Friday - - Mind Games -

Pic­ture puz­zles A re­bus is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a word or phrase by pic­tures or sym­bols that sug­gest that word or phrase. Each clue usu­ally rep­re­sents a syl­la­ble of the an­swer.

Long be­fore the re­bus be­came a favourite among word puzzlers, it was used in heraldic ex­pres­sions in the Mid­dle Ages to de­note sur­names. Also known as cant­ing arms, they have been in­creas­ingly used in the 20th Century among the Bri­tish royal fam­ily.

A fa­mous ex­am­ple of cant­ing arms are those of the late Queen El­iz­a­beth, the Queen Mother, who was born El­iz­a­beth Bowes-Lyon. Her arms con­tain the bows and blue lions that make up the arms of the Bowes and Lyon fam­i­lies.

The word ‘re­bus’ it­self comes from the Latin ex­pres­sion “Non ver­bis, sed re­bus”, which means “Not by words, but by things”.

In word games a sim­ple but ven­er­a­ble ex­am­ple would be GSEG, de­ci­phered as ‘scram­bled eggs’. One with econ­omy and el­e­gance is ‘B’, which is a re­bus for ‘abalone’ – ‘a B alone’. And SR would be ‘rafters’ – from ‘R af­ter S’.

Mak­ing fre­quent ap­pear­ances in puzzle books are two oth­ers: HIJKLMNO, which means ‘wa­ter’ (‘H to O’, pho­netic for ‘H2O’), and the en­tire length of the al­pha­bet with­out ‘L’, which reads as the fes­ti­val NOEL (‘no L’).

A more con­trived puzzle asks you to iden­tify what hol­i­day is ob­tained by solv­ing ‘inf­dayant’, ‘tod­day­dler’ and ‘pre-sc­day­hooler; the an­swer is ‘In­de­pen­dence Day’ (in­fants, tod­dlers and preschool­ers are de­pen­dants, so the clue reads “In de­pen­dants, ‘day’).

A fa­mous re­bus is that of Ab­bot Islip, in stained glass at West­min­ster Abbey; it pic­tures a man in a tree, hold­ing a small branch (called a “slip”), and a hu­man eye: “eye slip”.

And Re­buses even spread to the world of car­toons:

The name of the au­thor of Tintin, Hergé, is a re­bus. His real name was Ge­orges Remi, whose ini­tials he re­versed as ‘RG’, ergo, Hergé.

Also, EC Segar, who cre­ated Pop­eye, al­ways signed the last frame un­der the draw­ing of a small cigar to rhyme with his name.

If you want to have fun and make a re­bus of your own name (or any word or phrase) take a look at the amaz­ing web­site myRe­bus.com,

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