Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

Fear Of Clowns: Yes, It's Real

Aug 6, 2013

Warning: The following story may be upsetting to some people.

That's because it's about clowns.

Yes, clowns. Painted white faces, red lips, receding hairlines with tufts of wild hair, and — of course — the red foam nose. Fun for all ages, yet plenty of people are downright scared of them. There's even a word for it: coulrophobia, though that's not an official diagnosis.

First Names First

Aug 5, 2013

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "What's in a Name?" Every answer consists of the names of two famous people. The last name of the first person is an anagram of the first name of the last person. Given the non-anagram parts of the names, you identify the people. For example, given "Madeleine" and "Aaron," you would say "Kahn" and "Hank."

Last week's challenge: In three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initials N-P-R. The answer is a common phrase.

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.

We've invited Gaffigan to answer three questions about the health habits of Gwyneth Paltrow.

On-air challenge: This puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters S-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end in S-S, and the second word will start with T. For example, given, "A situation in which people speak on top of each other," you would say, "cross talk."

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person, past or present, with five letters in the first and last names. One letter in each name is changed to make a new word. You name the people.

Last week's challenge: In the phrase "clothes closet," all the letters of the second word can be found inside the first. Think of another two-word phrase that means a place to keep clothes in which all the letter of the second word are found inside the first. The first word has nine letters, the second has six.

The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth

Jul 19, 2013

For those who came of age in the 90s, or went to high school in the 80s, Freaks and Geeks is a cultural touchstone. Not only because it so perfectly captured the pains and joys of adolescence, but also because its young cast would go on to do amazing things. We quiz the show's creator, Paul Feig, about what everyone in the cast has been up to since their roles in Freaks and Geeks.

Plus, house musician Jonathan Coulton gives Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" (also the Freaks and Geeks theme song) his own nerd-rock treatment.

We've got two words for you: Goth Barbie.

Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.

On-air challenge: You're given the three-word names of famous people. For each one, you get a clue to a familiar three-word phrase or title that has the same initials as the person. Name the phrase or title. For example, singer Billy Ray Cyrus has the initials B-R-C. And B-R-C are also the initials of the phrase "Blue ribbon commission."

The Last of Us is a new survival horror video game and it features — no big surprise — zombie-like creatures. But these are not the same old zombies that have dominated movie and TV screens in the past few years.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, says he wanted a fresh new way to wipe out humanity — and he found it in a BBC documentary series called Planet Earth, which depicts the scary effects of the Cordyceps fungus.

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.

You probably know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. But that guy in all the pictures from the first moon landing? That's Buzz Aldrin. So here's a lesson for you all: It doesn't matter if you're the first guy out of the spaceship, just as long as you make the other guy hold the camera.

So sure, Aldrin has been to the moon, but what does he know about mooning? We've invited him to play a game called "Drop your pants and take a bow" — three questions about exposing one's buttocks.

There's An Apt For That

Jun 7, 2013

Have you ever met a baker whose last name was Baker, or a blacksmith whose last name is Smith? Then you might be familiar with the term "aptronym," a word that refers to a person's name that happens to suit her job or characteristics. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants about people both real and fictional whose last names are aptly suited to their professions.

Later, house musician Jonathan Coulton covers "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park," a seasonal favorite by Tom Lehrer.

Like all great traditional Boston foods — the Boston Cream Pie, Boston Baked Beans, the Chicago Pizza at the Pizzeria Uno near Fenway — the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich is about to go national. Someday, Bostonians will talk about how they heard it play when it was just a cool, local sandwich.

Ian: I never realized how pointless bagels were before.

Miles: I like a breakfast that forces me to take a nap right after waking up.

We've had a lot of impressive people as our guests on this show ... Nobel Prize winners, senators, governors, and two presidents of the United States. But now, for the first time ever, we are honored to welcome a Lord of Immortality, a Keeper of Perfect Health for the World.

On-air challenge: Today's theme is "C.S.I." — as in the name of the long-running TV show. You're given three words starting with the letters C, S and I. For each set, give a fourth word that can follow each of the original words to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One Tuesday, displaying a device that takes new steps in game consoles' journey to becoming all-purpose entertainment and communication devices. The new console replaces the Xbox 360, which has been on the market for nearly eight years.

Sandwich Monday: The Saltwich

May 20, 2013

For years, one of the pieces of advice we've been ignoring is that we should really cut back on our salt intake. Now, a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine says limiting salt below a certain amount may not really do us any good. Around here, we take this to mean: Eat as much salt as you can or you'll die.

When you think about heavy metal — the costumes, the makeup, the outfits, the huge stage shows filled with effects and pyrotechnics — pretty much all of that was invented, or at least perfected, by Alice Cooper. If it weren't for him, bands like Slayer and Megadeth would be playing love songs in identical suits and bowl haircuts.

Days after the gaming world began to buzz with reports that Nintendo's new life simulation game allows men to marry other men, it now seems that Nintendo is removing that possibility, which by all reports was unintended.

Questions arose after players of the popular new game Tomodachi Collection: New Life realized that men could marry men. They could also date, and raise children. Female characters in the game could not have the same interactions with one another.

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