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A spelling competition is a good way of whiling time away, and it's good for you. But it may seem a bit too much like school work for some people.

Why not give it a twist by having a backwards-spelling game? This is not as easy as it sounds. Test yourself with a fairly short word such as RHYTHM: you'll have to think very carefully to get the Hs and the T in the correct places.

The game begins with four-letter words. The first player selects a four-letter word from a book or magazine (even a Road Atlas) and asks the next player to spell it backwards. He checks this from the printed word. No mistakes are allowed at all even instant corrections.

For the next turn, the book or magazine is handed on to the second player, who chooses a word for the third player to spell backwards. If a person spells a four-letter word correctly, he goes on as part of the same turn to five letters, six, seven and eight letters successively.

If he fails at any point, he must try again with the same length of word in his next turn. The winner is the first person to spell an eight-letter word correctly.

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