Category: Uncategorized

  • What’s a secret word game and how does it work?

    Think of a secret word hunt as a linguistic game of battleship. You guess words and get feedback about how close they are to the day’s secret word. The day’s secret word is #1, with word #2 being the closest to it. Rankings descend to >100,000 as words are increasingly distant from the day’s word. […]

  • Explore language with a secret word game for students: variation #1

    There are lots of ways to use our secret word game to engage students in thinking about language’s richness and complexity. (Go here for a quick overview of how SecretWord works!) The lesson below takes roughly 20 minutes (ten minutes of play, with ten minutes of discussion) and will generate lots of conversation and thinking […]

  • Granddaddy of them all: Groucho Marx’s secret word game

    Groucho Marx (or Grouchy as one participant called him) gave $100 cash to contestants who lucked into mentioning the secret word of the day on his hit game show You Bet Your Life. Here’s “Crazy Legs” Rowena stumbling into the secret word of the day for October 18, 1958. (While you’re here, don’t miss Pee-wee […]

  • Get ready to scream for Pee-wee’s secret word of the day

    As you pause while hunting today’s secret word, pause to recall the glory that was Pee-wee Herman’s playhouse. And now, back to your hunt. Get ready to scream! (Check out an example of Kristen Wigg’s compulsion to reveal the secret word on SNL.)

  • How we think about thinking is limited by the language “we” speak

    Because English is the lingua franca of research and publishing about brains and cognition, English’s orthography, grammar, phonics, and word meanings profoundly bias our understanding of brains and cognition. (As documented in an article written in English. 🙂 ) It’s worth noting that Wittgenstein was vigorously rattling language’s cage a century ago. For a subjective […]

  • Intrigue your customers with a custom secret word game!

    Now SecretWord makes it possible for your organization to launch its own secret word game with a custom list of daily secret words. A custom-branded secret word game, with target words tailored around a particular theme, can engage a company’s customers, inspire an ad agency staffers’ brainstorming, or entertain a Substack’s readers! Write to […]

  • Fix excavates economic textbooks’ under-represented words

    Political economist Blair Fix sicks a word-counting bot on a corpus of 43 undergraduate economics textbooks and compares the results to the Google books corpus. He’s reports which words are over and underrepresented in the textbooks in his essay Deconstructing Econospeak. Fix observes: What’s most interesting about econospeak is not what it includes, but what […]

  • “I see letters and turn them into emotions…”

    You gotta love Kristen Wiig’s epically narcissistic character in SNL’s recurring “Secret Word” game show. Unlike Wiig, our “guess the secret word” game never betrays its secret… unless, of course, you decide to click the “hint” or “I surrender” buttons!

  • Some classic commentary on that other secret word game

    OMG, this is hilarious, two baseball commentators talking about Wordle. It is oh so hard to put into words a game about words.

  • How to outwit (or at least survive) our secret word game

    Hunting for the day’s secret word is a lot like Battleship, only you’re up against AI and playing on a three-hundred-dimensional board that’s as complex as all human thought. Some days, it’s easy to feel lost in a secret word game. So here are some strategies that seem to help in various situations. Try some […]