Rhyming on criss-cross, particularly with a word familiar to children and teachers, possibly with similarity to lap forming a bowl.
Apparently originated in the 1990s US, as an alternative for Indian style.
Compare also traditional children’s rhyming game / massage (rhyme said while touching, tickling, and blowing), which goes:
- Criss, cross. Apple sauce.
- Spiders climbing up your back.
- Spiders here, Spiders there.
- Spiders even in your hair.
- Cool breeze,
- Tight squeeze,
- And now you have the shivers.
Generally used by nursery school and primary school teachers to children, sometimes followed by “spoons in the bowl” to mean “hands in your lap”, strengthening analogy with a bowl of applesauce; alternatively, “spoons in your bowl” or “spoons in your lap”.
Spelling varies, as it is primarily spoken and not written, but “criss-cross applesauce” and “criss cross applesauce” are most common.