MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Where Did “Back To Square One” Come From?

With the economy shut down over the past year, there’s been a lot of talk about going “back to square one”…trying to start back over & return to where we were pre-pandemic. But what does that even mean, “back to square one”? And where did it come from?

Whenever someone involved in a project or event proposes going “back to square one”, they’re basically saying “Let’s just scrap what we’ve done thus far & start over”. It’s not a bad way to express the idea of giving up & making a fresh start. But what is “square one”?

Before we entered the electronic era of devices & apps, people used to regularly play these magical things called board games. And there were lots of them…some you’ve clearly heard of, or even played (Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, etc.), but tons more that never really caught on with the masses. (Ever heard of “Pit”? Man, I loved Pit!)

Anyway, back in the popular board game days, many (if not most) involved moving tokens after rolling dice or drawing cards. Well, at the beginning of each game, every token was placed at the same starting point, which was called “square one” of the board. So, suggesting a return “back to square one” meant scrapping the current game & starting a new one.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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