CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
The X-O-Skeleton Story Generator


In alternate turns, complete a row, column, or diagonal with three X’s or O’s. Each X and O has a discrete unit of meaning, as detailed in the Dictionary of One-Letter Words. Choose and write a letter meaning alongside each X and O placed in the grid; don’t repeat a letter meaning within the same game.

Number each turn on the grid, to establish the linear progression of the story.

When the game is finished, use the sequence of key words to construct your story, adding connecting phrases as necessary.

Share the stories you generate!

Click to download and print

June 8, 2020 (permalink)

Chris Piuma, rapier sharpened by a battery of Latin examinations, offers today's Tic Tac Toe-generated story.
#gary barwin #poetry #tic tac toe #poem generator #writing prompt #chris piuma
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June 1, 2020 (permalink)

Our Tic Tac Toe generator builds stories out of the one-letter words X and O.  Here's an example.  To play along, see below for instructions and a link to a template.
#gary barwin #poetry #tic tac toe #poem generator #writing prompt #chris piuma
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June 9, 2019 (permalink)

Using our Tic-Tac-Toe Story Generator [instructions and template here], we can translate the game on this student's back into a poem:
A wish for experimental kisses,
unknowable              surprises,
the sun mysterious, shadowing.
(Photo from West Georgia's 1941 yearbook.)
#vintage photo #vintage yearbook #poetry #tic tac toe
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May 29, 2016 (permalink)

In the farce Kid Curlers by Dorothy Waldo (1916), something that "looks like a game of tic-tac-toe" is mistaken for Japanese script.  (Spoiler: it's neither.)  We wondered which X- and O-like characters of katakana might make sense in a tic-tac-toe arrangement.  Here's what we came up with:
Reading right to left, up to down, we have a call for someone not to resign due to a particular circumstance:
ya me ro (stop)
ya me na (don't quit)
me na na (because of it)

#japanese #tic tac toe #katakana
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May 11, 2010 (permalink)

Our Tic Tac Toe generator builds stories out of the one-letter words X and O.  Here's an example, from a photo we spotted at the Frog Blog.  The letters can be translated as follows:

Stitching wonderment
Gladness crossing, multiplying
Round reassurance magnifying

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December 20, 2009 (permalink)

Art by spacesick.
Here's our translation of the Xs and Os of this book cover, using The X-O-Skeleton Story Generator.  As we don't know the order of play, we read the letters row by row, left to right:

Round kissing sun
Reassurance magnifying, shadowing
Marking the spot of one(ness)
#poetry #tic tac toe #one-letter words
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April 16, 2009 (permalink)

Here's a kiss and hug (X and O, in the shorthand of love notes), by way of the One Letter Words Quiz Deck by Pomegranate.
#card deck #pomegranate #one-letter words #x and o #trivia
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February 23, 2009 (permalink)

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January 28, 2009 (permalink)

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January 23, 2009 (permalink)

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December 21, 2008 (permalink)

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November 27, 2008 (permalink)

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November 19, 2008 (permalink)

Tamara writes:

This is great.  I can't wait to try it with my son.
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November 10, 2008 (permalink)

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November 3, 2008 (permalink)

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October 17, 2008 (permalink)

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October 2, 2008 (permalink)

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September 27, 2008 (permalink)

Thanks to the Serif of Nottingblog for today's delightful Tic Tac Toem:

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September 25, 2008 (permalink)

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September 18, 2008 (permalink)

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