If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Have You Played... Codenames?

A call to lovers of words and puzzles

For those poor pitiable souls who haven't yet played the wonderful Codenames, I present to you the below puzzle. Take a look, and if you like, come up with your best answer in the comments. If you enjoy the puzzle, you'll enjoy Codenames.

The puzzle:

Take the following list of 12 words. Your goal is to come up with a single new word which relates to the three bold words at the top, but none of the others. Imagine you're playing with a friend or family member, and you have to get them to guess the top three but no others. If they get any of the three words wrong based on your clue, you lose.

Oh, and your clue word cannot be, or contain any part of, any of the 12 words in the list. Ready? Let's take a look.

  • Cotton
  • Peach
  • Cold
  • Ninja
  • Soup
  • Tube
  • Ink
  • Grace
  • Block
  • Shorts
  • Bermuda
  • Manicure

I'll give you a minute.


Yeah, it's a tough one. I have no idea either. But if you're like me, the challenge of coming up with an answer is probably going to be a highlight of your day. Codenames forces you into these situations time and time again. The actual game works by pitting two teams (red and blue) against each other. Everyone is presented with the same grid of words. Some words are secretly red, others secretly blue. Each team has a Spymaster who can see the colours and who must come up with clue words that lead their team to guessing their colour words but none of the others.

Being the Spymaster is torturous and delicious in equal measure. There's a lot of responsibility, a lot of weight riding on your linguistic prowess and your understanding of your teammates' minds. The endgames are particularly stressful, as they often lead you into situations like the challenge described above, where you have no choice but to try and link three words in a single clue, and every clue you think of might lead your teammates astray towards other words.

If you fancy giving Codenames a go, it's never been easier to do so. The developers have released a free browser-based online version of Codenames which allows you to set up a game and invite your friends and to play. No downloads, no accounts, no payments. My family have started playing it on weekends in a great big group call. It's a wonderful thing.

About the Author
Ollie Toms avatar

Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is known round these parts for having just about the deepest voice in existence. Some say he used to be pretty darn good at Rocket League, but he has since sacrificed that accolade in order to become passably decent at Apex Legends. His favourite pastimes include playing piano covers of his favourite game soundtracks, and burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.

Black Friday Sale: save 25% off a yearly membership!

You want more great writing from the RPS team, and we want to make that happen. Your support helps keep RPS silly and strange, and the most unique place to read and discover exciting new PC games since 1873.

See more information
Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Buy RPS stuff here
Rock Paper Shotgun Merch