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AWADmail Issue 77April 22, 2002
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Last week's challenge to discover the common element among the words evoked quite a response. Tom Magliery (magATmagliery.com) wins the prize for being the fiRST to discover the connection: all the words had three adjacent letters in alphabetical order. Prof. Maurita Holland (mhollandATumich.edu) gains a special mention for conveying it in the most creative manner: "NOPe, I aM-NO STUdent, but I can DEFinitely C-DE connection!"
A couple of people (who shall remain nameless) poSTUlated that the theme was words with two letters in alphabetical order. Here are a few selections from thousands of messages from readers who could see almost everything under the sun in those words. As the week progressed, the hypotheses became more interesting.
DAY ONE: ecdemic
Words introduced into vocabulary by medicine.
Words that sound similar but have somewhat opposite meanings.
DAY TWO: anopsia
I'm guessing this week's theme involves medically-related words used in
other contexts. The first two words, 'ecdemic' and 'anopsia', had examples
from economics and literature, respectively.
Both are 7-letter words.
DAY THREE: deflagrate
Maybe because it has been on my mind terribly these past few weeks,
but the words ecdemic, anopsia and deflagrate ring loudly of the
Delete three consecutive letters from the middle to form another word:
emic, asia, deflate.
Words related to "Earth Crossing or Near Earth Asteroids". They are
certainly ecdemic since they are indeed "of foreign origin". They are
hard to see and detect due to size, location, and that few astronomers
are actively searching for them, thus anopsia fits. When they hit the
atmosphere they spectacularly deflagrate.
DAY FOUR: insomnolent
I feel this week's theme is - Conjunctivitis. It originates outside the
person's eye i.e. another person's eye so it is an ecdemic. It causes
anopsia, deflagrating effect (inflammation) makes the person insomnolent.
DAY FIVE: fastuous
I say that the theme is "Thinking about your boss". My explanation is this:
A person is sleepless at night because he/she is mad at their boss. They
think he is arrogant and has no vision. The person wants him to burn before
his disease takes him over.
All I can think of is that none of the words has the letter "Z" in it.
The first four are examples of the fifth: they are pretentious.
I was searching for an answer to the AWAD mystery theme when it suddenly
struck me like a hot stake through the eye. All five of the words describe
aspects of the story involving Odysseus and the Cyclops in Homer's "The
Odyssey," Book IX.
Words describing Warren Beatty.
Maybe the crisis in the Middle East? characterized by fastuous behaviour,
functioning like an ecdemic disease (metaphorically, with many outside
meddlers in thier internal politics etc), so worrisome as to make one
insomnolent, explosive and easily ignited (deflagrate) and lacking a
vision for peace (anopsia).
Last weeks theme is "Words pertaining to Arthur Anderson." Here is my
reasoning: 1. The demise of Anderson was ecdemic; dubious business
practices were exposed as a result of the Enron bankruptcy 2. Purposeful
anopsia was Anderson's modus operandi 3. Once exposed, the credibility
of the company deflagrated 4. Fearing for the future of their company and
careers, Anderson employees are now insomnolent 5. The fastuous nature of
the company's handling of the Enron aftermath suggests a generalized low
ethical standard as an integral part of Anderson's corporate culture.
What springs to mind immediately with these words is that each is rejected
by my desktop spell check as misspelled words.
The common theme is the blind sheik who masterminded the 1993 WTC.
I think that this week's theme may be The Attack of September 11th:
fastuous is Ben Laden, ecdemic is the attack, anopsia is the doctrine of
terrorists, to deflagrate is the event and insomnolent is the result for
From: L.E. Kidder (kiddnettATaol.com)
As "anopsia" is absence of sight, so "anosmia" is absence of smell. Millions of people around the world lack the sense of smell, yet it is a little known and much misunderstood condition. The aging process is known to diminish the sense of smell, and it can be lost through serious illness or a blow to the head. But for many of us the condition is congenital -- we simply have no understanding of, say, the fragrance of bread baking, in the same way that anopsics have no understanding of the beauty of a sunset. For anosmics who need more information, this website is very helpful: www.maxuk.net/nose.shtml.
From: Mike Redd (mikeATo2blue.com)
I get my email through a Blackberry unit that is always on and "buzzes" me when I get incoming email. I was awakened this morning at about 3 AM when my Blackberry buzzed. I switched on the light near the bed and opened by email from Wordsmith to read that today's word was "insomnolent" and meant "sleepless". You couldn't have arranged for a better way for me to remember that word.
Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)