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Published August 19, 2009, 05:10 PM

COLUMNIST: Iowa get-together produces Balderdash

A get-together in Iowa for the semi-semi-bi-annual barn dance recently produced yet another Balderdash game. Here it comes.

By: Alan Linda, New York Mills Herald

A get-together in Iowa for the semi-semi-bi-annual barn dance recently produced yet another Balderdash game. Here it comes. See how smart you are by correctly guessing the answer. Grab whomever is sitting there and challenge them. Don’t bet much money, probably.

Balderdash, in case you’ve forgotten, involves several people sitting around a table, who take turns reading an abbreviation, a movie title, a word, or something similar, while the others submit their belief as to what it is in writing. The person whose turn it is to read also writes down the correct answer, which is read with all the other submissions.

Here we go. What does the word “bunjibunji” mean? Is it: An Australian tree with extremely poisonous bark? A game of skill using round balls, first played in Cuba? Cinnamon rolls from India? An African version of bunji jumping? The order given to an Indian elephant instructing it to go forward? An African hunting stand in a tree? A tropical cactus?

The next one is a movie called “The Amazing Mister X.” This movie is about: A superhero known for saving people about to cross a railroad track? A man who can predict the future, played by Noel Coward? A man who can only stay alive by convincing doctors to give him daily X-rays, which cause him to become an expert in human diseases? A 1950’s horror film about a disappearing man who drinks a formula and kills young girls? A bogus mystic gets together with a not-so-dead man to defraud the man’s widow, although he isn’t dead so she isn’t really a widow? A boring accountant discovers a math formula that gives him special powers? A silent movie about Mister X, who has the power to make himself invisible?

Next, a word definition. What does “octoroon” mean? Is it: A racial mix of black and white? A mammal with horns that protrude downwards? A person with one black and seven white grandparents? An 8-sided floating device mounted on rafts in Hong Kong? A flute with eight sound holes? An eight-chambered sea shell? An eight-sided coin?

Next, we have an abbreviation: T. O. F. C. It means: Transport Office for Camels? Tony Orlando Fan Club? Tucson Organization of Foreign Citizens? Technical Optometrists Focal Consensus? Traitors Of the Federal Confederacy? The Office of Finance and Commerce? To Open, First Check?

Another word. “Lamback” means: A type of spare rib? A prehistoric deposit of soil stratification? A sheepskin used by people of the Andes? A photographic process invented by a man named Lamback? The smallest fingerhole of a flute? A hard punch? The sound made by a drum constructed of a lambskin? The reverse side of a magazine cover?

What does the word “whing” mean? A game similar to the English game of cricket, played by two teams of six each? The third feather in an Eagle’s wing? A species of bat native to Australia? The sound made by the center wire of a piano note? The sound made by a submarine sonar? The stem of an avocado? A specialized cake flour made for fine French pastry? An adejective describing a baseball pitcher’s arm?

Here you go: Finish this sentence: In Omaha, Nebraska, you are forbidden to burp while…. While you are in church on Sunday? While giving a public speech at city hall? While addressing the sheriff or any deputy? While you are giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? While you are operating on a patient? While you are drinking from the public water fountains? While you are at a Protestant funeral?

This movie is called Mr. Peek-a-Boo. What is it about? An animation about a cat journeying across America? A 1950’s classic film starring Rock Hudson about a French gigolo. A comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. A Charlie Chaplin film about a peeping Tom in New Orleans. A baby who is actually inhabited by a 20-year-old man tries to communicate with his parents. Mr. P. realizes he can walk through walls and tries to help his girlfriend who is being blackmailed. Mr. Peek-a-Boo is a movie about a Chinese tailor who befriends the young child of a customer only to find that he is the child’s real father.

“Bunjibunji” is an Australian tree with poisonous bark. The Amazing Mr. X is a movie about a bogus mystic. An octoroon is someone with one black and seven white grandparents. T. O. F. C. is the Tony Orlando fan club. “Lamback” is a hard punch. “Whing” is an adjective describing a baseball pitcher’s arm. In Omaha, you may not burp at church services on Sunday. Mr. Peek-a-Boo is about a man who tries to help his blackmailed girlfriend.

Good luck.

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