In 1951, John Thurber was challenged by his friend, Michell, to a word game called “Ghost” or “Superghost”. The objective of the game is to think of English words which contain a given difficult letter combinations. For example, “NEHE” becomes “swineherd” and “CKLU” becomes “lackluster”.

When Thurber was asked to think of an English word that contains “SGRA”, he gave the following:

kissgranny. A man who seeks the company of older women, especially older women with money; a designing fellow, a fortune hunter.

blessgravy. A minister or cleric; the head of a family; one who says grace.

hossgrace. Innate or native dignity, similar to that of the thoroughbred hoss.

bussgranite. Literally, a stonekisser; a man who persists in trying to win the favor or attention of cold, indifferent, or capricious women.

tossgravel. A male human being who tosses gravel, usually at night, at the window of a female human being’s bedroom, usually that of a young virgin; hence, a lover, a male sweetheart, and an eloper.

In total, he was able to come up with 19 words which contain “SGRA”. However, none of them are official English words. Can you provide the solution?



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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

13 thoughts on “Superghost

  1. If I recall correctly, it was in a Douglas Hofstadter book where I first came across this one: find a word which contains the combination ADAC within it.

    Additional fun word puzzle: find a word that both begins and ends with HE.

    Liked by 2 people

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