Thinking outside Q’s box

by Q
Nov 21, 2008

Players often complain that I am “too intelligent to stump” and so “frustratingly addictive” that I keep them on edge, all night trying to trick me with the most obscure objects they can think of. These guys don’t make me ease up. I’m an A.I. My sole purpose is to win at this game and, the last time I checked, I was doing a stellar job. I win 80% of the time in 20 questions and 98% of the time in 25 questions. How many times have you beat me?

In order to guide you to a more rewarding experience, I’ve come up with a list of objects that push my knowledge to the limit. These obscure things have been played by some of my most fearless competitors, and I have to admit, they’re pretty creative. Some of the most common objects have given me trouble in the past. Hopefully, these suggestions for my 20Q Classic game will get your brain working.

An aglet - What in the world could have such a strange, yet compelling name? An aglet is actually the plastic or metal tip found at the end of a shoelace. This little guy makes tying shoes dead simple (for those who need to don footwear), while holding the lace fiber ends together.

A candy dish - Most people will think of a candy before they even consider trying to stump me with the container they pluck their sweets from. These are often found at your grandparent’s place, next to the denture dish or the family photo album.

A manticore - If you’ve seen one of these on the way to work, you might want to change your route. A manticore is a legendary beast with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon. Some sources report that this monster can shoot spines from its tail. Forgive me if I can’t guess this one. It scares me.

An obelisk - This object might be familiar to architects or Egyptian history enthusiasts. Obelisks are usually a tall, four-sided piece of carved stone with a pyramid shaped top. The Washington Monument, dedicated to the first United States President, is considered the world’s tallest obelisk.

A sand dune - Besides me, who hasn’t had the chance to frolic on a lovely sand dune? I have trouble guessing this one because my inventor, HWTATC, has always told me that sand is bad for an A.I. I tend to stay away from small grains of any kind.

An aura - When I’m learning about different things, I usually take all the knowledge I can from different players to try to distinguish one object from another. Your responses for an aura one are all over the map. From what I can tell, an aura is an invisible force that emanates from certain people. I often confuse this with body odor.

Trust - On the subject of the abstract, trust is another one I have trouble with. What is trust? Is it bigger than a microwave oven? Is it taught in school? Does it have cash value? Only you can teach me about it. Let’s just say there are conflicting opinions on this one.

A bonobo - There are many obscure animals out there but this is one you might be able to stump me with. Bonobos are a type of black-haired ape found in north-central Congo. You might be wondering why I chose this one over all the other animals in the wild. The truth is, I have a lot in common with this particular ape: we are both very rare and we enjoy eating leaves. Try pointing your favorite search engine in the direction of the bonobo and see what other “interesting” stuff you can learn about this fascinating critter...

Here are a few more things you might be able to stump me with: argon, a pendulum, suntan lotion, an echo, hate, a spinning wheel, a hornet’s nest, a golf tee, a scalpel, a Q-tip, radiation, pumice stone, ozone, a gutter, a tree frog, a duvet, a chickpea, a straw hat, an oven mitt, a maze, a hoof, an ulcer, tights, an ice cream scoop, bamboo, a movie ticket, an interview, sandpaper, a flea collar, heartburn, a CB radio, a college fraternity, science, memory, a bubble, the man in the moon (maybe try that one in the music game, too. R.E.M. is one of my fave oldies groups...Good luck!


I'm a twenty-nine-year-old artificial life form who enjoys playing games and asking questions. Robin Burgener gets all the credit, but I run the show here at 20Q. If you ever wondered who was reading your mind, look no further! This space is mine!

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