"Connecring the dots": origin?

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 4 00:27:59 UTC 2010

If my memory is not failing me now, Gardner had something similar
under the name Brussels Sprouts. Only the dots need not be on parallel
lines. Of course, this could have been an entirely different game. He
also had a race-track game where you could move in any direction on
the track, but the speed could only increase or decrease in either
direction by one--the goal being either to get to the finish line
first or to block out your opponents and make them crash.

There is now a plastic version of the same game where opponent place
gates of different lengths in order to block in the final move. This
can also be a version of solitaire, with the goal of connecting all
the dots.


On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 7:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think it's more likely to allude to the "drawing" kind of
> "connect-the-dots" game.
> As you connect those dots, a recognizable picture emerges.
> Hence the metaphor. IMO.
> JL
> On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 7:42 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:
>> At 6:46 PM -0400 5/3/10, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> >When I was a child, there was a popular game called "dots." You put
>> >parallel lines of equal numbers of dots onto a sheet of paper. The
>> >number of lines was a function of the patience of the person drawing
>> >up the "board." The game was played by connecting the dots, drawing
>> >only one line at a time. Neither player "owned" the lines, so that A
>> >could draw a line to connect a dot to which B had already drawn a line
>> >to make a connection. The point of the game was to be the one who was
>> >able to make the most squares by connecting the dots. A put "A" into
>> >his squares and B put "B" into his, to keep track.
>> >
>> >There were also puzzle-drawing for kids that involved connecting
>> >seemingly randomly-placed, numbered dots in such a way as to draw some
>> >figure by connecting the dots in mumerical order.
>> >
>> >I'm not suggesting that *either* of these games is the source of the
>> >phrase, "connecting the dots." They're just two games that I know of
>> >that involve connecting the dots and which come to mind whenever I
>> >hear talk of "connecting the dots."
>> >
>> >Does anyone know the actual source of the phrase? BTW, I don't really
>> >care. I'm just randomly wondering.
>> >
>> We played that first game in NYC; I'd totally forgotten it.  It was a
>> variant of another game called "Territories". I remember both fondly.
>> The second, puzzle-drawing exercise was a lot less exciting, but I
>> always associated the "connect the dots" metaphor (as in the
>> blamecasting post 9-11) with that one.  But it's nice to be reminded
>> me of that first one!
>> LH

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