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Initial Answer

No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: spoken
What you need: nothing


To answer questions with words that start with a player's initials.

How to play

The first player asks the other players a question. Each player must answer this question using words that start with the same letters as their name. Once all players have answered (including the questioner), the second player asks a question which must be answered in the same way. A player who cannot think of a suitable answer has to drop out of that round. Players can agree to use three initials if every player has a middle name. Players with difficult initials like X or Z are permitted to use another agreed upon letter as a substitute. Alternatively, players must answer using the initials of the player to their right.


Angelo Smith: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Benicio Williams: Blackmail Walruses
Claudia Cook: Clean Closets
Darlene Brown: Deliver Bayonets
Elsa Johnson: Eat Jam
Finn Miller: Fix Mistletoe
Grover Young: Grow Yeast
Angelo Smith: Aggravate Showmen
Benicio Williams: What is your favorite sports team?
Claudia Cook: Columbus Crystals
Darlene Brown: Detroit Bonnets
Elsa Johnson: Eugene Jokers
Finn Miller: Fresno Magpies
Grover Young: Glendale Yaks
Angelo Smith: Aurora Snakes
Benicio Williams: Boston Wrens

And so on.

Did you know?

Meet Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff of Philadelphia, PA. Long name, but at least he has the typical number of initials to shorten his name, right? Nope! Because that's actually his abbreviated name! His full name reads as:

letters ABCDEFGHI in red

Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus

letters JKLMNOPQR in red

That's right, Hubert has 27 names. But it could be worse. Because if he ever needs to initialize a document, all he needs to do is to write down every letter of the alphabet, in order, with an additional W tacked onto the end. Kinda weird, but that's what makes life so interesting!

letters STUVWXYZW in red

Here's something else most people don't know. According to Guinness World Records, the shortest abbreviation is L.A. These familiar letters abbreviate the Spanish name of Los Angeles when it was originally founded as a pueblo: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula. This translates as "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola." Abbreviating a 55-letter name to just 2 letters represents a reduction to just 3.64% of its original length. No doubt helpful for residents and visitors alike.

red letter L   red letter A

Guinness also lists the world's longest abbreviation: S.K.O.M.K.H.P.K.J.C.D.P.W.B. These are the 14 initials of the Syarikat Kerjasama Orang-orang Melayu Kerajaan Hilir Perak Kerana Jimat Cermat Dan Pinjam-meminjam Wang Berhad – which is the Malay name for the The Cooperative Company of the Lower State of Perak Governments Malay People for Money Savings and Loans Ltd. of West Malaysia.

map of New Zealand with Taumata marked

Some place names are so long that they virtually beg for a shorter alternative. Take Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu. This is a hill located in New Zealand, and most of the locals shorten this mouthful to simply Taumata. This 85-letter word translates from the Māori language to "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his flute to his loved one." Fun fact: tennis player Martina Navratilova learned to pronounce this record-breaking word when she was 10 years old, which she actually put to use when she visited New Zealand many years later.

map of Wales, UK with Llanfair-PG marked

The longest one-word place name in Europe belongs to a large village on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales, UK. It's more popularly known in its abbreviated form as Llanfair PG. But visitors can see many signs (very long ones!) that hold the full name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Translating from the Welsh language, this word means "St. Mary's Church in the Hollow of White Hazel near the Rapid Whirlpool of the Church of St. Tysilio of the Red Cave."

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