Name things that...
- are red, blue, yellow, green, etc...
- fall, rise, inflate, shrink, grow, expand,
- are letters, are numbers
- are keys, sets, points, quarters, heads
- are containers and what they contain
- transport and what they transport
- eat and what they eat
- are superior and what they're superior to
- are made of parts and what the parts are
- create and what they create
- are hidden and what hides them
- are added to something and what the result is
- help something, and how they help
- are anachronisms: "If _blank_ had _blank_,
_(what would happen)_."
i.e. "If cavemen had electric guitars,
- contain wood, water, air, fire
- are juggled
- search and what they search for
- are stones
i.e. "Rolling stones", "Kidney
- are openings and who opens them
- are stored, and where they are stored
- destroy something, and what they destroy
- have hands
i.e. "A clock", "Bridge",
"A coat of arms"
- hold things together, and what they hold
(Submitted by Elizabeth
- are secret
i.e. "Top secret", "'Secret' brand
deodorant", "What they put in hot
- are wrapped, and what wraps them
i.e. "Egg rolls are wrapped in dough",
"Cars wrap around telephone poles",
"Verses are rapped by rappers", "I
rapped on the door"
- are short, tall
i.e. "Strawberry shortcake",
"Shorts", "Time is short"
i.e. "My thoughts", "A
river", "Lava", "A
- run, and what makes them run
i.e. "A cold makes my nose run",
"Double clicking makes a computer program
- get mad, and what makes them mad
i.e. "A full moon makes a lunatic mad",
"Gum makes my teacher mad", "Drunk
driving makes MADD mad"
i.e. "The sun repeatedly rises",
"A metronome", "I repeat, a
- are mean
i.e. "A car thief's mean", "An
average can be the mean"
- are links, and what they link
i.e. "A chain of hot dogs links them
together", "History is a link to the
is a link to Matt's homepage"
- are homes
i.e. "A mansion", "Sherlock",
- repel, and what they repel
i.e. "Insect repellent repels
mosquitoes", "Multiple-choice tests
- attract, and what they attract
- money can't buy
- absorb, and what they absorb
i.e. "Computer chips absorb data",
"Bounty absorbs spills"
- are ridden, and what rides them
i.e. "Commuters ride the train",
"Fleas ride dogs", "The sick are
- are trees
i.e. "Oak tree", "One, two,
tree", "Entry", "Binary
- are plants
- are bunches
- are quick
i.e. "Quicksand", "Nestle
Quik", "A race car"
- are wells
i.e. "Wishing well", "Wells
Fargo", "Beef Wellington"
- are pairs
- are different ways people and animals use
i.e. "Birds sing to warn other birds of
- are horses
- are ships
- are birds
i.e. "Bluebird", "Bird
brain", "Caring for birds is such a birden"
- are watched, and who or what watches them
- are depressed
(This upbeat problem submitted by Scott
- are unhealthy
- can't be measured
- join people together
- are impossible, and why
- have legs
i.e. "Animals", "tables",
"Women who buy the pantyhose in the
egg-shaped container", "Pirates have
- are uncountable
- can be traded, and what they can be traded for
- people learn without being taught
- are hard about being an adult
(Submitted by Gman)
- (Submitted by Icebox)
- are types of lines
- are unnatural
- lead, and what they lead
- can't be explained
- are different ways people and animals use sound
- are different ways people use words
- are different ways to use a math book, aside from
- are ways to get rid of 30 inches of snow
- have no name
- are units of measure and what they measure
i.e. "An inch measures a paperclip",
"A hair measures how much I won the race
(Submitted by Kelsey
- are things that take time
- are things that take up space
- are new words you'd propose for the English
language, and what they mean
- are round
- are signs, and what they are signs of
- are found under water
- support other things, and what they support
- change color
- kinds of tools
- are light
- are lighter than air
- are kinds of boards
- are types of transportation
- are water
- are complements
- attack other things
- occur in a series
- can be opened
- can be saved
- are cleaned
- happen every day
- are rhymes that have to do with the sea
i.e. "I don't like a shark in the dark"
(Submitted by Dan O'Reilly)
- have a bee in them (by Jeff
- are fuzzy (by Jeff
- are related to time (by Jeff
- you might find on the moon and how they got there
- are cars (by Jeff
- bounce (by Jeff
- are X's (by Jeff
- are surrounded by other things
- are hard to move
- are found in the winter, spring, summer, fall
- can crash
- you won't see on television
- can alleviate boredom
- would be useful in the woods, and how
- aren't widely believed
- aren't made anymore
- are colorless
- are ancient
- are tails
- have two sides
- regulate other things
- can't be divided
- an ancient Greek would say if he were alive today
- are kinds of tests
- can be seen, but not heard
- could have happened in the past, but can't happen
- take time
- come from the ground
- come in different colors
- reflect other things
- come from the sea
- come in pairs
- can be recycled and what they can be
- jump and what they jump
- climb and what they climb
- monitor and what they monitor
- protect something, and what they
- people lose, and the people that lose them
- people did as kids, but stopped doing as adults
- people give to someone, who gives it, and who
they give it to
i.e. "A boxer gives his opponent a black eye"
- drive your coach mad
- are different kinds of dogs
More Verbal Problems
Name competitions you would or would not like to
place first, second, or last in.
Explain to your teacher why you didn't hand in
Opposite Challenge by Lee
One minute to think, three to answer. Use numbered
index cards to determine the order of responses. The
team member whose number corresponds to the first
index card names something or someone, and flips the
top card. The team member whose number appears must
name its opposite. He then flips a card, and the team
member indicated names something or someone, the next
team member names its opposite, and so on. Each pair
of answers gets scored 1 point if it is common
(black-white, male-female) or 5 points if it is
creative or humorous (military-intelligence,
OM-boredom). The challenge of this problem is for the
team member who has to name the initial person or
thing to choose something that the next respondent
can turn into a creative answer.
Spontaneous is like a box of chocolates...
Describe things which are like a box of
chocolates, and why.
The Perfidy of Spontaneous by Lee Semel
Perfidy of Images, Rene Magritte, 1928
The caption reads "This is not a pipe".
What is it, then?
Rock & Roll
Use the words "rock" and
"roll" together in a sentence. For example,
"This hamburger is so burnt, it's like a rock
Each team member must name something heavier than
the object named by the previous team member. Start
by having the first team member name something
heavier than a brick. (1 pt common, 3 pts creative).
Also try the problem using duration, rather than
weight: name things that take longer or last longer
than the previous thing named.
Letter Chain submitted by Elizabeth Batson
Make a chain of words, all beginning with the same
letter, where each pair of words has some
relationship. The judge gives the team a starting
letter. The first person gives a word starting with
that letter. The second repeats the first word and
then gives another word, beginning with the same
letter and tells the connection between them. For
example if the letter is "L", the first
person says, "ladder". The second person
says, "ladder, long, a ladder is long." The
third person might say, "long, leaf, the willow
has long leaves."
The team should probably have a stack of index
cards with letters on them, and after each team
member responds, the top card should be turned over
to reveal a new starting letter.
Make rhymes involving animal names. An erudite
example would be "Drosophila melanogaster: the
fly that breeds faster!"
Fire by Jeff
In ancient times, mankind lived in caves, ate
their meat raw, and generally lived primitive lives.
After the discovery of fire, things changed
dramatically. Name a significant discovery and
something that changed as a result of it.
Crossing the Road by Allen Ball
You have 1 minute to think, 3 minutes to respond.
Each team member will pretend that he or she is an
animal crossing the road. After everyone has gone,
each member will start over, as the same animal as
before... but this time there is a very large
Winnebago barreling down the road towards them. Score
1-10 for the creativity and humor of each portrayal,
maximum 100 points.
The More Things Change by Lee Semel
It's been observed that "the more things
change, the more they stay the same". Try to
support this idea. Describe things that change, but
remain essentially the same as they were.
Decisions, Decisions by Lee Semel
People have always been looking for ways to help
them make decisions... from looking at the stars to
using scientific data. Name decisions people make and
ways they decide. Extra points for creative,
perceptive, or otherwise unusual answers.
The Good and the Bad by Lee Semel
Describe things that are good or beneficial in one
situation or context, but bad or harmful in another.
For instance "A mouse is bad in your house but
good attached to your computer" or
"Bacteria's good in cheese but bad in your
body" or "Sugar's good for children but bad
for someone with diabetes". Common answers, 1
point, puns 2 points, creative or insightful answers,
Speechless by Lee
Describe ways to communicate without speech or
written words. (You, of course, may speak your
Children and Adults by Lee Semel
Children and adults think differently about most
things. Describe something that children and adults
think differently about, or have different opinions
about. Commons answers, 1 point, creative or
insightful answers, 3 points.
Peas by Lee Semel
You have a truck loaded with 5000 pounds of peas.
What could you do with this?
Story Lines by Lee
- Problem: Your problem is to create two
stories. Each team member must go in turn. You
must follow the list below in making your
stories. Start at the top of the list. If a line
is printed on the list, the team member whose
turn it is must use that line. Otherwise, the
team member may say anything he or she chooses to
add to the story.
- Timing: You will have three minutes to
think and five to respond.
- Scoring: Coherence and quality of the two
stories, 1 to 10 each
Creativity of the two stories, 1 to 15 each
How well the required lines are incorporated, 1
to 15 each story
Creativity of each addition to the story, 1 or 3
- Here is the list. The first team member starts at
one, and must say the line printed there. The
next team members can say anything at all. The
fourth team member must use the preprinted line,
and so on.
- Any team member: "There was
something strange about the box we
received from OM headquarters."
3. "But that would be
1. "We decided to ask someone who
might have an answer."
5. "What had happened? We may never
At this point team member 4 starts the second
story, using the list below.
- 4: "There was something strange
about the box we received from OM
2. "But that would be
4. "What had happened? We may never
With these particular lists, every team member
gets exactly three responses.