As you sit in positions of elegant patience, sumptuously sipping water and slowly exhausting conversational alternatives, look around for small objects of which there are more than two: forks, spoons, sugar packets. Set aside singletons and doubletons (glasses, napkins, ketchup bottles, etc.), and create a large, de-cluttered space for the game board.
Now, think of the remaining tableware as blank tiles, functioning in the same manner as blank tiles in the game of Scrabble. That is to say, so to speak, that a fork could stand for any letter at all. In like manner, a spoon, for example, would also be like a blank tile, and could also stand for any letter, except that it must stand for a DIFFERENT letter. So, a pattern of tableware such as: (spoon)(fork)(fork)(spoon) could represent any four-letter word that began and ended with the same letter, and had a different double-letter in the middle, e.g.: NOON, DEED, ELLE, but not BOON, FEET, or ELBE. Tableware can be added vertically or horizontally, the only rule being that when you are challenged, you must be able to fill in all the blanks, as it were, in exactly the same pattern as the objects.
In the following example:
the two horizontal words are both three-letters long. The letters symbolized by the packages of Splenda are different, depending on the orientation of the package. So, the third letter of the word beginning with the fork is the same as the second letter of the word beginning with the napkin.
There are three vertical words. You get the picture, no? Want a hint? The last vertical word is TEA.
Challenging? You bet! Boredom dispelling, yes, but definitely not one of your entry-level conundra. It is even more challenging if you and your partner are sitting opposite each other, because you are each looking at a different array. I, myself, in partnership with some of the most puzzling people I know, have never been able to create a pattern that goes beyond ond place setting, some napkinds, and an assortment of sugar packets.
(This Oaqui* game is in memory of Burton Naiditch)