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Thursday, October 09, 2008

9:58 PM: Online Encore

Over on my favorite word blog, Neology, Jed Hartman's proposed an online version of the game Encore, with a twist.
[In the usual game,] one person suggests a word and other people try to come up with a song whose lyrics contain that word.

But just thinking of the song isn't enough; for it to count, someone has to be able to sing at least eight consecutive words of the song, including the specified word.

Depending on how you're playing, players can take turns trying to come up with more songs that contain the given word, until nobody can think of any more.
In the usual version, relatively common words tend to be chosen, as having everything sit around trying to think of the one song that has a really obscure term would be both frustrating and boring, while bouncing back and forth between teams trying to think of unused songs with the word "red" is a lot more engaging. But, he points out, in an online game, this can work differently.
But one of the things that appeals to me most about the game in the abstract (though this makes it a rather different game, and probably less fun to play in person) is coming up with words that don't appear in very many songs--possibly even a word that's a hapax legomenon within the space of all song lyrics. I mean, okay, there are really an awful lot of songs, so the chances of a given word appearing in only one are very low. But when I hear a particularly unusual word in a song, I often think "That would be a good Encore word."
So he came up with a list of 26 words, from A to Z, and invited people to play. A few days later, Vardibidian offered his own list. You're encouraged to go check them out and take on the words left unsolved there... meanwhile, I'm jumping in as well.



Rules: For each of the words listed below, come up with a song whose lyrics contain the word. (In each case, I do have one in mind.) For it to count, you have to be able to sing (or, rather, type) eight consecutive words of the song, including the specified word. Repetitive lyrics count; that is, for our purposes, "Love me, love me, say that you love me" is nine words.

No fair using Google, checking your CD collection, and so on. Let's keep it honest.

One additional rule in my case, which I do not recommend for anybody else wanting to try this, for it proved to be a pain in the neck: none of the songs I have in mind contain the word in question in its title. So, for example, the song I'm thinking of that contains the word "frequency" is not REM's "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"

Scoring is entirely meaningless, but nevertheless is as follows: you get one point for a successful answer that's not the song I had in mind. You get two points for a successful answer that is the song I had in mind. And, at my sole discretion, you get three points for a song that's not the one I had in mind, but which I totally should have thought of. (This would include any song I've sung at karaoke; it wouldn't include a song I heard on the radio a zillion times but never actually knew the words to.) In each case, I can think of only one song with the lyrics offhand, but I haven't given it that much thought and my knowledge is hardly encyclopedic. If people have already found two songs with a given word, best to give it a rest and move on to the other words.

None of my songs are wildly obscure.

The list:

anaconda
bitterness
caffeinated
Dubuque
eclair
frequency
gravedigger
haver
islets of Langerhans
Jeremiah
ka-dingity
luxury
Milwaukee
naught
overcoat
potential
question[1]
reminisce
shebang
tantric
unemployed
vitriolic
workfare
xenon[2]
yarmulke
zinfandel

(As guesses come in, bolded words will indicate that nobody's come up with a lyric for it, italicized words will indicate that somebody's come up with a lyric that wasn't the one I had in mind, and just plain words will indicate a direct hit.)

Footnote 1: There are probably way too many songs with question, but I gave up on finding anything particularly unique. I do have something in mind, though...

Footnote 2: Truth be told, while there's an obvious song containing xenon, I can't quote eight straight words from it including that word among them. But I would like to think somebody can; if so, that person gets five -- five! -- meaningless points and extra bragging rights.

Put your entries in the comments, and have fun! And should you make a list of your own -- which doesn't have to be alphabetical -- let us know that as well.

(All done! See the comments.)

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