Muddled Times
Issue:Issue 17, August 2002


What are "sillies"? well the MUDspeke Dictionary defines the term like this:


  1. noun A response from MUD to a ridiculous command which nonetheless somehow ought to do something. Examples: 'play poker' using the kind of poker meant for poking fires; 'put pin in effigy' using a rolling pin.
  2. noun A response from MUD to a combination of normally disparate words which happen to make some kind of sense if used together. Example: 'fish finger'.
  3. noun A response from MUD to a command which would require unreasonable depth or breadth to deal with or is downright impossible, eg. 'get air'.

All these variations are related, but the first kind of silly is regarded as the most rewarding. Some real addict explorers spend the bulk of their playing time looking for sillies.

I was originally planning on writing this article so it listed sillies by command and output and classified them as one of the above three groups, but I realised that this would probably spoil everyone's fun. So instead, I thought I'd list the sillies in a quiz format, where you have to supply the commands yourself :-) .

A small prize (1,000 points) to the mortal who emails the editor the most correct answers before next issue. Note that some have blank bits so as not to give the game away completely, but you only need to tell me what the commands that cause them are (and under what conditions, if special), not what parts are missing. For example, if you think that the text of question 1 for section 6 can be produced by typing get all (which obviously would be the wrong answer, but hello, this is just an example) then that's all you'd need to tell me. You wouldn't have to say what the missing blank word was.

Warning: although many questions are easy, some are very, very hard :-) .

Good luck!


Section 1

Sillies caused by single words.

  1. It's a little more complicated than that...
  2. Well, I suppose that's an innocent enough swearword, I won't do you for using it...
  3. Sorry, I don't do requests for special effects.
  4. The machine you are using is a computer. It is not a grandfather clock. The two are quite dissimilar.
  5. Squirt.
  6. Go ahead then.
  7. Sadly, you realise that an artiste of your calibre simply can't perform without the right music, of which, regrettably, there is none in The Land...
  8. Sorry? I think you may have mistaken me for a "Red Indian" out of one of those 1950s B movies. I am actually a "computer program", and therefore quite unable to produce the appropriate hand signals in reply.
  9. Uh? This isn't a game of tennis, you know...
  10. Unfortunately, even the most abject begging doesn't help.

Section 2

Sillies caused by doing things to things.

  1. That's graphic, user interference!
  2. Nothing happens, but it takes a very long time to do so...
  3. I hate having to deal with non-mainstream commands, and that one's REALLY touching on the peripheral...
  4. You may as well talk to a brick wall for all the good that'll do you. Er...
  5. You leap into the cockpit and AWAY YOU GO! WHOOOSH! Off on a flight of fancy...
  6. The word "eycrou" pops into your head. That's the sort of thing that happens when you're mad.
  7. Origami doesn't seem to be your strong point.
  8. This is one of those "do something faintly ridiculous for charity" things, I can tell...
  9. I think you've already gone...
  10. You don't seem to have a large enough album handy...
  11. Learn to spell PEAL!
  12. Amazingly, your powers of resurrection appear to have deserted you!
  13. Well, as roots of all evil go, I guess that's perhaps more understandable than most.
  14. You must be trying to develop a hacking cough.
  15. You didn't use a string.
  16. You have to be dead to do that. OK, so your brain might well BE dead, but really we're talking the whole body here...
  17. OK, you're dummy...
  18. Nah, it'd just make you that much more thirstier...
  19. You'll doubtless be relieved to know that the geography of ancient Judea is not required knowledge for playing this game.
  20. A red light flashes before your eyes, and the words, "REALITY FAILURE" appear briefly underneath.
  21. I don't think you quite understand the power structure of The Land...
  22. No, Tarzan not in jungle now, Tarzan in Land. Tarzan go back to treehouse.
  23. Well, I'll say this for you martial arts experts, you're certainly brave!
  24. No, they're not piezo-electric...
  25. Unfortunately, either you or the stonemason must have flunked the "ancient oriental gravestone symbols" course at college, because you can't make any sense whatsoever of them. Maybe it's a Zen thing...

Section 3

Sillies caused by doing things under certain conditions.

  1. Some people will try anything just to get a sarcastic message out of a computer...
  2. Nothing happens except that you feel a little foolish...
  3. I said you may as well forget THE IDEA, not the fact that you forgot it...
  4. As you bang your head against the wall in a vain effort to walk through it, you notice by the hollow ring that there could be a room on the other side. Either that or your head's empty.
  5. Your act of wanton vandalism has no discernible effect.

Section 4

Sillies caused by single words which use that word.

  1. Oi! Who are you calling a blank?! What a nerve
  2. Hey, just because I'm a computer program that doesn't mean you can make me do all the work! YOU'RE the one who's supposed to blank: get out there and DO it!
  3. Now shall I say something sarcastic about your use in an imperative sentence of a transitive verb with no object to govern, or shall I just tell you that I need to know what it is you wish to blank, and leave it at that? Oh, I see I've done both!
  4. Hmm, it's no good, I can't get my brainwave analyser to penetrate your unusually thick skull. You're just going to have to repeat your command, except this time state what it is you want to blank.
  5. Don't be stupid, it takes years to blank anything REALLY useful!
  6. Since you're a clever human being and I'm just a stupid computer, the fact that my poor electronic brain cannot comprehend the subtleties of that command is clearly not your fault. Well, not unless you're some kind of keyboard-thumping moron with an imperfect understanding of the verb "to blank".
  7. Blank <cre> TO <str> if you want to get a reply other than this sarcastic one...
  8. Try again, and maybe this time you'll let me know what it is you want to blank. Not that you'll learn anything particularly interesting, of course...
  9. Let's be reasonable about this. We have this relationship, whereby you tell me what to do, and I -
    Oh to hell with it! TRY TELLING ME WHAT YOU WANT TO blank, YOU JERK!
    Sorry, I just get these anti-thicko attacks sometimes.
  10. Yes, OK, well if you could just try that again such that I can tell what it is you want to blank, maybe I'll let you do it...

Section 5

Sillies which reference the commands that cause them.

  1. Blank liquids isn't really possible, now is it? Try sipping instead, dimwit.
  2. If you want to blank yourself, use STEAL...
  3. This is just a little message to dissuade you from walking around yelling, "Hey, you can blank yourself!"...
  4. Blank is the first sign of madness!
  5. I know what you're hoping for, but it's not your lucky day: no matter how hard you blank, no extra virgin appears.
  6. You're getting a blank! If you think this is real life, better get some medical attention instead!
  7. The maiden doesn't WANT to be blank, she lives here!
  8. Birds, I don't mind birds. Rats, snakes, insects even. But I draw the line at fishes. ANYONE WHO blank IS OUT OF THEIR MIND.
  9. The only way you could pass through the holes is if you were sliced up into little pieces (ie. blank).
  10. Well, well, well, and I thought EVERYONE knew you can't blank yourself..!

Section 6

Sillies with their objects blanked out.

  1. Your vibrant mental processes swirl into action, and you realise that there's no need to taste the blank: it'll be hot.
  2. I've heard about your type! blank PERVERT!
  3. It's the kind of blank one wears, not the kind one drinks. Well, not unless one is completely void of intellect.
  4. Q: What blank that can't be undone sound like what you think when you can't undo them? A: Fiddlesticks!
  5. That's an interesting idea, throwing blank. Interesting, but dumb.
  6. What deplorable behaviour! I can only assume that it was caused by cosmic rays interfering with the manners-processing part of your brain, and that therefore you should not be disintegrated for your ungrateful attitude to a free blank.
  7. In the collision which occurs between you and the blank, you gain the impression somewhat that, in common with most solid objects, human beings cannot readily walk through it.
  8. Whirr click click - your gargantuan brain lurches into action and you realise that without a blank you'd drown if you went in that direction. Aren't you glad you're so clever?
  9. Amazingly, the "massive blank" is too tall to climb.
  10. Blank are meant to be hung on walls; it's just one of those wacky things you have to accept in life...
  11. It seems you are labouring under the misapprehension that blank are permeable with respect to living creatures...
  12. The blank isn't your type. Too flighty.
  13. You check all about your person, and, weird though it may seem, you appear to be clean out of blank today.
  14. You approach the blank, lips ready to sip, then WHOOSH! Oh well, that'll save you from having to trim your nasal hair for the next couple of months...
  15. Tarnation! You forgot you blank robe.
  16. Although it's obviously very easy in theory for you to squeeze comfortably inside a 12-inch tall blank, for some reason you can't seem to manage it in practice.
  17. The blank makes a cursory movement.
  18. The ram doesn't eat solid gold blank...
  19. Sigh, how could a pintpot like you carry off a whole blank?
  20. Just because there's a blank there, it doesn't mean you have to go jump out of it, clod!

Section 7

Extracts from long sillies.

  1. In order to make their revolvers easier to conceal, some manufacturers go to ingenious lengths in disguising such products - as pens, as walking sticks, even as hats. More...
  2. Blank are born with their eyes closed, and they don't open them until they leave home. More...
  3. More... [Jeez, someone get rid of this kid before I go nuts...]
  4. Uh? Oh, I SEE! You're a primitive AI program, aren't you? You've been provided with a simplistic keyword-recognition module, and a list of production rules that are fired by phrases that appear in the text. More...
  5. The carp has no wings, no undercarriage, and no means of aerial propulsion. Yes, it does have a tail, more...
  6. More... [Literary aside: Robert Burns described a frightened mouse as a "Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie", which is rather appropriate for the particular function you thought to perform].
  7. More... Oh, OK: from now on awful, terrible luck will accompany you until you quit.
  8. You are clearly working under the instructions of post-hypnotic suggestion, more...
  9. Let me guess: when your home planet, Krypton, was destroyed by an exploding sun, you were sent in a rocketship to Earth, where you were brought up by mild-mannered Mr and Mrs more...
  10. Enormous flames twenty feet in length roar from the ends of the more...
  11. More..., nowadays they are primarily employed in the role for which they were clearly designed: as an efficient means of caving in the skulls of people who patently deserve it.
  12. Ignoring the fact that it normally takes months of training under the tuition of accomplished experts in order to perform the feat, nevertheless you boldly insert more
  13. What? All this and you want humour too? I don't know, in the old days players had to make their own amusement, the youth of today, they don't know how lucky they are, they just sit down and expect to be entertained, more...
  14. Your mind swirls into a dream, and you see a ship's figurehead coming to life, floating airily across waves of tortured sea. She approaches you, warily at first, then with more confidence. More...
  15. More... Ha! Well consider yourself lucky I'm stopping you, otherwise it would have been "Splatsville"...

Section 8

Some gratuitously insulting sillies.

  1. The stoppered vial is closed, blank.
  2. The lit brand is aflame! Put it out, you blank, you'll burn yourself!
  3. The portcullis is already raised, you blank!
  4. No, you blank, not THAT kind of kipper!
  5. THE STAIRS GO NO FURTHER! Read the description, blank!


Good luck and don't forget to email your solutions!


This article first appeared in the October 1999 issue of Witch?

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