Wordplay is an integral part of many puzzles, from anagrams and rhymes to letter-shifting and palindromes. But perhaps the most predominant form of wordplay is the pun. (Where would Wordplay Wednesday be without them?)
Sometimes puns are Cryptogram answers or Anagram Magic Squares solutions. Sometimes they’re fiendish crossword puzzle clues that send you one way when your answer lies elsewhere, or they’re the key to figuring out the theme entries in a Thursday New York Times puzzle.
Whether it’s a groaner or one that makes you laugh out loud, a pun can add humor and style to a puzzle.
Some of my fellow puzzlers have some classics to their credit, like Penny Press editor Keith Yarbrough’s “Public hanging” for ART, or crossword guru Eileen Saunders’ “Wombmates?” for TWINS.
But it’s not just in puzzles. Social media has given the art of punnery a new lease of life. Several YouTubers have made puns their stock in trade, like My Drunk Kitchen’s Hannah Hart and You Deserve a Drink’s Mamrie Hart. (No relation.)
Check out this video by musician and pun enthusiast Andrew Huang:
Twitter is also home to some monstrously talented punsmiths. Here are two recent favorites I stumbled across:
And did you know there are even contests and prizes for great puns?
Every May, the O. Henry Pun-Off attracts wordplay aficionados from all over to ply their trade in front of a live audience!
For a primo example, here’s a video of champion Jerzy Gwiazdowski busting out a flurry of geography puns:
What are some of your favorite puns, fellow puzzlers? Are they from puzzles, jokes, Internet memes? Leave them in the comments!
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