Rigmarole is a lengthy, complicated and often unnecessary procedure or it can mean a long rambling discourse. Its origin goes back to a medieval game of chance called ‘ragman’ which used a rolled-up scroll called the ‘ragman roll’ which contained a number of character descriptions attached to strings. It was a game very much like today’s game of Consequences. Players would choose strings at random and the chosen characters’ descriptions would then be read out. The result was often amusing but the characters’ descriptions could also be long and rambling. There are two theories about the name ragman. The first is that one of the principal characters in the game was called ‘Ragaman the Good’ and so the game was named after him. The second is that the rolled-up scroll and its strings looked like a ragged roll. By the 16th century, ragman roll, variously spelt ragman-rowle or rigmon-rowle, had come to mean a long rambling discourse. By the 18th century, the spelling finally settled down as rigmarole. Trying to explain all this is a very good example of rigmarole.