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Name Dominoes
In competition, you can only play a name if you know who the person is. No fair saying "Frank ... Johnson. That sounds like a real person! Let me just Google him real quick."
Title text: In competition, you can only play a name if you know who the person is. No fair saying "Frank ... Johnson. That sounds like a real person! Let me just Google him real quick."
  • A large version of the comic picture can be found here.
  • A numbered version can be found here.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by Fats Domino: Table links should be checked and explanation and connections added. (Add a full transcript... "Done!" And good luck with that! "Thanks".) Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Dominoes is a family of boardgames played with rectangular "domino" tiles. A domino tile is divided into two squares, each displaying a number. Under most rules, a domino tile is placed on the table adjacent to another tile, and the adjacent ends must match in some way (usually by the number displayed on the touching ends). Randall's "name dominoes" shows a set of domino tiles with people's names instead of numbers, and adjacent tiles are matched by whether the closest name is the same (such as how Chris Evans' family name matches Evan Taylor Jones' given name).

The title text spells out a rule that a player may only place a tile if they know who that person is. This is a variation of a rule in Scrabble, where a player loses a turn if their chosen word don't survive a dictionary challenge over the validity of the word. This rule implies that players are allowed to create new name dominoes tiles and that it is not a fixed set. In this case the player that is challenged has used the name Frank Johnson of which there are 12 exact matches on Wikipedia along with six with a middle name and more. In a google search as of the day the comic came out the first hit was Frank Johnson who is a retired American professional basketball player and coach. Randall has made several references to basketball in his comics.

A large board is covered in rectangular "dominoes" (270), with each domino bearing the name of a "well-known" person or character (fictional). The dominoes are arranged as if a game of dominoes were being played, but instead of the game requiring the number of spots of adjacent dominoes to match up, this game requires adjacent names to match up. Because most people have two or more names, different matches are made at each end of a domino. Fun fact is that two of the people are "named after" the game: Fats Domino and Domino Harvey.

The match can be exact (e.g., "Kevin" on one domino adjacent to "Kevin" on another), homonymic (e.g., "Klein" adjacent to "Kline"), or nickname-based (e.g., "James" adjacent to "Jimmy", which in turn is adjacent to "Jim"). Sometimes last names are matched up with first names (e.g., "Elizabeth Warren" adjacent to "Warren Beatty"), and in some cases only a single name is used (e.g., "Columbo", "Drake", "Garfield", "Prince"). Singular names are represented by a half-size square "domino" (or "monomino"), with a few exceptions: "Garnet" has a full-size tile (a complex reference explained below), and "Batman" and "Superman" have full-size tiles and are placed as though they were two-part names: the first square of "Superman" is matched with "Super", and the second square is matched with the second square of "Batman" (as though both characters had the last name "Man"). Some people have three or more names (e.g., "Frank Lloyd Wright") and have a 3-square domino tile (or "straight tromino", 50% longer than normal) which permits matching to a middle name (e.g. "Frank Lloyd Wright" is matched to "Lloyd Alexander" and "Harold Lloyd").

The names come from a wide variety of fields: scientists (e.g., Isaac Newton), historical figures (George Washington), musicians (Drake), politicians (John Kerry), actors (Kevin Costner), writers (Washington Irving), fashion designers (Oscar de la Renta), and so on. Most of the names are real people but a few are fictional characters, including some non-human characters like Garfield and Super Grover. In one case the nick name for a company is used: Ma Bell aka Bell System.

One notable reference beyond just the use of a name is in the bottom left, there is the connection [ William Safire ][ Garnet ][ Ruby, Jack ]. The connection seems to be based on the fact that Sapphire, Garnet and Ruby are all gemstones, which does not match the implied rules of the game. This tile is a reference to the character Garnet in the cartoon Steven Universe, who is a "fusion" formed by two Gems: Ruby and Sapphire. Thus, the name "Garnet" is treated as though it was two names "Ruby" and "Sapphire", requiring a two-square tile despite having a one-word name. Randall has previously made references to this universe in 1608: Hoverboard. (See this and this image from that comic).

Additionally, Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have been mentioned before, in the title text of 1277: Ayn Random. That idea may have been the prototype for this.

In at least one case it is not entirely clear who is being referred to: "John Kelly" most likely refers to Gen. John F. Kelly, Donald Trump's chief of staff, but the name is extremely common and could equally refer to any number of people.

Table of names

Domino Notability and notes Connections Mode #
Christian Campbell 1
Neve Campbell American actress, known for starring in the movie series Scream. 2
Joe McCarthy 3
Eugene McCarthy 4
Gene Vincent 5
Gene Kelly 6
Kate Hudson Golden globe winning american actress. 7
Rock Hudson 8
Gordon Brown Former British Prime Minister 9
James Brown 10
Jon Brown 11
John Howard Australian politician. Served as 25th Prime Minister of Australia from 1996-2007. 12
Columbo Fictional character. Homicide detective from American TV show "Columbo"; portrayed by actor Peter Falk. 13
Chris Columbus Film director and screenwriter. Columbo
Christopher Columbus
Chris Hughes
Last-Only (approximate)
First-First (approximate) and Last-Last
Christopher Columbus Italian explorer. Credited with "discovering" the Americas in 1492 by leading voyages and establishing continued ties between Europe and the Americas. 15
Naomi Campbell British model and actress. 16
Joseph Campbell American author. Most known for his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces about the hero type found throughout world mythologies. 17
Joseph Smith American religious leader; founder of Mormonism. Publisher of The Book of Mormon. 18
Frank Vincent American actor. 19
John Kelly White House Chief of Staff under President Donald Trump. Retired US Marine Corps general. 20
Katherine Johnson African-American mathematician at NASA. Calculated trajectories, launch windows, and flight paths for NASA moon missions and the Space Shuttle. 21
The Rock Nickname for Dwayne Johnson, a pro wrestler and actor. 22
Chris Rock American comedian. 23
Chris Isaac 24
James Newton Howard 25
John Wayne 26
Howard Stern Radio talk show host. Known for The Howard Stern Show. 27
Howard Hunt 28
Chris Hughes 29
Naomi Watts 30
Naomi Klein 31
Kevin Kline 32
Francis Bacon 16th century English philosopher. Commonly credited with the phrase "knowledge is power". 33
Francis Drake 34
Lyndon Johnson 35
Oscar the Grouch A muppet from the children's TV show Sesame Street. 36
Oscar Isaac 37
Isaac Hayes 38
Isaac Newton Well-known 1600s physicist who created the three laws of motion. 39
Wayne Newton 40
Wayne Knight 41
Helen Hunt 42
Helen Hughes 43
James Watt (Steam) 44
James Watt (Interior) 45
Kevin Costner Academy award winning American actor. 46
Kevin Bacon American actor. Known for Footloose, and for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. 47
Kevin Love 48
Lisa Frank 49
Frank Drake 50
Drake Grammy award winning Canadian rapper. 51
Oscar de la Renta 52
Oscar de la Hoya 53
Sean Hayes 54
Wallace Shawn 55
Wayne Howard 56
Wayne Brady American comedian, known for Whose Line Is It Anyway? 57
James Brady 58
Tom Brady Quarterback for the New England Patriots. Notable for winning 5 Superbowls. 59
Helen Thomas 60
Tom Hanks Academy award winning actor. Known for Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, and several other famous films. 61
Hank Aaron 62
Aaron Carter American singer. 63
Stephen James 64
Will Smith American actor. Known for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 65
Kevin Smith 66
Kevin James 67
Garfield A fictional cat and the star of the eponymous Garfield comic by Jim Davis. Previously appeared in 78: Garfield. 68
James Garfield 20th President of the United States. Notably, he was assassinated after only 6 months. 69
Warren Buffett Billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. 70
Jimmy Buffett American country musician. 71
Warren Beatty 72
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts state Senator since 2013. Known for her work as a consumer rights activist. 73
Earl Warren 74
Elizabeth Kolbert 75
Stephen Colbert American talk show host. Known for The Colbert Report and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert 76
George Wallace 77
Charles Wallace 78
James Monroe 79
Marilyn Monroe American actress and pin up model from the 50s. She was immensely famous during her time, and unexpectedly committed suicide at age 36. 80
Hank Williams 81
William C. Williams 82
Steve Harvey Host of Family Feud. 83
Domino Harvey 84
Harvey Milk American politician and gay rights activist. 85
James Saint James 86
Etta James (1) Used again in 266 87
Jim Jones 88
James Earl Jones American actor. Voiced Darth Vader in the original Star Wars. 89
Charlie Parker 90
Ray Parker Jr. 91
Ray Charles American blues musician. Blind from the age of 7. 92
Charles Manson Cult leader of the Manson Family. Convicted of 7 murders. 93
Marilyn Manson American musician. Known for esoteric performances. 94
Robin Williams American stand up comedian. Voiced the Genie in Aladdin. 95
Billy D. Williams American actor best known for playing Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. 96
Will Wright 97
Fats Domino 98
Bill Clinton 42nd president of the United States. Known for having an affair in office. His wife, Hillary Clinton, ran for against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. 99
Jimmy John 100
Tom Jones 101
Tommy John 102
Quincy Jones 103
James Earl Ray 104
Man Ray 105
Rachel Ray Celebrity chef. 106
Ray Allen 107
Tim Allen American actor. Voiced Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. 108
Tim Cook 109
Tim Howard 110
Robin Wright 111
Wilbur Wright 112
Fatty Arbuckle 113
Fat Joe 114
George Clinton 115
John Kerry Secretary of State under Barrack Obama. Ran against George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. 116
Kerry Washington 117
John Irving 118
John Quincy Adams 119
John Adams 120
Amy Adams 121
Aimee Mann 122
Superman Superhero owned by DC comics. 123
Batman Superhero owned by DC comics. 124
Ayn Rand Russian political author, known for Atlas Shrugged. XKCD frequently makes fun of Rand's philosophy. 125
Lily Allen 126
Paul Allen 127
Ron Howard 128
Howard Hughes 129
Joe Kennedy Father of John F. Kennedy. 130
George Bush George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush (father and son, respectively), were both presidents of the United States. 131
George Wasington First president of the United States, and general during the Revolutionary War. 132
Wasington Irving 133
Martha Wasington Wife of George Washington. 134
Ma Rainey 135
Jack Ma 136
Super Grover 137
Jack Black 138
Rand Paul Republican senator from Kentucky; member of the Tea Party movement. Ran in the 2016 republican presidential primary. 139
Paul Ryan Republican representative from Wisconsin. Served as Speaker of the House at the time this comic was published. 140
Paul Simon 141
Ron Paul Libertarian politician. Known for running for president in many elections. 142
John Hughes 143
Langston Hughes 144
John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States. Known for his public assassination during a parade; subject to many conspiracy theories. 145
Little Richard 146
Rich Little 147
Martha Stewart American TV personality. Convicted of insider trading in 2004. 148
Yo Yo Ma Chinese cellist. Known for winning 18 Grammys; considered a child prodigy. 149
Ma Bell Aka Bell System, the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company and later by AT&T, which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984. 150
Grover Cleveland Alexander 151
Grover Cleveland 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Notably the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (which is no longer possible). 152
Jack White American musician. Part of The White Stripes. 153
Jack Ryan 154
Debby Ryan 155
Carly Simon 156
Carly Hughes 157
Charles Evans Hughes 158
John Williams American composer. Known for many famous movie soundtracks, including Star Wars and Harry Potter. 159
Little John 160
Stuart Little Fictional character. 161
Potter Stewart 162
Kristen Stewart American actress. Known for Twilight. 163
Kristen Bell American actress, known for various romantic comedies. 164
Kristen Hooks 165
Alexander Graham Bell Scottish inventor, credited with inventing the telephone. 166
Franklin Graham 167
Lloyd Alexander 168
Meg White 169
Meg ryan 170
Debbie Reynolds 171
John Reynolds 172
Carly Fiorina 173
Grace Lee Boggs 174
Wade Boggs American baseball player. Played with the Boston Red Sox. 175
William Safire 176
Prince William Member of the British Royal Family. Second in line for succession to the throne. 177
Little Prince One of the main characters of The Little Prince, a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince has previously appeared in 618: Asteroid, as well as article 68 of what if?. 178
Harry Potter 179
James Potter 180
James Hook 181
James Dean 182
Aretha Franklin 183
Frank Lloyd Wright American architect, known for his unconventional buildings. 184
Barry White 185
Walter White Main character from the TV show Breaking Bad. 186
Walt Whitman American poet. A bridge in Philadelphia was named after him. 187
John Kelly 188
Grace Lee 189
Nancy Grace 190
Garnet A garnet is a gem stone and the two names around here are William Safire (almost Sapphire) and Jack Ruby as in Ruby. But it is not just used because they are all gemstones. It is instead a reference to the character Garnet in the cartoon Steven Universe. She is a "fusion" formed by two gems: Ruby and Sapphire, hence the legal connection in the Name Dominoes... Randall has previously made references to this universe in 1608: Hoverboard. (See this and this image from that comic). William Safire
Jack Ruby
Last-Only (as a Sapphire gem stone)
Last-Only (as a Ruby gem stone)
Both used to fuse together to Garnet.
Prince American musician, part of the Rock and Roll hall of fame. He died two years prior to the release of this comic. 192
Prince Felder 193
Prince Harry Member of the British royal family. Fifth in line for succession to the throne. 194
Harry Styles 195
John Dean 196
Benjamin Franklin One of the founding fathers of the United States. Credited with discovering electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm. 197
Harrold Lloyd 198
Harrold Ford 199
Betty White American comedian. Known as the only surviving member of the The Golden Girls. 200
Meg Whitman 201
Christine Todd Whitman 202
Megyn Kelly American TV news anchor. Worked for Fox news until 2017, then switched to NBC. 203
Grace Kelly 204
Grace Jones 205
Jack Nicholson 206
Jack Ruby Jack Ruby is known for shooting and killing Lee Harvey Oswald on national television. Oswald was the prime suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Ruby's involvement is the subject of many conspiracy theories. 207
Jack Russel 208
Harry Fielder 209
Harry Truman 33rd president of the United States. Known for authorizing the use of atomic weapons against Japan at the end of World War 2. 210
Harry Jon Benjamin 211
John Edward 212
Benjamin Harrison 213
Harrison Ford American actor. Known for playing Han Solo in Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. 214
Henry Ford Founder of the Ford Motor Company. Credited with inventing the assembly line. 215
Betty Ford Wife of Gerald Ford, 38th president of the United States. 216
Betty Friedan 217
Chris Christie 218
Chris Pratt American actor. Known for Parks and Recreation 219
Maggie Grace 220
Grace Hopper American computer scientist. Helped develop the COBOL programming language. 221
Russel Crowe 222
Russ Smith 223
John Smith John Smith is the most common name in the United States. See Wikipedia for a list of people this may refer to. 224
Justin Long 225
John Bel Edwards 226
John Candy Canadian comedian and actor. Known for Spaceballs. 227
John Henry 228
Henry James 229
Bill James 230
Chirs Cooper 231
Chirs Hemsworth 232
Chirs Evans 233
Topher Grace 234
Van Morrison 235
Sheryl Crow 236
Sheryl Sandberg 237
Cameron Crow 238
Long John Silver Fictional antagonist from Treasure Island. 239
Olivia Newton John 240
Huey long 241
John Edwards 242
Candy Crowley 243
Alestier Crowley 244
James Fenimore Cooper 245
James Cook 18th century British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Alistair Cooke
Cokie Roberts
Alistair Cookie
James Fenimore Cooper
Last-Last (approximate)
Last-First (approximate)
Last-Last (approximate)
Robert Frost 247
Bob Evans 248
Evan Tayler Jones 249
James Cameron American director. Known for Terminator and Titanic. 250
Cam Newton 251
Cameron Diaz American actress. Voiced Fiona in Shrek. 252
Huey Newton 253
Huey Lewis 254
John Lewis 255
Jenny Lewis 256
Ryan Lewis 257
Burt Reynolds American actor. Known for a wide variety of western and/or action films. 258
Alistair Cooke Name misspelled Alistiar Cooke in the comic. 259
Alistair Cookie A parody of Alistair Cooke "played" by Cookie Monster in the Sesame Street sketch "Monsterpiece Theatre" in the 1980s, a parody of the PBS series "Masterpiece Theatre". James Cook
Alastair Reynolds
Last-Last (approximate)
First-First (approximate)
Cokie Roberts 261
John Roberts 262
Robert Johnson 263
Robert E. Lee Confederate general during the American Civil War. 264
Tommy Lee 265
Tommy Lee Jones 266
Etta James (2) Used first time in 86 267
John Oliver American talk show host. Known for Last Week Tonight. 268
Ryan Reynolds Canadian actor. Known for several romantic comedies, and Deadpool. 269
Alastair Reynolds 270


[This comic a large grid with 270 black "domino" tiles. On each tile there is a name written with white text. The grid is arranged so that each touching side corresponds with the first or last name of another person (or at least there are some kind of relation between the names on the end of connecting tiles). Some of the domino tiles are rotated 90, 180 or 270 degrees so the text is either to be read down, up-side down or up. The names on the tiles are listed here below in approximate reading order, thus staring top left and moving over the grid from left to right and down. Each swipe left to right covers approximately tiles that are within a span of one standard tile in height. To be exact it lists the names in the order they were numbered in this image. One name is used twice, Etta James.]
Christian Campbell
Neve Campbell
Joe McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Gene Vincent
Gene Kelly
Kate Hudson
Rock Hudson
Gordon Brown
James Brown
Jon Brown
John Howard
Chris Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Naomi Campbell
Joseph Campbell
Joseph Smith
Frank Vincent
John Kelly
Katherine Johnson
The Rock
Chris Rock
Chris Isaac
James Newton Howard
John Wayne
Howard Stern
Howard Hunt
Chris Hughes
Naomi Watts
Naomi Klein
Kevin Kline
Francis Bacon
Francis Drake
Lyndon Johnson
Oscar the Grouch
Oscar Isaac
Isaac Hayes
Isaac Newton
Wayne Newton
Wayne Knight
Helen Hunt
Helen Hughes
James Watt (Steam)
James Watt (Interior)
Kevin Costner
Kevin Bacon
Kevin Love
Lisa Frank
Frank Drake
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Hoya
Sean Hayes
Wallace Shawn
Wayne Howard
Wayne Brady
James Brady
Tom Brady
Helen Thomas
Tom Hanks
Hank Aaron
Aaron Carter
Stephen James
Will Smith
Kevin Smith
Kein James
James Garfield
Warren Buffett
Jimmy Buffett
Warren Beatty
Elizabeth Warren
Earl Warren
Eliabeth Kolbert
Stephen Colbert
George Wallace
Charles Wallace
James Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Hank Williams
William C. Williams
Steve Harvey
Domino Harvey
Harvey Milk
James Saint James
Etta James
Jim Jones
James Earl Jones
Charlie Parker
Ray Parker Jr.
Ray Charles
Charles Manson
Marilyn Manson
Robin Williams
Billy D. Williams
Will Wright
Fats Domino
Bill Clinton
Jimmy John
Tom Jones
Tommy John
Quincy Jones
James Earl Ray
Man Ray
Rachel Ray
Ray Allen
Tim Allen
Tim Cook
Tim Howard
Robin Wright
Wilbur Wright
Fatty Arbuckle
Fat Joe
George Clinton
John Kerry
Kerry Washington
John Irving
John Quincy Adams
John Adams
Amy Adams
Aimee Mann
Ayn Rand
Lily Allen
Paul Allen
Ron Howard
Howard Hughes
Joe Kennedy
George Bush
George Wasington
Wasington Irving
Martha Wasington
Ma Rainey
Jack Ma
Super Grover
Jack Black
Rand Paul
Paul Ryan
Paul Simon
Ron Paul
John Hughes
Langston Hughes
John F. Kennedy
Little Richard
Rich Little
Martha Stewart
Yo Yo Ma
Ma Bell
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Grover Cleveland
Jack White
Jack Ryan
Debby Ryan
Carly Simon
Carly Hughes
Charles Evans Hughes
John Williams
Little John
Stuart Little
Potter Stewart
Kristen Stewart
Kristen Bell
Kristen Hooks
Alexander Graham Bell
Franklin Graham
Lloyd Alexander
Meg White
Meg ryan
Debbie Reynolds
John Reynolds
Carly Fiorina
Grace Lee Boggs
Wade Boggs
William Safire
Prince William
Little Prince
Harry Potter
James Potter
James Hook
James Dean
Aretha Franklin
Frank Lloyd Wright
Barry White
Walter White
Walt Whitman
John Kelly
Grace Lee
Nancy Grace
Prince Felder
Prince Harry
Harry Styles
John Dean
Benjamin Franklin
Harrold Lloyd
Harrold Ford
Betty White
Meg Whitman
Christine Todd Whitman
Megyn Kelly
Grace Kelly
Grace Jones
Jack Nicholson
Jack Ruby
Jack Russel
Harry Fielder
Harry Trueman
Harry Jon Benjamin
John Edward
Benjamin Harrison
Harrison Ford
Henry Ford
Betty Ford
Betty Friedan
Chris Christie
Chris Pratt
Maggie Grace
Grace Hopper
Russel Crowe
Russ Smith
John Smith
Justin Long
John Bel Edwards
John Candy
John Henry
Henry James
Bill James
Chirs Cooper
Chirs Hemsworth
Chirs Evans
Topher Grace
Van Morrison
Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Sandberg
Cameron Crow
Long John Silver
Olivia Newton John
Huey long
John Edwards
Candy Crowley
Alestier Crowley
James Fenimore Cooper
James Cook
Robert Frost
Bob Evans
Evan Tayler Jones
James Cameron
Cam Newton
Cameron Diaz
Huey Newton
Huey Lewis
John Lewis
Jenny Lewis
Ryan Lewis
Burt Reynolds
Alistiar Cooke
Alistair Cookie
Cokie Roberts
John Roberts
Robert Johnson
Robert E. Lee
Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee Jones
Etta James
John Oliver
Ryan Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds

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