blankie-lie-low exclam, n Also black-a-li-lo, blanchie ly lo, blanchy-lie-low, blank-a-lilo chiefly Nth old-fash Cf black sheep n 1; go-sheep-go n; holler, holler, dogs you foller n; lay low sheepie n
A call used in a children’s chasing or hiding game usu played at night; the game itself; see quots.
1883 NY Times (NY) 30 Dec 5/1, There was another game we used to play. . . We called it ‘blank a lilo.’ . . It’s a sort of hare and hounds in the dark, with a call for a trail instead of bits of paper. A man is selected—a good runner—for the ‘blank a lilo,’ and he is given a little start. Then the rest of the players start after him, guided in the chase by his cry of ‘Blank a lilo,’ which he is obliged to utter every time he turns a corner or starts in a new direction. . . The boys play it there now, I’m told, as we played it years before them. 1901 DN 2.136 NY, Black-a-li-lo. . . “In this game the one who is it must find the others by calling out ‘holler or I won’t foller,’ which they must answer by ‘black-a-li-lo.’ Through the dark and tangled garden the timid hunter must follow that fleeting cry.” Marion, Wayne Co., N. Y. In Steuben Co., N. Y., the first cry is “hoop hoop holler or I shan’t foller.” 1908 Daily Reflector (Norwalk OH) 19 Oct /3 (newspaperarchive.com), On this “square” we used to play all kinds of games; among them was blank-a-lilo. Why, I have started out from there and gone out as far as your present Woodlawn cemetery, and a like distance in most all directions. This game was always played at night. 1950 WELS (Games in which one captain hides his team and the other team tries to find it) 1 Inf, cWI, [ˈblæŋk o ˌlɑɪlo]. [Inf old] 1953 Brewster Amer. Nonsinging Games 50 VT, Blankie Lie Low. . . This game is similar to Run, Sheep, Run in that one group of players hides from the other. In the former, however, all the players of a group hide, and the warning cry “Blankie lie low!” is uttered not by the leader only but by any member of the hiding group. 1957 Sat. Eve. Post Letters IA (as of c1890), In the fall we played a game we called “Blanchie Ly Lo.” The gang in our north end of town gathered about dark, then selected a tree or carriage block for ‘base’. By a system of elimination, one of us was selected as ‘it’. The rest of us scattered out over the neighborhood. The one of us who was ‘it’ tried to find us. When he identified the one hiding, he ran for ‘base’ and yelled out the name of the one he had found. The found one was then ‘it’. If however the found one beat the base keeper to the base, the base keeper had to keep his job. To draw the base keeper away from base, some kid would call out in a false voice “Blanchie Ly Lo.” The base keeper would try to find the one calling. If he did, there was a race on for base. If the found one lost the race, then he had to be ‘it’. 1966 DARE FW Addit PA, Blankie-lie-low—a hide-and-seek game. [Inf old] 1968–70 DARE (Qu. EE16, Hiding games) Inf PA234, Kids run and hide—call out [ˈblænčəˌlaɪlo], all after dark; WI24, [ˌblæŋkšəˈlɑɪlo]. [Both Infs old] 1972 Lenski Journey 60 cwOH (as of c1905), After we children had come back, breathless and panting from a few lively games of Blanchy-lie-low, we would look up and see a long procession of solemn, silent people.