You know the joke.
“Knock Knock.” “Who’s there?”
We played many games at the dining room table, after a big family meal. We were playing Dictionary long before Balderdash was available. We used Mum’s big Oxford crossword dictionary, passing it around the table so we could all have a turn. You picked a word and spelled it out loud. Everyone then wrote down a definition for it and handed there paper to the word owner. That person then had to solemnly read them all out, which was very difficult to do without dissolving with laughter. We then guess which was the correct definition that the word owner had slipped in the pile of papers. Then there was a complicated scoring system involving who guessed whose definition or big score if you actually guess it correctly.
After a while a pattern emerged. if a definition had a cooking ingredient in it, it was most likely Mum’s clue. “Axylotl* = Mexican dish made with hot peppers and coconut.” If it sounds geological, it was my sister’s hubby. “Spanghew** = purple quartz encased in felspar.” If the definition was half a novel long, it was one of my younger sister’s. “Boustrophedonic*** = sound which gets louder and louder then softer and softer as heard by a red bird with its head under its wing sitting in a dying lemon tree.” If it made no sense whatsoever (unlike all the previous examples(?)), it was one of the grandkids. “Tmesis**** = the hand movement made by someone dancing in circles with no arms and just hands coming out of their shoulders.” (We blamed a documentary on thalidamide for that one).
We would play for hours (or until we got hungry again). Understandably, we are now all pretty good at crosswords, Scrabble and Upwords, though we have been known to forget and use our own definitions on occasion.
A friend’s 6 year old daughter took to the cow riddle like a fish to water.
“Knock Knock!” “Who’s there?” “Interrupting Daddy” “Interrupting Da..” “BE QUIET AND GO TO BED!”
“Knock Knock!” “Who’s there?” “Interrupting baby” “Interrupting Ba…” “WAH! WAH! WAH!”
… you get the idea.
*Ambystoma mexicanum (mole salamander)
**To throw or jerk violently into the air.
***Of or relating to text written from left to right and right to left in alternate lines. Literally, “as the ox ploughs.”
**** cutting words, e.g. stuffing one word into another “abso-bloody-lutely”. In Australia, we also call this a Tumbarumba, thanks to John O’Grady.
Tumba Bloody Rumba
“Howya bloody been, ya drongo, haven’t seen ya fer a week,
And yer mate was lookin’ for ya when ya come in from the creek.
‘E was lookin’ up at Ryan’s, and around at bloody Joe’s,
And even at the Royal, where ’e bloody NEVER goes”.
And the other bloke says “Seen ‘im? Owed ‘im half a bloody quid.
Forgot to give it back to him, but now I bloody did —
Could’ve used the thing me bloody self. Been off the bloody booze,
Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin’ kanga-bloody-roos.”