Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Game of the Month: The Emerson Method

Monday, April 8th, 2013

For the past several weeks the University of Cincinnati has had the pleasure of hosting Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of, most recently, Secure the Shadow (LSU, Southern Messenger Poets, 2012), as Elliston Poet-in-Residence. This past Friday Claudia gave a talk on the importance of measured syntax, during which she described her unusual writing process: She spools out sentences in paragraph form and then prunes them into what become the lines of her poems.

This so piqued our interest, we decided to honor Claudia’s process—which we’ve termed The Emerson Method—in our game of the month. The game’s also an homage to spring. And to the daffodil, the first flower to rear its head in Cincinnati every year.

So: We’ve provided some facts about the daffodil below. Channel your inner Dickinson or Wordsworth  by making the following technical information—well, pretty. Prune sentences (pun intended), change words, add words, rearrange phrases—really, do whatever you want; we’re flexible—to make a stanza, haiku, or piece of microfiction. Form and word count is up to you. The writer of the best entry will win his or her choice of free back issue, slingpack, or CR thermos. And, as a special bonus, we’ll also publish the winning entry on Twitter.

Click on the post’s title to leave your entry as a comment. Good luck!

Daffodils: Species information (from kew.org).

Scientific name: Narcissus pseudonarcissus L.

Common name(s): daffodil, common daffodil, wild daffodil, Easter lily, Lent lily, downdilly.

Conservation status: Locally abundant and not considered to be threatened.

Habitat: Woodlands, coppices, open meadows and grassy slopes.

Known hazards: The leaves, stems, seed pods and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids. If eaten they can cause dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and occasionally also convulsions. The toxins are usually most concentrated in the bulbs. Rather surprisingly, daffodil bulbs have been eaten on occasion after being mistaken for onions. The sap can cause dermatitis, and the leaves are poisonous to livestock.

About this species: This well-known European flower brings bright swathes of color to woods and grassland in early spring. Although the daffodil is sometimes known as the Easter lily, it is actually a member of the Amaryllidaceae (the plant family that also includes snowdrops) and hence is not a true lily.

The Latin name for daffodil is thought to have been inspired by Narcissus, who was a figure in Greek mythology said to have fallen in love with his reflection in a pool of water. The nodding head of the daffodil is said to represent Narcissus bending down and gazing at his reflection. Daffodils suffered a rapid decline in England and Wales in the mid 19th century, and are now considered rare in some areas, although they are often still abundant in areas where they remain.

Game of the Month: February Is Like…

Monday, February 11th, 2013

So: February. Did you know that this month’s observances include American Crossword Puzzle Week and National Fettuccine Alfredo Day? Until a few minutes ago, neither did we, because the miseries of February have blinded us to its less horrendous aspects. But we’re trying to make it more bearable by having a bit of fun with February in our new game of the month (our last one, unfortunately, was lame, or dull, or something that resulted in no one even trying). To make up for it, we’re going to award five prizes this time out. We want you to win. Really.

How to play? Tell us what February’s like. Come at us with your best metaphors and other literary lampoonings. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Short and brutal—a Napoleon of a month. —Alli Hammond

February makes a bridge, and March breaks it. —George Herbert

Kath says February is always like eating a raw egg;
Peter says it’s like wearing a bandage on your head;
Mary says it’s like a pack of wild dogs who have gotten into medical waste
and smiles because she clearly is the winner.

—Tony Hoagland

Submit your entry by commenting on this post (click the title) by Friday, February 15. Writers of the five best similes win their choice of thermos, slingpack, or CR back issue (2.2 excluded). Good luck!

Game of the Month: Guess the Drawer

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We’ve stocked up on the essentials as we finish our copy editing and prepare to send the next issue (due out in May!) to our amazing typesetter and designer. Over time, we’ve collected an odd mix of things on our desks: highlighters, flavored waters, and a sharp knife on one; a king-cake baby, Starbucks mug, and the AWP Writer’s Chronicle on another; and a ham sandwich, Irish breakfast tea packets, and a piece of paper describing proofreading marks on a third.

For our Game of the Month, you get to guess which staff member has filled this desk drawer with these particular items! Your options are:

A) Becky Adnot-Haynes, associate editor

B) Lisa Ampleman, associate editor

C) Don Bogen, poetry editor

D) Michael Griffith, fiction editor

E) Nicola Mason, managing editor

F) Matt O’Keefe, senior associate editor

G) Brian Trapp, assistant editor

If you get that answer right, you’ll receive a free slingpack, thermos, back issue (excluding 2.2), or we can add an issue to your current subscription—your choice.

And BONUS!! If, in addition to explaining whose drawer it is, you can say WHY it is filled Lay’s potato chips, you’ll receive a FREE one-year subscription.

Leave your comments by clicking on the title above. (Volunteers and former staff are ineligible for this game. You people know too much.)

Game of the Month: Copyediting Extravaganza!

Friday, January 11th, 2013

It’s that time of the year: We’re copyediting like mad. Colored pencils are flying across pages. Brian’s downing thermosfuls of coffee. Becky’s chain-eating Laffy Taffy because the sugar and constant jaw movement “help her concentrate.” Nicola’s using her eraser so furiously that a small cloud of rubber-scented dust hangs above her desk. Lisa complains that her body is becoming withered and atrophied from lack of sunlight and exercise, but we’ve noticed that her forearm muscles are getting totally ripped from lifting The Chicago Manual of Style so many times.

In the midst of our copyediting blitz, we’re pausing to let you, readers, sample the process. Submit your answers to the Chicago-inspired quiz below by clicking on the post’s title. First five readers to get all of the answers right win their choice of free back issue or CR-branded thermos or slingpack.

In accordance with the 16th edition of the CMOS, answer the following questions.

1. Titles. Choose the correct version of the following sentence.

A. DILBERT is my favorite cartoon.
B. Dilbert is my favorite cartoon.
C. “Dilbert” is my favorite cartoon.
D. Dilbert is my favorite cartoon.

2. Time. True or false: In the following sentence, the a before quarter is optional.

He left the office at a quarter of four.

3. Numbers. How are percentages typically expressed in text (nontechnical)?

A. With both the number and the word percent spelled out: “Fewer than three percent of the employees used public transportation.”
B. With numerals and symbols: “Fewer than 3% of the employees used public transportation.”
C. With numerals and the word percent (spelled out): “Fewer than 3 percent of the employees used public transportation.”

4. Hyphens. Identify the incorrectly hyphenated words or phrases in the sentences below.

He suffered acutely from a tooth-ache.
Her career was a flash in the pan.
He had recently been diagnosed with type A diabetes.
She treasured her mother’s old cook-books.
It was a commonly-held belief.

5. Punctuation and Spacing. True or false: In typeset matter, two spaces should be used between sentences.

Monthly Contest: Issue 9.1 Mash-Up

Monday, September 24th, 2012

For this month’s contest, associate editor Becky Adnot-Haynes took a cue from Glee (back when it used to be good) and created a mash-up of words and phrases from choice poems and stories in CR’s latest issue. And now we want you, readers, to get in on the fun: Take out your super-secret spy glasses, pull out issue 9.1, and unlock our code! Be one of the first five people to send us the correct sentence (we will wait till we have five before we release the comments) and win your choice of free back issue, CR thermos, or CR slingpack.

(Note: Instructions do not take into account titles or author names; for example, “line ten” refers to the tenth line of the body of the poem).

The fourth word of the thirtieth line on page 92.

The last word of the tenth line on page 18.

The fourth word of the fourth line on page 150.

The fourteenth and fifteenth words of page 71.

The fourth word of the second line on page 80.

The third through seventh words of line 6 on page 74.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BY CLICKING THE TITLE OF THE POST ABOVE.

Game of the Month: Everyone’s a Winner!

Monday, April 16th, 2012

While we were busy collating proofs for our upcoming issue, many of you were busy composing fabulous entries for our Premise Wars.

The winner? All of you. We liked your ideas so much, in fact, that we’re sorry we didn’t think of it first: a Pulitzer Prize–winning marathon runner who comes back as a mummy and becomes confused about the ethics of eating sentient vegetables.

Email us at editors@cincinnatireview.com to claim your choice of free back issue, CR slingpack, or CR thermos. And thanks for participating!

The _________ Is……..

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Our Game of the Month was a popular one. A lot of you enjoy the grammar-based creativity of Mad Libs, and we were _____________ on the floor of the office as we read the entries. Snopes.com, Pomeranians, yodeling? All awesome. (Even better when we think about the Snopes.com debunking of the yodeling Pomeranian chain email.)

We’re feeling generous at this time of the year (after all, yesterday was both St. Nick’s Day and Microwave Oven Day), so we’re giving you the gift of the Cincinnati Review. If you’re one of the adept wordsmiths who tickled our ______, you’ve won! Please email editors [at] cincinnatireview [dot] com to claim your prize (thermos, slingpack, or issue of choice).

Game of the Month Results

Friday, November 18th, 2011

We’re hard at work proofreading the new issue (due out in January!), but in between bursts of intense, disturb-me-not concentration, we’ve been enjoying the captions you all have proposed for the photo posted in our Game of the Month.  Laxatives, kegel exercises, mannequins: what more could we have asked for?

We can determine whether “which” or “that” is correct in a particular sentence, but we’re stymied by the task of picking just one winner—because you’re all so good!  Perhaps we’re suffering from decision fatigue . . .

So, you’re all winners! If you are Cornelius Speckle; Tabitha Rae Barenblum; Prof. Michel Musselhands; Dan Peterson, Master Brewer; Illah R. Nourbakhsh, Robotics Engineer; Garrison Hearst; Linda Flavonoid; Charlie Green; Douglas; Jessica Gama; or Lawrence Cady, please email editors [at] cincinnatireview [dot] com to claim your prize (thermos, slingpack, or issue of choice). Thanks for playing!

Game of the Month: Guidance for Guidelines

Monday, October 10th, 2011

We’re so excited about our new online submissions system that we can’t stop celebrating. Not with alcohol—that’s not our style—but with lots and lots of sugar. We’ve consumed rafts of Laffy Taffy, Bottle Caps, and those hard candies that resemble (sort of) strawberries, and we’ve taken to singing the Willy Wonka soundtrack and miming exaggerated falls into a turbulent chocolate river.

Lisa Ampleman has built a small popsicle-stick structure in one corner of the office that she refers to as her Shrine to Skittles, and Becky Adnot-Haynes is threatening to order a gross of those fluffy orange fake peanuts. Obviously a big distraction is in order so that we are not drawn still deeper into the cavity-filled maw of the god of sucrose. To bring us back from the brink, we have devised a new Game of the Month! Due to the new online submission system, we updated our guidelines, and we want to hear YOUR suggestions for appropriate submission guidelines for a lit mag. What do you think we should be asking for? “Desperately seeking epic poems about sea crustaceans”? “Only your best short-shorts about girls in short-shorts”? “Please affix three paper clips on each side of your manuscript to prevent unseemly paper flappage”?

The composer of the best guidelines submitted by next Monday, October 17, will receive a Cincinnati Review–branded thermos or slingpack (which we’ll send through the U.S. Postal Service and not through the inter-webs). To enter, simply post your comments on the blog by clicking the post title above. Happy submitting!

Game of the Month: Editing Test

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Here at CR we have an arduous training process for our new volunteers. We ask them to perform feats of physical strength and stamina, like doing sprints with heavy stacks of the current issue on their heads and standing atop a teeny platform for a really, really long time (the latter we stole from Survivor, but we think it’s important for our purposes, too). After that we test their balance and reflexes by having them walk a nine-foot-high balance beam while dodging banana peels and sandwich crusts left over from our lunches.

After they’re sufficiently covered in residual banana goo, we ask them to do still more rigorous things like opening the mail, juggling information within our various databases, and of course, processing submissions. They also participate in meetings about editing, production, marketing, and advanced paper-cut avoidance.

If they make it that far, we ask them to take our editing test, so they can judge their aptitudes for things like spelling, grammar, and judicious rephrasing. And now, readers, we’re inviting you to join the fun! (Balance beam excluded.)  Take a gander at a small portion of our test below and correct the punctuation and grammar problems. The first five people to answer all correctly will get to choose a prize (free issue, free thermos, or free slingback—all emblazoned with CR’s handsome logo).

Submit your answers via comment by next Wednesday, September 28. We’ll close the contest either on that date or upon receiving five sets of correct answers. To comment, just click on the post title above.

One more thing: We think your editing skills should come from within—sort of like the samurai spirit in martial arts movies—so we ask that you take the test without consulting the Internet. (Besides, do you want to find out how good your editing skills are, or do you want to spend the next hour scouring grammar message boards? Hmm? Hmm?)

Editing Test

Correct the punctuation and grammar problems in the following sentences.  Note that some sentences may be correct (we’re tricky like that).

  1. Tamar had grown up on a little, native, banana plantation.
  2. Jeff wasn’t feeling well so he went home and laid down.
  3. The situation is grim but, if we are prepared to act promptly, there is still one chance for escape.
  4. The gates swung apart, the bridge fell, the portcullis was drawn up.
  5. He is one of the ablest scientists who has attacked this problem.
  6. Among the five Gerry Bryant is the candidate, whom we hope will win.
  7. The ranger offered Shirley and him advice on several campsites.
  8. Surely, you’ve heard the phrase, “Keeping up with the Jones’s?”