Punsters Unite: How To Flex Punning Muscles

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Punsters Unite!
Image Credit: N Engineer

Do you like riddles, puns, and word games? Punsters Unite Nearly Yearly (PUNY)’s weekly pun competition might be just the mailing list for you.

I get an email every weekend with a collection of puns/riddles to solve. Whoever correctly answers the most first wins and gets to host the riddle the following week. That’s it. The styles of riddles are different each week, sometimes making cultural references and other times being much like the one I’ve included below. So, if riddles are your thing, feel free to join for a month or two and give it a try. Note, the one below is atypical. There are limerick-based riddles, wordplay, and other themed puzzles.

According to group founder Gary Hallock, PUNY has been around for about 20 years, starting off as a private email list before eventually moving to a Yahoo! group. The weekly Rogue Riddles began in 1998 and have run continuously since then.

“Although it bears the same name,” says Hallock, “the PUNY page on FB is largely unrelated to the YahooGroup. I am the one active person both have in common…On the FB PUNY we mostly play PunSlinger topic set-ups. Once per week we pun hot and heavy for several days. Occasionally minor threads develop inspired by a re-posted meme or topical comment, but there’s nothing at all unusual about that on FB. I know of half a dozen groups that are doing this, most of them with ‘Pun’ in their name. Sadly, most make no distinction between puns and other forms of wordplay or outright humor.

“This is and always was the main distinction between PUNY and all other groups,” continues Hallock. “We are specifically about puns, and for the most part, original puns. While it’s difficult to rightly claim that what we are presenting is entirely ‘original’ material. We proudly are generators and perpetrators of puns rather than being consumers, carriers or aggregators.”

The PUNY group was designed to help publicize the annual O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships in Austin, TX. This past May, the group celebrated their 41st annual iteration of the competitions, which is quite puntastic. It may not have been on your radar before, but it’s just another reason I want to visit Austin one day.

Here’s a sample riddle from a few months ago that was right up my alley:

1. AN ATTITUDE (13)

C
O
N

2. DINNER (5, 4)

1) RIB
2) RIB ⬅︎
3) RIB ⬅︎
4) RIB
5) RIB ⬅︎
6) RIB
7) RIB ⬅︎
8) RIB
9) RIB

3. LEGENDARY HERO (5, 4)

HOROBOD

4. ENGLISH RULE (1, 6, 1, 6, 5, 1)

EYEESEEEXCEPT

5. REPLY (8, 8)

➕ DEEF

6. HEARD AT BARS OR BUSINESS MEETINGS (3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 5, 2)

YOUR NOSE
YOUR $$$$$
YOUR CHIN

7. AN UNFORTUNATE EVENT (1, 16, 7, 7)

FRIENDS
STANDING
AMISS
FRIENDS

8. A TOY (4, 6)

GIFIREN

9. GOOD AND BAD (3 4, 7, 3, 3, 5, 4)

STEP PETS PETS

10. A RARE EVENT (3, 4, 2, 2, 4)

M1YL1I1F1E

11. CLASSIC NOVEL

MUST GET HERE
MUST GET HERE
MUST GET HERE

12. SOMETHING YOUR MOTHER TOLD YOU MANY TIMES

LOOK KOOL XTXHXEXRXOXAXDX

13. TOO MUCH TIME AT 24 HOUR FITNESS

GNIHCAYMHO

14. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN

L8AAAAPORVERYTANTD8

15. FIND THE COMMAND:

1. STOP & ➕
2. STAY & ➗
3. STAY & ➖
4. GO & ✖️

16. FILM

2➕2 = 4 PREFERS FRESHLY BREWED TEA
2➖2 = 0 PREFERS ICED TEA
2✖️2 = 4 PREFERS ICED TEA
2➗2 = 1 PREFERS ICED TEA

17. PLACE

DDDDDDDD
DDDDDDDD
DDWESTDD
DDDDDDDD
DDDDDDDD

I’ll post the results in the comments later so as not to ruin the fun. Here’s another sample of the more typical sort of riddles that appear:

  1. I’ve always said, “If a woman prefers writing you over face-to-face,then BLANK.”
  2. The ghost of a dead chicken,turkey,duck or goose are known as BLANK.
  3. Networking for electricians comes easily because they’re always making good BLANK.
  4. The pole vault jumper took it really hard when he got kicked off the team but he eventually got BLANK.
  5. When painters drink on the job, do they get BLANK?
  6. In a recent survey of most exciting jobs in the country, razor, scissor and thumbtack factories ranked among the highest. Employees claimed there’s rarely a BLANK BLANK.

The winner of one week’s Rogue Riddle hosts the following week, which is yet another great way to flex your creative muscles. If you’re interested in joining, subscribe by emailing puny-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.