The newly updated Oxford Guide to Word Games, now complete with a short section on the jolly joys of text messaging, is full of such delights and splendid inconsequential fun as the fact that "synthetic cream" is an anagram of Manchester City or that "Marge lets Norah see Sharon's telegram" is a perfect palindrome. Do you know (or no) your homonyms from your heteronyms, perhaps invalid or enjoyed by invalids? Or try this tongue twister: "She was a thistle sifter and sifted thistles through a thistle sieve"
Acrostics, chronograms, spoonerisms, charades and pangrams all jostle for space in this witty and entertaining book which manages to include a history of the crossword puzzle and of Scrabble alongside how to play lexical ping-pong or how to crack a rebus such as EGNC for Aegean Sea. What is the longest word used by Shakespeare? Honorificabilitudinitatibus in Love's Labour's Lost. A Latin ablative plural, it means literally "with honourableness"; Augarde observes that "the word is also interesting for its long regular succession of alternate consonants and vowels.
Oxford Guide to Word Games manages to be pretty scholarly although it wears its learning lightly. It gathers together a lot of historical and etymological information which you'd be hard put to find anywhere else in a single volume. Anyone who has a love affair with words and their quirks needs this. So do students of English language and, of course, it's essential reading for quiz compilers everywhere. --Susan Elkin
`Review from previous edition 'an absorbing romp through the history of mankind's preoccupation with the 403 septillion ways that the letters of the alphabet can be combined'' Los Angeles Times
`The Oxford Guide to Word Games reignites the human instinct for enjoying words at play, for delighting in their ability to hop, skip and jump, to turn cartwheels and to perform the most outrageous contortions...a marvellous celebration of language at play' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
`'"What is black and white and read all over?" It is to be hoped that this one will be.'' Times Educational Supplement
`'admirable'' Anthony Burgess
`'...a marvellous celebration of language at play.,' Ireland on Sunday