|Sample Hangman Puzzles||Published Hangman Puzzles|
The origins of the classic childhood guessing game are obscure, according to The Oxford Guide to Word Games, but it seems to have arisen in the Victorian era. It is first mentioned in Alice Bertha Gomme's Traditional Games in 1894 under the name Birds, Beasts and Fishes in which a player writes down the first and last letters of a word for an animal, and the other player guesses the letters in between.
The word or phrase to guess is selected at random from a previously entered list and is represented by a row of dashes, giving the number of letters. If the player picks a letter which occurs in the word it is shown in all of its correct positions. If the suggested letter does not occur in the word one element of the picture of the gallows and man's body is added. The game is over either when the player completes the word, or when the picture is completed. In this online version the picture allows for eleven incorrect guesses as each part of the gallows and then the man's body (head, torso, each arm, and each leg) are drawn.
A useful starting point for any player is knowing the twelve most frequently occuring letters in the English language: their approximate order is ETAOIN SHRDLU.
Wikipedia: ETAOIN SHRDLU
Augarde, T The Oxford Guide to Word Games, OUP