Word games is probably the most lovable event of the ELS. It is an event of a kind where you solve a paper for a duration of two hours and not once do you feel like you’re writing an exam. It is an event for the lot of us who used to despise writing grammar exams in school but could never get over our fascination with words.
The event involves answering puzzles and questions for a time duration that varies from 15 minutes to about two hours. The beauty of this event is that you never want those two hours to pass. There is always a word at the tip of your tongue and you keep struggling to rekindle that one hazy part of your memory, fishing agitatedly for that one elusive token in the mental lexicon that will put the pieces together.
While the nature and difficulty varies, depending upon the event, there are certain questions that you will almost always find in any word games sheet. One of them is my personal favorite- the word pyramid. Do not underestimate the pyramid. They employ a number of puzzle techniques in just one question- from anagrams to cryptic clues to leaving the solver at cursing his/her own poor soul for being unable to recall the right word.
One cannot help but picture two early men communicating with each other using rebuses. It should not be hard to imagine how painfully delightful their jokes must have been.
One very important part of the Word Games is the cryptic crossword. Yes, the same crossword for which the not-so-inclined towards finances amongst us would care to open The Economic Times. It becomes imperative to mention Christine Lovatt’s crossword puzzles, a favourite among crossword enthusiasts.
We do not hesitate to include other languages for all the aspiring polyglots out there wanting to test their language skills with questions on etymology and origins of phrases and proverbs.
The number and type of questions in every Word Games is different and with each new puzzle sheet, we go further into the depths of English grammar and morphology. Anagrams, homophones, homograms, palindromes, word plays, puns, rhymes, similes, idioms, proverbs- the list is endless. We do not confine ourselves to the realm of pen and paper. There are interactive rounds akin to quiz contests which are usually preceded by a qualifier in the form of word problems. These rounds require quick thinking, good hand- eye coordination to raise one’s hands at the right time, extremely well developed finger muscles to pen down the answers and cheetah like agility to make one’s way through the swarm of other contestants to get to submit one’s answers first.
All these prerequisites aside, solving a word games puzzle does not require one to be a linguistic prodigy of any sort. All one has to have is a profound love of the letters of the English alphabet.