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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kolodny's Game

As a diversion over the Easter weekend, Lady Bracknell offers her most challenging game to date, and this despite worries that her own poor health may result in the occasional error on her part.

Kolodny's game is played as follows:

The Gamemaster or Gamemistress (in this case, Lady Bracknell) invents a rule which can be applied to closed questions requiring a "yes" or "no" response.

The other players attempt to guess what the rule is by asking questions requiring a "yes" or "no" response. Their ultimate object is to guess the rule exactly, and then to take over the leading role from Lady Bracknell.

Lady Bracknell will reply to the questions asked of her, but her response will be to their form rather than their content. That is to say, questions framed in a manner which follows the rule she has invented will receive a "yes" response, regardless of how ludicrous their content is.

For example, supposing Lady Bracknell's rule was that questions should contain exactly five words or fewer, the game might run as follows:

"Does Lady Bracknell wear a hat?"

"No."

"Is Lady Bracknell a peasant?"

"Yes."

Questions can be entirely random: there is no need for them to relate in any way to Lady Bracknell herself. Lady Bracknell has used examples relating to herself merely to demonstrate that unscrupulous players may choose to have some enjoyment at her expense.


Lady Bracknell has decided on a rule. Play may now begin.

54 Comments:

Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Is it chilly at the North Pole?

2:06 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Yes.

2:35 pm  
Anonymous Vic said...

Should one show good manners at all times?

3:33 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Yes.

4:54 pm  
Anonymous Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Am I wearing a hat?

5:11 pm  
Anonymous Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Do robots dream of electric sheep?

5:18 pm  
Blogger Queen_Mum said...

Does her ladyship drool during sleep?

5:46 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

The answer to Dame Glossop's first question is no. The answer to her second question is yes.

Queen Mum - no.

6:25 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Do you know the way to San José?

7:00 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

No.

7:46 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

Does my bum look big in this?

8:56 pm  
Anonymous Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Are fish able to ride bicycles?

9:08 pm  
Anonymous Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Does one know the way to San Jose?

9:21 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Seahorse - yes.

Dame Glossop - yes.

Dame Glossop - no.

10:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which Kolodny are we talking about?

11:15 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Is the Pope Catholic?

12:34 am  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Was there a second gunman?

12:34 am  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Did Lord Lucan do it?

12:35 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Sphinx Queen - yes, yes, no.

Anonymous - that is not a yes/no question.

7:42 am  
Blogger seahorse said...

Is the overspend on the london olympics an obscene waste of money?

11:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, it wasn't meant to be! I really do want to know which one.
As for playing the game, how about:
Does anyone eat chips?

12:38 pm  
Anonymous Bluestone said...

Is it chilly at the South Pole?

1:19 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Seahorse - yes.

Anonymous - no.

Bluestone - yes.

2:21 pm  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Do trees have leaves?

4:35 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

No.

5:03 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Is this the way to Amarillo?

6:23 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Are kittens cute?

6:24 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

No.

Yes.

6:39 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Lady Bracknell, Do you consider your disability to be a great tragedy and wake up every morning wishing you were able bodied?

(No idea what the rule is, but this could be fun!)

6:48 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Has everyone gone raving mad?

7:37 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Katie - yes.

Mr Dawson - yes.

8:02 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

?! Good grief. Anyway. Should hot cross buns be made available all year round?

8:31 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Yes.

8:45 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Lady Bracknell, am I wearing a blue hat?

Lady Bracknell, am I wearing a nice hat?

Are they wearing hats?

Are they wearing nice blue hats?

Are you wearing a hat?

Are you wearing a nice hat?

9:53 pm  
Blogger the queen said...

Is it chilly at the Pole?

11:02 pm  
Blogger the queen said...

Is it chilly?

11:02 pm  
Blogger the queen said...

Is it?

11:02 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Katie:

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes.

7:28 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

The Queen:

Yes

Yes

No.

7:29 am  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Gosh darn it, I thought I had the rule. But now I'm not so sure....

So:

Does Harry love Sally?

Does Dr Jekyll truly hate Mr Hyde?

10:25 am  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Is Peter driving a pink lorry with black dots?
Does the pink lorry have black dots?

10:40 am  
Blogger Katie said...

Well, then, I think I know what it is, except that fish shouldn't be able to ride bicycles...

Can fish ride bicycles?

Can fish swim?

Can blue fish swim?!

Can blue fish ride bicycles?

Can fish ride blue bicycles?

11:44 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Sphinxqueen:

No.

No.

12:17 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mone:

Yes.

Yes.

12:18 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Katie:

No.

No.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

12:20 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

I'm probably going to regret this, and cover myself with embarrassment, but...... ought the sentence to contain an adjective?

1:32 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Indeed it ought.

Congratulations to the Sphinxqueen, and also to Katie and the Queen who were, Lady Bracknell is quite sure, thinking along very similar lines, but who were pipped at the post.

Would the Sphinxqueen consider setting up a blog of her own on which to start the next round?

1:47 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Setting up a blog isn't on my to-do list, I'm afraid. May I have feeling smug as my prize?

3:53 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

That is indeed what I was thinking! And I just came back to say so! But Dame Glossop was told that fish are able to ride bicycles when in fact they are not.

But possibly I am taking this a little too seriously, no?

4:06 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Sphinxqueen: that is a great shame. Lady Bracknell's plans to spread the playing of parlour games throughout the blogosphere have been foiled again.

Katie: contrary to one's first instincts, "able" is an adjective. At least, it is according to dictionary.com. But Lady Bracknell was aware that that particular answer would probably generate confusion amongst the players.

4:46 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

In which case 'wearing' is also an adjective...

5:27 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell disagrees. In the questions asked by Katie, Lady Bracknell considers "wearing" to be the present participle of the verb "to wear":

She wears a hat. (Simple present tense)

She is wearing a hat. (Continuous present tense)

However, "wearing" is used adjectivally in the following:

This music is very wearing.

6:20 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

That's the trouble with parlour games, Lady Bracknell. They lead to such arguments.

I have a friend who still has not forgiven me for a bad bridge call more than twenty years ago. I kept telling him he didn't want me as partner because I can never remember what's out, but he wouldn't listen. Now every time I see him it seems to creep into the converdation still.

I didn't get within a mile of the solution myself.

7:22 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Ah, but now we're in danger of starting a conversation about circumlocution, and that, I fear, is too pedantic even for me.

What fun.

9:13 pm  

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