
start filming this summer, we pause to consider another alternating-A word:
ATAMAN
a "Russian calvary leader" referred to in
DR. ZHIVAGO
which could pass for the title of a James Bond movie - "007" in Russian would then read
NOL NOL CEMB
which rearranges to spell quite singularly "boll conmen" the first association for which is inevitably something in the realm of
"EVIL WEEVILS"
a troublesome reality in gardening circles but also a Donkey Kong-style British video game from the mid-80s which, instead of a hammer, employed a
PITCHFORK 
that same agrarian implement depicted by Grant Wood in his iconic painting
AMERICAN GOTHIC
(whose two characters were based on Wood's sister and their dentist respectively) set in
IOWA
the only state that begins with two vowels...
IO
the largest of the (now 67) Jovian moons as well as Zeus's mortal love in Greek mythology and therefore a descendant of
PANDORA
responsible for her own "box" of evils and the namesake of the planet featured prominently in the original 2009 movie...
AVATAR

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JUNE 2015

CANADA (Length: 15)


The Women’s World Cup is coming to us this summer from
CANADA
whose prominent symbols include the maple leaf, totem pole, beaver and
COMMON LOON
a darkly plumaged aquatic bird with adroit diving skills depicted on the back of the
CANADIAN DOLLAR
known yocally as a “loonie,” a coin which is not round but rather ridged, a
HENDECAGON
(like the old Susan B. Anthony dollars in the U.S.), having
ELEVEN
sides, not to be confused with “Elven” as in the language(s) created by
J.R.R. TOLKEIN
for which he drew most of his linguistic inspiration from
FINNISH
a very agglutinative language which means long words are often composed from many smaller words, the best example in English being “God Be With You” from which we get
GOODBYE
perhaps the most common parting phrase in the world after zai jian, namaste, ciao, au revoir and
HASTA LUEGO
which rearranges to form the culinary imperative
EAT GOULASH!
a Hungarian dish whose signature ingredient is
PAPRIKA
an earthy-flavored spice which was once recommended to Sartre to help his eggs taste more
MEANINGLESS
and therefore achieve greater “meaninglessness” for which many delightful synonyms abound: rigamarole, hooey, flimflam, tomfoolery, poppycock but also inanity, vacuity and overall general
ENNUI
the French word for boredom that might just phonetically resemble a over-francophonic pronunciation of
INUIT
“the people” (esquimaux) of the Arctic regions of Greenland, Alaska and, of course,
CANADA

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AMERICAN PHAROAH (Length: 8)


The Triple Crown has been won 12 times, most recently by
AMERICAN PHAROAH
who runs with cotton in his ears, not to be confused with
COTTON EYED JOE
a song that predates the Civil War and may refer to the whitish eyes of a moonshiner or, better yet, someone with chronic sun exposure – a condition known as pterygium – and marked by
CORNEAL
overgrowth, “corneal” which looks like a cross between cornmeal and
CORNELL
the Ivy league school in Ithaca, NY whose alumni include author E.B. White, actor Christopher Reeve, Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and Henry Heimlich, developer of the
HEIMLICH MANEUVER
which was popularly reported to have been used earlier this year to save a choking Arizona man dining at a Phoenix restaurant by none other than
BILL MURRAY
who says he learned the procedure on the set of his 1993 heartwarmer
GROUNDHOG DAY
which, as you know, falls on February 2nd, and as you may not, is the same day back in 2012 that you-know-who was born, err foaled…
AMERICAN PHAROAH!

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Normandy (Length: 9)

JUNE 6

marks the anniversary of the

NORMANDY

invasions, codenamed Operation

NEPTUNE

the 8th planet from the sun whose astronomical symbol is a 

TRIDENT

a variety of chewing gum made by Cadbury that contains

XYLITOL

a natural sugar that can be extracted from berries, mushrooms and

CORN HUSKS

a picker of which is a Corn Husker, the mascot of the University of 

NEBRASKA

whose capital is Lincoln but largest city is

OMAHA

as in Omaha Beach, the most fought after of the 5 landing zones during the June 6, 1944 invasion of 

NORMANDY.

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MAY 2015

Pretzels (Length: 12)

PRETZELS
originated in Germany, some believe first appearing in
MONASTERIES
an inhabitant of which is often referred to as a
HERMIT
which happens to be a variety of crab as well as a type of
HUMMINGBIRD
those New World darlings who often weigh less than a penny and beat their wings at up to 70 beats per second or
250,000 MPH
a speed that would allow a swift two-hour roundtrip journey to the
MOON
that prince of tides for which we have the principle adjective  “lunar” from the Latin luna, like the
LUNA MOTH
Actias luna, one of the largest moths in N. America, having an incubation period of
13 DAYS
also a 1969 memoir by Robert Kennedy chronicling the
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
the Cold War standoff that included Russia and Cuba vs. the U.S., Italy, and, would you believe…
TURKEY
home to the Ottoman Turks who, as legend has it, were turned away from capturing
VIENNA
in 1510 when the alarm was sounded that they were tunneling under the city by
PRETZEL 
bakers up working their craft long before dawn!

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APRIL 2015

Adolf Hitler (Length: 11)



ADOLF HITLER
(b. April 20th, 1889) was rejected for enrollment as a young painter in the Academy of Fine Arts in
VIENNA
known both as the City of Music and the City of
DREAMS
(thanks to one researcher at the Vienna General Hospital, went by the name of Sigmund Freud)...and of dreams, "what dreams may come," said
SHAKESPEARE
"when we have shuffled off this mortal coil" (from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)...Shakespeare, who was also born this week back in
1564
or in Roman numerals
MDLXIV
MDL, the airport abbreviation for Mandalay (Burma), also the title of a poem by
RUDYARD KIPLING
and XIV, or 14, the fourteenth word of that poem being
"GIRL"
...actually, Kipling had two girls (and one son), Josephine and Elsie, an anagram of
ELISE
the namesake of Beethoven's famous solo piece "Fur Elise," which may have been transcribed incorrectly from "For
THERESE
Therese Malfatti being one of the composer's students to whom he proposed marriage in 1810 but was
REJECTED
much like Hitler was by the Vienna Art School on that pivotal day back in 1907. What if?...


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Paul Revere (Length: 11)

This April (the 18th) marks the 240th anniversary of the
MIDNIGHT RIDE
of Paul Revere, not to be confused with the
MIDNIGHT TRAIN
to Georgia, a Gladys Knight & the Pips song recorded in 1973 in 
DETROIT
whose city motto includes the Latin phrase resurget cineribus (It Shall Rise From the Ashes) like the
PHOENIX
a mythical firebird and also the largest city in Arizona, home to the
CACTUS LEAGUE
where 15 of the 30 MLB teams go for Spring Training (the other being Florida's
GRAPEFRUIT
League), the grapefruit being an 18th century hybrid between the Indonesian
POMELO
and the Jamaican
ORANGE
a word which nothing rhymes with except perhaps
DOOR HINGE
an item often made and repaired by
SILVERSMITHS
which happens to have been the occupation of, you guessed it, one
PAUL REVERE.

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TITANIC (Length: 12)  


The

TITANIC

sank this week back in

1912

the same year the

OREO

cookie was invented, a name which may partly derive from the French word “Or” meaning

GOLD

which on the periodic table is not Or but rather

Au

a fairly common university acronym but also

A'U

the Hawaiian word for

BLUE MARLIN

a fish famously depicted in Ernest Hemingway’s

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA

whose first line includes “he had gone

EIGHTY-FOUR

days now without taking a fish,” Eighty-Four also being a city in

PENNSYLVANIA

about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh and directly west of

HERSHEY, PA

home to Hershey Chocolate Co. whose founding family were famously booked for passage on the

HMS TITANIC

on that fateful voyage in 1912 but cancelled at the last minute!

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OLDER ENTRIES


FIESTA! (Length: 10)

(.pdf)

Fiesta/The Sun Also Rises/ Pamplona/ Miguel Indurain/Pope/Pappas/Houston/Rice/Ducks

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Asimov (Length: 9)

(.pdf)

Isaac Asimov/Dewey Decimal System/Technology/Wooden Spoon/Boris Yeltsin/Sardinia/Sardonic/Sarcastic/Isaac Asimov

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Happy (Dizzy) New Year! (Length:12)

(.pdf)

2013/MMXIII/17/Dizzy Dean/30 Game/Dallas Cowboys/ManU/St. Louis Browns/Orioles/Shade Coffee Trees/Mexico

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Okefenokee (Length: 9)


(.png)

Okefenokee/Peat/Pete/Petra/Indiana/Hoosiers/Who's Here/WHO/Switzerland

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Zyzzyva (Length: 9)

(.pdf)

Zyzzyva/1922/Brazil/Coffee/Blueberries/Bleuets/EU/Eucalyptus/Snouted Beetles

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Flag Day (Length: 12)

(.pdf)

Flag Day/A Gadfly/Botfly/Butterfly/Psyche/Soul/Seoul/Olympics/USSR & East Germany/1991/20

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Louis Armstrong ---> Mona Lisa (Length: 9)

(.pdf)

Louis Armstrong/Cornet/Baby Corn/Cob/Adobe/Pueblo/New Mexico/ANMO/Mona Lisa

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999 (Length: 11)

(.pdf)

Nine/Kasey Kahne/Raising Cain/East of Eden/James Dean/Donald Turnupseed/Turnip/Swedes/Sweden/Pippi Longstocking/999

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String 1 - Mercury (Length: 30)

(.pdf)

Mercury/Phoenix/Firebird/Pontiac/Michigan/Mitten/George Washington/Brazil & Hippopotamus/Shoe/Horseshoe/40/Alphabet/Egyptians/Pharaohs/Chaos/Butterfly/Swallowtail/Eternity/Figure Eight/Pretzel/Philadelphia/Phileo/Fish/Gisi/Giselle/Gazelle/Zell Miller/Duel/Burr/Brrrr!/Mercury

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Aug. 5 - Neil Armstrong (Length: 7)

(.pdf)

Neil Armstrong/Mc'd/Michael Collins/National Geographic/1888/13/Neil Armstrong

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Oobleck (Length: 12)

(.pdf)

Oobleck/Corn Starch/Maize/Golden & Mustard/Abbey Road/Crosswalk/Zebra/Fruit Stripe Gum/Yipes/I Spy "E"/The Big E/Dr. Seuss

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SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS (Length: 34)

(.pdf)

Sherman/Uncle/Produced/End/Rams/Cardinals/A/Los Angeles/Israel/First/Reverse/Alias/Garrett/Ivy/League/Increase/Salem/Trials/Ipswich/Coastal/EsseX/Political/Ironsides/Afloat/Liquid/Ice Cream/Downunder/Oz/Commune/Isere/Olympics/United/Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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Miles Davis (Length: 13)

(.pdf)

Miles/Smile/Dentist/Baltimore/Molar Bite/Orioles/Oreo Less/491/Highway 491/666/Evil/Live-Evil/Miles Davis

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Aardvark: A to Z (Length: 26)

(.pdf)

Aardvark/Burrowing/Chipmunk/Durango/Endemic/Flag/Green/Hungary/Inventions/July/Knight/Lead/Midnight/Number/Original/Plane/Quilt/Rock/Swayze/Tammen/Unsolved/Verde/Western/Xerus/Young/Z

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About

I created the String Game a while back while doing research on different theories of intelligence. The object is to daisy chain units of new information, i.e. facts, with already stored knowledge through the use of novel, creative connections. Through this type of encoding, a process called spreading activation takes place which allows you to commit the new information to memory more quickly. You can read more about this process here.