Article Title

Oxonian Wordplay


David Shulman


The Oxford University Press, publisher of the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary and its current Supplement, issued in 1984 The Oxford Guide to Word Games by Tony Augarde, a member of their dictionary staff. This 250-page book is a fascinating guide to all sorts of wordplay and word games, their origins, rules and variations. Included are acrostics, crosswords, rebuses, anagrams, tongue-twisters, and popular games such as Scrabble. However, since the author is a lexicographer rather than a logologist, the reader will search in vain for original material; Augarde has merely repeated whatever he encountered in his bibliography. Alas, this is skimpy; the author lists about fifty books out of hundreds that have been published. Although he includes Dmitri Borgmann's Language on Vacation, he fails to note the equally-excellent sequel Beyond Language. Word Ways is included in the list of periodicals devoted to wordplay, but The Enigma is not. Where are Shipley's three entertaining books on wordplay, and Gyles Brandreth's The Joy of Lex and its sequel?