Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Games Teach Us Pop Culture

We were playing Bananagrams again. I was finished with a perfectly square 10 x 10 structure requiring only the placement of a Z. After long staring I finally put it in. The partial image here shows where I put it. The top horizontal is PROKARYOTS, the left vertical is POTENTIALS, the middle word is TACHOMETER. The CHE is, of course, the first name of someone called Guevara.

I showed the puzzle to Brigitte, who is a quick study, mind, and instantly she said “RZA? What is that? OZ I recognize as the Wizard, but RZA?” — “That’s RCA as they might write it in Russia,” I said, both laughing and blushing a little.

It’s just a game…

But then, later, I went down to see if there is an abbreviation like that, something that isn’t all that obscure. Googled RZA. Well! You learn something every day. The very first item Google presented was a Wikipedia article (here) on Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, described as “an American Grammy-winning music producer, author, rapper, and occasional actor, director, and screenwriter.” It turns out that RZA is his stage name. Our Bananagrams rules are that the word must be in the dictionary or be notable in the culture so that one can readily write a clue for it, as in a crossword puzzle. The clue for RZA is therefore “Stage name of Rapper Robert Diggs.”

It’s just a deadly serious and tense game around here, each of us peering over ramparts of dictionaries…

1 comment:

  1. Ha, ha, ha... what a good laugh.

    The funny part for me is that upon looking over this Bananagram square my question was not about RZA at all but rather, POTEN (what?) and TACHOM (again, what, short for Tachometer... maybe?).

    Keep on Bananagraming!

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