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Lewis Carroll
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(A Word-Game for Two Players or Two Sets of Players)

"Pars pro toto."

The essence of this game consists in one Player proposing a "nucleus" (i.e. a set of two or more letters, such as "gp", "emo", "imse"), and in the other trying to find a "lawful word" (i.e. a word known in ordinary society, and not a proper name), containing it. Thus, "magpie", "lemon", "himself", are lawful words containing the nuclei "gp", "emo", "imse".
    A nucleus must not contain a hyphen (e.g. for the nucleus "erga", "flower-garden" is not a lawful word).     Any word, that is always printed with a capital initial (e.g. "English"), counts as a proper name.


  1. Each thinks of a nucleus, and says "ready" when he has done so. When both have spoken, the nuclei are named. A Player may set a nucleus without knowing of any word containing it.
  2. When a Player has guessed a word containing the nucleus set to him (which need not be the word thought of by the Player who set it), or has made up his mind that there is no such word, he says "ready", or "no word", as the case may be: when he has decided to give up trying, he says "I resign". The other must then, within a stated time (e.g. 2 minutes), say "ready", or "no word", or "I resign", or "not ready". If he says nothing, he is assumed to be "not ready".
  3. When both have spoken, if the first speaker said "ready", he now names the word he has guessed: if he said "no word", he, who set the nucleus, names, if he can, a word containing it. The other Player then proceeds in the same way.
  4. The Players then score as follows--(N.B. When a Player is said to "lose" marks, it means that the other scores them,)
    Guessing a word rightly--scores 1
    Guessing a word wrongly--loses 1
    Guessing "no word", rightly--scores 2
    Guessing "no word", wrongly--loses 2
    Resigning--loses 1
    This ends the first move.
  5. For every other move, the Players proceed as for the first move, except that when a Player is "not ready", or has guessed a word wrongly, he has not a new nucleus set to him but goes on guessing the one in hand, having first, if necessary, set a new nucleus for the other Player.
  6. A "resigned" nucleus cannot be set again during the same game. If, however, one or more letters be added or subtracted, it counts as a new one.
  7. The move, in which either scores 10, is the final one; when it is completed, the game is over, and the highest score wins, or if the scores be equal, the game is drawn.

November, 1882.