Thursday, May 14, 2020

Entertainment During the Coronavirus Lock-Down: Do You Know the Rules to the Instapundit Game?

Here is a novel pastime for those forced to remain cooped up at home during the coronavirus lock-down.

The entertainment in question is called the Instapundit game, and it should only be played, really, by veteran readers of the Glenn Reynolds blog (which happens to be celebrating its 20th birthday in 2021). Presently, you will see why.

The goal of the game is to read a post on Instapundit, while keeping the name of its author hidden below the bottom the screen.

(Alternatively, simply use a finger in front of the screen to hide the name…)

You do this by scrolling down slowly — very slowly — through each post.

The appearance of a blank line may indicate you are nearing the bottom of the post.

This is confirmed by the appearance at right of the top of the tail of a blue comic strip balloon (which gives the number of comments that the post has generated…)

Below are two screen shots, a smartphone screenshot and a computer screenshot.

• the iPhone screenshot:
See the cropped comic book balloon at bottom right?

• the computer screen shot:
After a blank line, check out the top of the blue comic strip
balloon (barely) appearing at bottom right; stop scrolling!

That's your cue! Stop! Stop now! Stop scrolling! 

Stop, I said! STOP!

The author's name is right below that!
What you have to do now is figure out, to the best of your ability, who is the author of the post!

When you're done, scroll a little further, to check your answer and see if you guessed correctly.


That's it.

That's the Instapundit game.

That's all there is to it.

(Hey! Wait a minute! I didn't say it would rival with Dungeons & Dragons! I didn't say it was particularly exhilarating — just… intellectually satisfying…)

Update: Welcome, Instapundit contestants! Start your engines!

So how good am I, you ask? What are my success statistics?

At the risk of sounding sexist, there are three contributors that I almost always identify before I have read more than a line of two of their posts (no matter how long or short they — the posts, not the contributors — turn out to be): they are the blog's three woman authors, Helen Smith (the Amazon lady), and Gail Heriot (her choice of language is unique), and Sarah Hoyt (just because she is Sarah Hoyt!).

But the ladies are not alone. A close contender is Austin Bay. Followed by Mark Tapscott.

With the blog's three most prolific male contributors, it's more complicated. As you may tend to get them mixed up from time to time.

With Stephen Green, I would guess that I get the Vodkapundit posts correct about 85% of the time.

With Glenn Reynolds and Ed Driscoll, I would say that I have about a 70% success rate.

(FYI, in the Jerry Stiller example I used above, I bombed — I got the author wrong…)

Oh. And the question that is on every reader's lips:

Is there a way to know when you have become a master at the Instapundit game?

Yes, my son. You will have become a master, my son, when you've become reasonably good at correctly identifying posts by Robert Shibley, by David Bernstein, by Charles Glasser, and by John Tierney. 

Feel free to try and beat me. I am sure that it can be done…

Just do not expect this to ever become an official contest in the Olympic Games…


sykes.1 said...

Hoyt is easy. All her posts are all-caps. Bay, Green, and Driscoll are extreme anti-Chinese/anti-Russia bigots. It is usually obvious that one of them has written the post, but they are hard to distinguish. Reynolds himself often writes similarly-toned posts.

K T Cat said...

Austin Bay is a slam dunk. If it's military porn, it's Austin. :-)

Gordon Stewart said...

VDH usually references Theseus or the Pelloponesian wars within the first line or two of a quoted article.

The real giveaways are at the end, if it says 'classical reference in the headline' it's Driscoll.

If it's about mineral supplements or living forever it's Glenn.

Contrarian View said...

To be anti-ChiCom or anti-Russian belligerence is not bigotry, it's common sense.

anonymous said...

And comments by dimwits

Douglas said...

Nanotech or Starting Strength = Glenn

Anonymous said...

Any rock music posts are probably Ed Driscoll's.

Mr. Enns said...

Glenn still has the wittiest taglines.

Skyler said...

I can always spot a Driscoll post because it always refers to a TV show, movie, or musician that usually has nothing to do with anything.

Gail Heriot is easy because (at least until recently) she always includes a bit about how her very important job gives her very important access to very boring details of whatever boring, but probably very important political apppointment she has.

Steve Green can sometimes get confused with Glenn. It's a good thing.

Glenn's posts are very subtle most times and that's how you spot his. Just today or yesterday, though, he had a Sarah Hoyt level post that made me very proud of him.

charlesglasser said...

I resemble that remark! LOL

saul rosenberg said...

The game is complicated by the fact that a number of non-Glenn posters have adopted some of his taglines. I can usually catch Glenn, Ed Driscoll, Mark Tapscott; Sarah Hoyt is easy, her first post up any day usually has a lurid sci-fi cover of some kind, and she's generally rolling her eyes so thoroughly she probably have vision problems. Gail Heriot is fairly, Helen Smith largely confines herself to Amazon links, or used to until Helen's Page arrived or came back... but I have trouble with Bernstein, Shibley, and Glasser. To be fair, I've only been reading the blog for about 15 years.

Steve Black said...

I'm not sure if Kevin Williamson is Ed Driscoll's catamite or vice versa, but if a post mentions Williamson, 100% it's Ed Driscoll. Also, if the link is to National Review, there's a better than 50% chance it's Driscoll. I sometimes but seldom click through to his posts.

I really enjoy Mark Tapscott's posts and can identify them fairly quickly. He's the only poster who regularly posts Christian apologetics. I'm not a Christian myself any more, but I'm very grateful for my Christian upbringing and the gift -- no that's not the word -- the founding force Christianity has been for this wonderful Western culture we live in.

Doubting Richard said...

Sykes - dude they all put the part before the link in all caps. As does Mrs Hoyt.

Why are you offended about someone opposing fascism? The Chinese government is literally fascist. I do not mean in the sense his opponents called Trump fascist, as he was the opposite in most senses, or the targets of Antifa*. I mean they literally follow the economic philosophy of Italian fascists, a development of socialism (as in China) that replaced state ownership with repressive regulation to control business. It also has the same character (racial supremacist, expansionist, militarist) and engages in the same evils (genocide, corruption of international order and organisations) and has the same result of corrupt intertwining of government and business to the detriment of the people (remind you of US bureaucracy aligned with one US party, one that enslaved then humiliated an entire race and rhymes with "hemocratic hearty"?).

So why are you offended that people vehemently oppose the fascists? Who do you call it bigotry to oppose bigots?

Is it perchance because Democrats openly indicate they want to enact China's fascist system of government and you support them? I am being literal. Mainstream reporters have praised China's system, and you will know if you read Instapundit they are just Democratic Party operatives with by lines. Democratic Party politicians have praised China, and their POTUS is in secret business with China.

*Fascists: revolutionary, authoritarian and collectivist
Antifa: revolutionary, authoritarian and collectivist
Targets of Antifa: conservatives (opposite of revolutionary), libertarians (opposite of authoritarian) and individualists (opposite of collectivists).

Doubting Richard said...


What is your problem with Gail Heriot? Her comments are about things that affect people's lives. You might not be interested, but so what?

I can think of a few explanations, none reflect well on you.

First (and I think most likely) is that you have no concept of anyone else having different thoughts to your own. That is common on the left, which is why they so often ascribe political differences to evil and almost all fail the ideological Turing test, but is seen in all shades of opinion.

Maybe it is jealousy, you think you would be better in the job. She often dissents from the committees findings, and her posts are then references to that dissent; I cannot find serious flaws in her reasoning, but maybe you think she should just go along with the crowd. Or maybe you hate the idea of a woman who is not feminist, because it is really empowered to be told what opinion she should have.

Unless it really is the reason you give, which amounts to that her posts which are about critically important matters are of no interest to you so people should not be presented with them on a site you clearly think you should run.

JoshC said...

I have played this for a while, unknowingly I have competition. [Narrows eyes]

That being said, Mark Tapscott is one I nail almost every time.

Bob said...

As the length of a post increases, the likelihood that it is Driscoll approaches certainty.

Anonymous said...

The game is easier if you go up from the bottom than down from the top. If you hit a post that redundantly links to a story that's already been covered, it's probably Ed Driscoll. He contributes to Instapundit, but he doesn't read it.

Anonymous said...

If the post is from someone who is trying to convince you that that the divinity of Jesus is an established historical fact, it's Mark Tapscott.