"Are we so obsessed with 2002 being a palindromic year," asks Susan Thorpe, "the last to which any of us will bear witness, that we are in danger of overlooking other logologically-significant dates? Bear in mind that the UK records the date as day/month/year whilst the US records it as month/day/year. Even so, both sides of the Atlantic enjoyed the 2nd of February 2002 when it was written as 02.02.02, a triple numerical tautonym. From thereon, the UK virtually has a monopoly on interesting dates. The 20th of February 2002 we can write as 20.02.2002 which is both a numerical palindrome and a numerical tautonym. The 2nd of November 2112, the 23rd of March 2332, the 24th of April 2442, the 25th of May 2552, the 26th of June 2662, the 27th of July 2772, the 28th of August 2882, and the 29th of September 2992, respectively 2.11.2112, 23.3.2332, 24.4.2442, 25.5.2552, 26.6.2662, 27.7.2772, 28.8.2882 and 29.9.2992, are all numerical palindromes. The year 2222 is special. On the 2nd of February 2222, both the UK and the US celebrate the numerical palindrome/numerical tautonym 2.2.2222. On the 22nd of February, the UK celebrates 22.2.2222, whilst the US celebrates 2.22.2222. Then we don't meet again until the 3rd of March 3003 when the whole rigmarole starts over again!"
Academy Award Winners 2002
The first category is Greatest Contribution to Unsimplifying the Spelling of a Word. May I have the envelope, please? And the Ozcar goes to Ben Stiller for his incredible orthographic performance in the 2001 comedy Zoolander. He portrayed an airhead male model named Derek Zoolander who was brainwashed into attempting to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia. At one point, Zoolander spelled aloud the word DAY in his own creative way. In traditional spelling, DAY would satisfy most English-speaking people with its economic use of D, A, and Y. Zoolander broke with dictionary tradition, however, and respelled the word as DAIYE. So simple, and yet so complex. So medieval, and yet so contemporary. So right, and yet so wrong.
The second category is Biggest Historical revision by a Television News Reporter. May I have the postcard, please? And the Ozcar goes to Ted Koppel for revealing that the incident that started World War I was the sinking of the Titanic. Koppel's achievement is even more admirable in light of the fact that the movie Titanic had appeared a few weeks earlier and included an ocean, a big unsinkable ship, a whole bunch of people, and a huge iceberg. The only thing missing was a German warship. For rewriting iceberg history, sunken ship history, and World War I history in one fell swoop, Koppel will receive, in addition to his Ozcar, a handsome Franklin Mint sterling silver Titanic-in-a-Bottle.
The third category is Most Wonderfullest Bestest Magazine Ever Named After Me. May I have the candygram, please? It's a tie! The Ozcar in this category is shared by two people whose names are household words, like "Oprah" and "Rosie." In fact, those two people with the savvy publishing knowledge of a Ben Franklin or a Richard Addison, those two who are beloved for their wit, their charm, and especially their money, those two are Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell. The most wonderfullest bestest magazines that they (or their staff) named after themselves are O and Rosie. They can be picked up at the checkout line of your local supermarket or left there next to The Str or The National Enquirer where they belong.
Hey, Mr. Taliban ...
Until recently, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist, as the world knows by now. My son, in doing a report on the situation in Afghanistan, found that Taliban means "Seekers of Knowledge," which is undoubtedly one of the great misnomers of the 21st century. The musical group Capitol Steps has produced a parody based on Harry Bellafonte's classic song that begins "Hey, Mr. Tallyman, tally me bananas. Daylight come, and me wanna go home." The Capitol Steps song begins "Hey, Mr. Taliban, hand over bin Laden. Daylight come, but not in a cell."
... Bin Laden
Bin Laden, whom Oliver North called "the most evil man he knew of," has two spellings for his first name, Osama and Usama. Martin Gardner pointed out the irony of the name Usama, which begins with the name of the country he hates, USA, and ends with the word for the person he loves (?), Ma. Using the other spelling, here is a charade that I came up with on September 11:
OSAMA BIN LADEN WITH BOMBS O, SAM! A BIN, LADEN WITH BOMBS!
Rich Lederer notes that "in San Diego we have a prominent palindromic author whose name is An Na. She's Korean, and back in her native land she's known as Na An, also a palindrome. She writes children's literature."
Kofi, Tea, Or ...
Chris Edgar writes that "UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan's wife is Nan--Kofi `n' Nan. This must be pretty rare, no?"
Ambidextrous and Antidextrous Words
Rex Gooch writes "In [the November 2001] Kickshaws, an ambidextrous word is defined as one whose first half contains only letters from the first half of the alphabet, and whose second half contains letters from the second half of the alphabet. An antidextrous word is defined the other way round. In the following, words of even length only are considered, to avoid the problem of the central letter in words with an odd number of letters. In the case of ambidextrous words, it is difficult to find anything better than AMBIDEXTROUS, except for phrases. For antidextrous words, PUZZLEHEADED (which I could not myself find) is easily equaled and just surpassable. Heterograms (all letters different) are marked with an asterisk. The source of all words is the OED, except where noted otherwise. Ch = Chambers."
Ambidextrous length 12 * AMBIDEXTROUS BLACK-APRONRY BLACK BOURTON (Oxfordshire) BLACK COUNTRY (Ch) BLADDER-SNOUT BLADDERWORTS (bladder, 1951q) CALABAR POTTO (Calabar potto) CHALK-COUNTRY CHAMBER-STORY (OED chamber) CHICKEN ROOST (Web2) FIELD-HONOURS (field 1737q) * GLACIERSNOUT (glacier 1933q) HALLIBURTON'S (family name, see spin 1862q, could be plural) IMMELANN TURN (Bloomsbury misprint?) LIE HEAVY UPON (Ch) LIGAMENTOSUS (Stedman) MALEFESOURYS (malfeasor 14..q) Ambidextrous length 14 ALFALFA SPROUTS (OED) IMMELMANN TURNS (Immelmann) Antidextrous length 12 OUT-PRODIGIED (out- 1844q) POSTTRACHEAL (Web2) PRONUNCIABLE PROTONIC ACID (Bloomsbury) PSOROTHALMIA (scurviness 1548q) QUOYNTELICHE (point 1290q) ROOT-SYLLABLE (Ch move) SUNNYSIDE EGG SYNONYMICALL (synonymical 1645q) TO TOP THE BILL TO TOP THE DECK TO WROTHE HELE (wroth) TURNPYKEHEID (turnpike 1623q) UNPONTIFICAL (Web2) * UNPROVIDABLE (Web2) UNSUPPLIABLE UNTO SO MICKLE UNTROUBLABLE (Web2) UNWURTHLICHE (unworthly 1220q) Antidextrous length 14 SWOOPSTAKE-LIKE (swoop Ch) TO STOP THE CABLE UNOUTSPEAKABLE VNOUTSPEAKABLE (unoutspeakable 1564q)
The Fight For Keyboard Space
Regarding the Letter 27 question, Rex, sends a thorough commentary on the overwhelming complexity of the alphabet: "The blank, of course, is the word separator, so must exist if you wnt to write words, but cannot appear in word (which would be made into two words). You can see by looking at Web addresses that some other characters, such as underscore, have been elected honorary members of the alphabet. The 3 to which you refer is the yogh, a kind of gh; there are also the thorn, edh, wyn, etc. In modern English, we do have more than 26 glyphs, for example the i in naive, and as you said, the apostrophe is an essential part of English, as are quotation marks (at least five of those), and the hyphen, not to mention the digits. I suppose there must be another hundred glyphs in use in countries which use the Roman alphabet, for example the s cedilla, or the undotted i (both Turkish). Other glyphs on the keyboard are hard to do without, for example, currency symbols. They were the winners in the continual fights for keyboard space, with only 102 keys available (number of keys depends upon country). I typeset books, so need up to three accents on a single vowel (Ancient Greek). We used to have endless character sets just for countries with Roman alphabets, because by the time you had 26+26+10 plus punctuation, let alone fractions, there were very few left for accented characters and currency out of 64 (6-bit characters). Then we had 256 available glyphs, though 32 were not usable, being for control, not data (e.g., ring bell, carriage return, end of text, etc.). Most people still work with 256, as you get popular languages and currency symbols, and can even fit in the Arabic alphabet. Now (up to 15 years ago) we have multi-byte sets, so can handle 256x256 characters at once, so making proper Chinese possible (we used to use a simplified Japanese, Katakana)."
Musical Instruments and Notes
The natural notes in the twelve-tone system are represented by the letters ABCDEFG. Borgmann called words spelled entirely with natural notes "piano words" because they can be played on a piano. Naturally, they can be played on any musical instrument that uses the diatonic system. Are there any musical instruments that are spelled with only natural notes--that is, are there any instruments that are piano words? It is difficult to find a musical instrument or term having three or more different musical notes. On the other hand, it is also difficult to find one that has no musical note. Here are some words referring to music and musicians that play out in unusual ways. "Musical order" refers to the notes A-G considered as a circular set of letters that go from G back to A. Can you find better examples or come up with other tricks of the musical magician's trade?
VIOLIN the longest instrument name with no musical notes--no wonder it's hard to play in tune
FIDDLESTICK a "violin bow" spelled with four notes CDEF consecutively in the alphabet
XYLOPHONIST the longest musician name with no musical notes (11 letters)
RECORDER three notes CDE in musical order in the word
BAGPIPES three consecutive notes BAG in reverse musical order
DEAF spelled with musical notes only
OCTAVE musical notes CAE in even-numbered positions in the word
DANCE four notes, DACE
DANCING four notes, DACG
BREAK DANCING seven notes, one repeated, lacking only F
TRIANGLE three notes spelling the word AGE
BACH three notes BAC that occur consecutively in the alphabet but not in alphabetic order
ELVIS PRESLEY the same note E three times in the King's name
GEORGE GERSHWIN the same pair of notes GE three times in his name
In the 10th Collegiate Dictionary, the word LIBRARY is defined in such a way that the word and its definition form a haiku (5-7-5 syllabic pattern) that expresses the yin and yang of librarianship:
LIBRARY: any collection of books, or the space containing them
RHENIUM, according to the 10th Collegiate, is "a rare heavy metallic element ..." Its atomic number is 75, and its position in the alphabetized list of chemical elements is 75. Rhenium has the initial letters of four words in its definition: Rare, Heavy, Element, and Metallic. The letters of METALLIC have alphabetic values (A=1 to Z=26) that sum to 75. Dropping the M from rhenium (since metallic begins with M) gives RHENIU, whose alphabetic values also sum to 75. The first and last words in the definition, A and ELEMENT, also have alphabetic values that sum to 75. Rhenium is indeed rare in letter consistency and heavy with numeric equivalency.
Weekday is the period of five consecutive workdays or schooldays, and weekend is the period of two days without work or school. Both words are seven letters long, one for each day of the week. But what makes a weekday different from the weekend? The answer is in the initial letters of the names of the days: the five weekdays begin with letters made of straight lines only (MTWTF), but the two days of the weekend begin with letters made of a curved line (S and S).
The Planet With Two Names
The second planet from the sun has two names. When appearing as the morning star, according to the 10th Collegiate, the planet is called LUCIFER, the name of the fallen rebel archangel, the Devil. When appearing as the evening star, it is called VENUS, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The planet is the only one in the solar system that has two names, one male and one female, one good nd one evil, one Christian and one Roman. Both names have bright endings with their middle letters: LUCIFER ends with four letters that anagram to FIRE, and VENUS ends with three letters that reverse to SUN.
The Great Equalizer
The word EQUALITY has six strings of adjacent letters whose alphabetic values add up to numbers having two of the same digit--2,4,6,8. EQ, UA and ALI each sum to 22, EQUA sums to 44, LITY sums to 66, and UALITY sums to 88. The real question is: what logological muse enables a person to find such things?
E Q U A L I T Y EQ 5 17 22 UA 21 1 22 ALI 1 12 9 22 EQUA 5 17 21 1 44 LITY 12 9 20 25 66 UALITY 21 1 12 9 20 25 88
Tall Letters in the Treetops
LIGHTTIGHT, listed in the 10th Collegiate, is defined by giving a synonym, lightproof, which in turn means "impenetrable by light." When written in lowercase, it is spelled entirely with tall letters which extend above or below the line. The only other unhyphenated word of this length is LILLYPILLY, a tree whose name Dmitri Borgmann noted. If its leaves are particularly dense, it could be called a lighttight lillypilly, a phrase with 20 tall letters in a row. Converted to an adverb, lighttightly has a full dozen tall letters, making it the longest unhyphenated tall word. The only other word of this length is the hyphenated numerical adverb fifty-fifthly.
Scrabble Value Transformations
In Scrabble each letter of the alphabet is assigned a point value, and most letters share the same value with one or more other letters. K is the only letter with a unique Scrabble value--why does it stand alone? Here are the letters divided into sets having the same value: AEILNORSTU = 1, DG = 2, BCMP = 3, FHVWY = 4, K = 5, JX = 8, QZ = 10.
A Scrabble value transformation involves taking a number name, adding up the Scrabble values of its letters, taking the number name of the sum, adding up the values of its letters, and so on, until reaching a number already used. All number names converge in Scrabble value to two portals: 12 (TWELVE = 1+4+1+1+4+1 = 12) or the cycle -4-7-8-9- (FOUR = 4+1+1+1 = 7, SEVEN = 1+1+4+1+1 = 8, EIGHT = 1+1+2+4+1 = 9, NINE = 1+1+1+1 = 4). For ONE to TWENTY, three number-names (SEVENTEEN, EIGHTEEN, TWENTY) converge in a single step to TWELVE, and the others converge in a few steps (for example, SIXTEEN = 14, FOURTEEN = 11, ELEVEN = 9) to one of the number-names in the cycle. What percentage of all number names go to each portal? How many steps in the longest possible transformation?
In some cases, two numbers and the Scrabble values of their names add up to the same sums. For instance, ONE and ELEVEN have Scrabble values of 3 and 9, so that l+l I = 12 and 3+9 = 12. Only sixteen number pairs have Scrabble-equivalent sums: (1,11)(1,13)(1,15)(1,16); (2,22)(2,26); (3,9)(3,24); (4,14)(4,23)(4,25); (5,17)(5,24); (6,22)(6,26); (12,12).
How many sets of three numbers work like this? TWELVE plus the first fifteen pairs listed above produce fifteen solutions using three numbers. How many other three-number sets produce Scrabble-equivalent sums? How many n-number sets? The numbers ONE to ELEVEN aren't the sums of any two-number set, and can't be the sums of any higher-number set, either--are there any other numbers that can't be included in a set of any size? Anyone care to investigate Scrabble-equivalent differences, such as EIGHT -- SEVEN, with Scrabble values of 9 and 8, respectively, both equal to 1?
Secrets of the Pyramid
The Egyptian pyramids are marvels of the ages. Some people have read into them mathematical secrets that go beyond the simple shape that conceals such secrets. But the only secrets that are truly true are found in the word PYRAMID. In uppercase, PYRAMID has a pyramid sitting precisely at the center--the top half of the letter A. It is the only letter of the alphabet that has an enclosed triangle, which is a pyramid viewed from the side. The A divides the word PYRAMID into letters from the last half of the alphabet (PYR) and letters from the first half. It also divides them into purely alphabetic letters (PYR) and Roman numeral letters (MID). One letter on either side of the central A has in its design a pyramid still under construction (Y and M). PYRAMID has seven letters, seven diagonal lines, seven vertical lines, and only one horizontal line, which is in the pyramid letter A. The first letter and the last letter, P and D, differ only by the placement of the lower part of the curved line. In lower case, p is d upside down. These are some of the secrets of the word PYRAMID. There are many, many others waiting to be excavated by an intrepid logological archeologist.
From Soften to Extraordinary
SOFTEN is an innocuous word for the most part, but in one sense it is extraordinary! It contains the initial letters of all the positive integers. SOFTEN separates into S OF TEN, meaning "System OF TEN," the decimal system. It also has O, which is ZERO, and N, which is the initial letter of all negative numbers when they are referred to as "negative one, negative two," etc.
EXTRAORDINARY is hardly innocuous, and in one sense it is, like SOFTEN, extraordinary! It contains the final letters of all the number names--positive, negative, and zero--represented by 10 of its 13 letters. Each occurs once except for R, which occurs three times. The letters A, I, and A don't end any number names, but they do break the word into segments having an arithmetic progression of 1,2,3, and 4 letters (extrAordInAry). R appears (or doesn't appear) in a different place in each segment--nowhere, first, middle, and last. Its triple presence means that it ends three words: FOUR, INTEGER, NUMBER.
Matched Terminal Deletion
In this form of wordplay, the first and last letters of the starting word match and, if they are deleted, the remaining letters spell a new word in one or both directions: There are four types: Forward hath to at, Reverse tract to car, Double area to re, er, and Palindromic ma'am to aa. The fourth form requires a palindromic start word, and the other three require non-palindromic starters. Can a full alphabet of matched terminal deletions be found for each type? What are the longest for each letter in the sets?
Forward Reverse Double Palindromic Erode-rod knack-can dared-are,era level-eve Doped-ope tract-car stars-tar,rat madam-Ada Racer-ace sleeps-peel
Extremely Simple Challenge
What is the longest word that has the same number of vowels as consonants? HONORIFICABILITUDINITATIBUS, Shakespeare's giant, would be a great word to hold the honor. It alternates between consonants and vowels (such perfection!) and it has 13 of each, plus a straggler at the end, the concluding letter S, which disqualifies it now and forever. An even longer giant, FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION, is so close at 15 consonants, 14 vowels--so close. However, all words with an odd number of letters are automatically disqualified, which seems unfair, but no one has ever said logology was fair. So let's stick to big, big words with an even number of letters. ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM, a perennial favorite among English-speaking countries everywhere, is way out of whack with 17 consonants and 11 vowels. SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS, the greatest movie star word of all, almost makes it with 18 consonants and 16 vowels--no Oscar there. It seems likely that a word of 16 or more letters has the same number of consonants and vowels. Can you find it? Until then, the world of wordplay is a little less perfect.
Bill Webster, Anagrammatist Extraordinaire
In a recent letter to me, Bill Webster signed one of his works "Bill Webster, Literary License #43810." Not too long after I received that letter, I was shocked to hear that Bill passed away in his sleep on September 24, at the age of 83. A direct descendant of Noah Webster, he was a relative newcomer to Word Ways but not a newcomer to the world of Scrabble. He loved the game because it involved his favorite form of wordplay: "Back to anagramming! What I do best, or at least like doing." He wrote perhaps the first novel based on the game. Titled One Wordy Guy, it is the unique and entertaining story of Gary Gray, a Scrabble player, who hires a traveling secretary to accompany him on his trips to tournaments. However, to avoid possible trademark infringements, Bill referred to Scrabble as "THE Word Game" in his book. While it included puns and other forms of wordplay, the main reason he wrote it was to highlight longer anagrams in the text and the dialog, often with hilarious results, as in the following excerpt:
"Seeing a GABARDINE skirt I liked, I BARGAINED for it with the saleslady," Lisa Miles remarked. "After she APPRAISED it, did you DISAPPEAR with it?" Nora Tufsell queried. "When you attended the January white sale, did you notice the SLIPCASE SPECIALS?" "Yes, and that reminds me of the cat burglar, who was HEISTING NIGHTIES."
Although I never met Bill, I imagine him as a gregarious, friendly person with a twinkle in his eye as word-playful as the twinkle in his writing. "I am always learning something new about words, mainly now thru Word Ways." His letters were full of comments about other wordplay writers. He was delighted that readers read his anagram writings. "Susan Thorpe stated that she easily reads my stories, but so far `Common Ground' has her wondering." He was pleased when the solution to the puzzle was discovered: "At last, Ted Clarke, and others, have the answer to `Common Ground'." He also enjoyed having his stories in Forwords, the Scrabble magazine edited by Jeff Grant, and was impressed by Jeff's mastery of the game. "Jeff plans to be in Vegas for the World Scrabble Championship. Has qualified to go every 2 years they are held ..."
He was prolific in his output. At times I received two or three letters a week from him. He was appreciative of any editorial comments and changes in the work he sent: "Ross did a good job with `Middle Names'. I had listed only 34 each of m & f. You 2 editors have done a lot for me. Thanks!" He signed that letter "Bill (out of space, but not ideas)." I have several of Bill's unpublished wordplay pieces that will appear in future Kickshaws. His work will be a part of this palindromic year. Bill, we'll miss you!
Bill surprised me with the following anagrammatic verse because it was more personal than the other works he'd sent. Not only that, it has an aura of mystery in the meaning of some of its lines; after transposing the words, the result is still enigmatic, a poem open to interpretation, a final puzzle left by Bill. Precisely because of its mysterious lines, it is my favorite of his works. He wrote it in response to getting a copy of The Dictionary of Wordplay. The translation appears in Answers and Solutions; the interpretation appears in your mind.
Rioted Deva ash on ayes kats. Eth handouts settler stored, pursued. On uveal mites, three ewer neon. Het Shingle weer outstands--mango eth bets. Wen latent; het dol procured unnoticed fro resay. Shote how patroness sword--nay from. Serves, mopes. Eth balm Army dah, `writer' myna items. "Ethers ton eon night wen nuder het nus." Ah! Saved "Indicatory--sword paly."
Doublets and Hoes
"Of the various meanings of HOE," writes Ben Pewtery, "the one in this context is the `care, anxiety, trouble' now retained only in dialect. The DOUBLET has Lewis Carroll's meaning. The RAW-SAW-SEW-SEX doublet has some curious properties if one takes the hoe to investigate it. First and foremost, it consists of two 6-letter words, both hinged at their syllable conjunctions, WARSAW and WESSEX. That is, RAW reverses to WAR and adds to SAW to make WARSAW; likewise, SEW reverses to WES and adds to SEX to equal WESSEX." An incredible twist to the word ladder!
The Transposal vs. Anagram Controversy
ANGER, GRANE, and RANGE are three words spelled with the same letters in different arrangements. This brings up the question whether they are transposals or anagrams of each other. Peter Newby writes: "To my way of thinking, ANGER/GRANE/RANGE are all anagrams of each other. Yet, viewed as potential words of the alphome AEGNR, they become transposals only when transferring into or out of this convenient indexing device. Ergo, GRANE is an anagram of ANGER; it is a transposal of AEGNR. It is just as grammatically incorrect, in my opinion, to consider the alphome and one of its transposals as anagrams of each other unless that alphome is a word in its own right, AEGILOPS being the superlative in this context! Forget all that which limits the use of `anagram' to an apt (or ironic) re-arrangement and designating all other coincidences of lettering as `transposals.' How on earth can a coincidence be a `transposal' where no conscious effort pertains? A similar logic governs `anagram.' No word has this designation until such time as one discovers its coincidental partner or else creates a valid re-arrangement. Darryl Francis's creation of DR. AVOID-MICE is a top class anagram [for `David Morice']; neither the doctor nor MAD ERIC OVID are transposals, whereas ACDDEIIMORV most certainly is! You don't have just my word for this. The inventor of `silly names' from real ones--he's even written a book of adventures of `silly folk' all of whom share the letters of his own name--is the lyricist Richard Stilgoe. Richard calls all such re-arrangements anagrams. If you can acquire a copy of the Richard Stilgoe Letters, grab it!
Does Meg Ryan Get Confused in Germany?
"Not withstanding the fact that one can, easily, construct `fun names' out of many geographical locations," Peter Newby writes, "is the above prose poser unique? Doubtless, one could explore the world of telephone directories and electoral rolls to legitimize other constructions. Especially where they use initials or abbreviations for such as junior or senior. However, the challenge is to find other famous names which anagram genuine places. This particular anagram is the work of Anon in a recently Daily Mail puzzle. Over to you and the Kickshavians, Dave." Who can resist a challenge like that?
Ned's Bristol Crisis
As reported in the New Bybwen Semi-times: "A man complained to his doctor that his wife was turning into a pillar of salt. Her boobs, having already displayed excessive salinity, were ceasing to be the focus of his oral foreplay. The physician attempted to console the forlorn man by pointing out the advantages of such a rare condition. `Peace and quiet, Mr. Lot, is your first blessing ...' Ned bridled at this and retorted: "Lot, sir? Bristol!" [Editor's note: "Bristol City" is Cockney rhyming slang for "titty."]
A Seafaring Limerick
Peter Newby sends to following limerick which numerous scholars have attributed to Mad Eric.
There was a seafaring Yank Who objected to a mariner's prank. In a fit of pique, He made the Greek Recite Ovid, then walk the plank!
Jay Ames includes these conclusive conclusions for people who have occupied different occupations:
ANGLE joined the bait ASTRONAUT orbit obit BAKER only bun in this oven BUTCHER gone to meet the meat master BUILDER no more erections COOK this pot boiled over BOXER counted out DEER HUNTER bagged DETECTIVE case closed ELECTRICIAN short circuited, blacked out
A contronym is a word having opposite meanings. Anil has supplied a healthy list of these:
LOOKS GREAT (1) to be attractive, (2) be large, overweight, unattractive
SECOND TO NONE (1) on top, (2) on the bottom, next to nothing
OFF ("sound off" or "went off") (1) absent, left, shut down, (2) loudly present
OUT (e.g., a magazine) (1) in, released, available, (2) sold out, unavailable
RENT & LEASE (verbs) (1) be lessor, (2) be lessee
STAND (1) remain stationary, (2) run ("stand for office")
END (noun) (1) a termination, (2) an ongoing goal
MATCHLESS (1) unbeatable, (2) hasn't beat anyone! (tennis, etc.)
APPEAL (verb, or noun) (1) please, attract, (2) be displeased, challenge (a decision)
THROTTLE (verb vs noun) (I) choke, stop, (2) choke, starter aid, fuel mix enricher
THROUGH (1) past, finished, (2) present, in process, in the midst of or via (through the ages)
VERSUS (1) opposition, (2) sameness but "in other words"
CLIP (verb) (1) clips or cuts, split occurs, (2) clips or unites, or splices unit
SANCTION (1) is "Non act.", (2) in "Act's on" [anagrammatic exposition]
PUT OUT (1) complied with his lewd wishes, (2) kicked him out; annoyed
WAVER (on) (verb vs noun) (1) vacillate over, (2) one who decisively waves approval
Anil writes "a terrific Latin anagram-cum-Spoonerism by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) I discovered in Bertrand Russell's A history of Western Philosophy (1945, Simon & Schuster, p. 758). I quote the whole story."
... he was exceedingly quarrelsome ... On one occasion he was annoyed by an elderly seamstress who was talking to a friend outside the door of his apartment. He threw her downstairs, causing her permanent injury. She obtained a court order compelling him to pay her a certain sum (15 thalers) every quarter for as long as she lived. When at last she died, after twenty years, he noted in his account book Obit anus, abit onus [the old woman dies, the burden departs].
According to Anil, holovocalics are sentences composed of "the vowels, all the vowels, and nothing but the vowels." Here are two examples:
The Rastafarian term "I and I" can be restated as Ea. You = I A "E" I O U? Y? [teacher asking students why they think they deserve an "E" grade]
Anil writes: These two sentences are composed of concatenated double letters, a form that might reward a more through investigation."
I, ill eel, look keen? No, of E. Eek! Keep poor reef, fool! Look!! Keel lee! [Help! You're about to sail into the reef! Swerve to its lee!]
A Fable For Our Time
The following Alphonetic Lecture Story by Anil is entitled "Mystic Green, or The Alphabet Code Revealed":
"A! B! C D E FG H ..." (I "J", `K? L, M N O P Q!) "... RST UV W X? Y Z!"
"Hey! Be! See, the E effigy age ..." (I "J", `K? Hell, I'm in ol' pee queue!) "... `Arresty' UV double your eggs? Wise head!"
Interpretation: "Be here now! Your physical body (energy effigy) is aging fast ..." (I've had a joint and need to pee, OK? Returning from the outhouse feeling the sun's increasing radiance, my lecture waxes even greener) "Are you going to let the ozone hole's ultraviolet radiation speed up your aging, arrest your cells, cause you (or your chickens) to have twins, or any number of other nasty mutagenic and carcinogenic effects? Get smart!"
Anil sent the following questions, the second two of which are riddles:
Did you ever notice that the Roman numeral for 69 can be expressed as LIXX?
What's the difference between a majorette and a macromolecule (Hint: if the answer deserves ridicule at least it's a "laughette")
What do the following animals have in common: a shrimp, a crow, a horse, an African Weaverbird, a fertile female bee, a fertile male termite?
Palindromically Correct Lines
Bill O'Connor's palindromes have appeared in previous issues of Word Ways. It is only fitting that, in the Year of the Palindrome, there should be another selection of his work.
Has no garden robe borne dragons, ah? Dogs lap Tess, a basset pal's god Sex alert: "Ella, my mallet relaxes" Trades abased art Moods send a sere sadness, doom Nell, adapt no devil alive; don't pad Allen No haven in Eva, hon Not Leona, I paw a piano, Elton Rein a Zulu Zorro? Zeno, no! To none: "Zorro Zulu zanier" Nella rode Ted or Allen Ada derided art. Is Ada mad as I trade dire Dada! Dora snips Aron's atlas in a pan I salt as Nora spins a rod See Bret totter. Bees! God's asleep, Arden, as nine mown women, insane, drape Elsa's dog
September 11, 2001 in England
Peter Newby sent this heart-rending letter about the events of September 11. It doesn't involve wordplay, but world tragedy: "At 11:00 we stood in silence for 3 minutes of solidarity with you. Later the Star Spangled Banner was heard in Saint Paul's Cathedral. Your ambassador and Prince Philip read the lessons to a congregation led by the Queen. Our flags are at half mast, your mail from Mercia is equally solemn. Though my lifetime includes an unremembered Pearl Harbor, I share with you the horror of the Kennedy Dallas--the last time we were united in grief. The wickednesses of Timothy McVeigh over there and the I.R.A. over here have made headlines in the interim, granted, but those were different events. Different in scale, different in troubling the heart. Churchill's Britain will, once again, march by your side against whatever form Evil has chosen to manifest itself. Sympathy was expressed throughout the land, from tiny New York in Lincolnshire to, of course, London."
Readers are encouraged to send their favorite linguistic kickshaws to the Kickshaws editor at drABC26@aol.com. Answers can be found in Answers and Solutions at the end of the issue.
DAVID MORICE Iowa City, Iowa
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2002|
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