Wholly Toledo 
Sophisticated puzzle for kids of various ages.

Copyright 2003 by Paul Niquette.  All rights reserved.
Revised in 2015.

It was 1970 and a long vacation drive.  "Here are your clues," said I over my shoulder to the restless children in the back seat.  "Give me the name of a city, a storm, and a weapon."

No answer.

I scanned bewildered faces in the rearview mirror. "There is only one rule of the game: All three words begin and end with the same pair of letters."

"The same letters?" asked my daughter.

"The same pair of letters," my son answered.

Far as I know, that was the first time Toledo was played anywhere in the world.  It had just invented itself inside my cranium (the trip was tedious for me too). 
"The city is in Ohio," said I, after a couple of miles in silence.

"Cleveland?" asked my son.

"No, Toledo," exulted my daughter.  "And the storm is a tornado!"

"Yeah," agreed my son.  "What was that third clue?"

"A weapon," I answered.

"Torpedo!" cried voices in unison.

hat was hundreds of games ago, with players of all ages.  The most fun, by the way, is in thinking up challenges for others.  Children have a knack for doing that.  It takes concentration and -- the main feature -- quiet time.


The name of the game, which was derived from that first challenge, has endured for more than four decades in our family -- passed along by my children to my grandchildren (and soon to my great-grandchildren).

"Grampa I have a Toledo for YOU: Something you do with a shovel, something you need a rope for, and an animal."
The best Toledos have one-word clues...
  • pet, injury, bed (for second graders); 
  • music, search, hippodrome (for teenagers);
  • processor, win, disease (for grownups); 
  • visual, perpendicular, cerebral (for graduate students). 
Synonyms are the most common clues, but a set of antonyms (an oledot) works, too...
  • certainty, safe, calm. 
Plurals and gerunds are frowned upon, of course, but proper names and hyphenations are permissible...
  • ambassador, king, museum
  • noise-maker, ruffian, wading bird.
So here is the puzzle...
Can you invent a Toledo having a Toledo for clues?