A game that's all about names

How are you at name dropping? Not just talking about the well-known people, but at playing a kind of game.

Here's how it goes: Name someone with the initials "B.F." Benjamin Franklin, you say? A point for you. Or what if the initials are "J.R."? J.K. Rowling. But that's probably not the only answer. Can you think of another?

See how fast and far-reaching you and your friends are at tapping the world of names.

What you need: at least one friend and some time. Also: paper, pencils, a timer, and a newspaper, magazine, or book.

How to play:

1. Set the length of a round. Three minutes works. Or five. (See what you like best.)

2. Each person jots down the alphabet, A to Z, in a column.

3. One player - or a rotating nonplayer - reads aloud at random from the paper, magazine, or book, letter by letter, starting anywhere in a sentence. He ends with the 26th letter in the passage.

4. Players jot down each letter exactly as read out loud, the first letter matched to A and so on down to Z.

5. Someone starts the timer, and the fun begins.

6. Scribble in a name for the first pair of letters. (Don't show your work.) If A is paired with a T, say, you might pencil in Alex Trebek of "Jeopardy!" fame. Do all the pairs you can (don't fret too much over the XYZs).

7. Stop when the timer goes off.

8. Read out and check the names given - do players agree that each is "famous"?

9. Add up the score: 3 points for a famous name if everyone else drew a blank; 2 points if others didn't get it but found a different one for the pairing; 1 point if anyone else got it, too.

10. Add up the points to see who wins.

No naming your mom, by the way, or your teacher. Or, of course, yourself - except I'd get away with using "Wendy's dad."

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