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AWADmail Issue 77

April 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)
Subject: Discovering the theme

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.
-Claiborne S. Walsh (claibieATaol.com)

Words that sound similar but have somewhat opposite meanings.
-Patricia Ruppert (pattyr0803ATaol.com)

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.
-Tom Hough (houghtATalyeska-pipeline.com)

Both are 7-letter words.
Both begin with a vowel.
The beginning vowel is repeated later in the word.
Both contain a string of 3 letters that are alphabetically consecutive, "cde" and "nop".
Both strings begin with the 2nd letter of the word.
There. I'm sure I could refine (or blow) my theory later in the week, but I wanted to go for broke and be one of the first. Now, I will truly be impressed if you can find words for the entire week that are able to follow the complete rule I've suggested, i.e., "7-letter words beginning with a vowel that is subsequently repeated, and which have a string of three alphabetically consecutive letters beginning with the second letter." By the way, I'm also an avid Kennedy conspiracy theorist.
-Steve Benko (steve.benkoATgecapital.com)

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 Israeli-Palestinian situation.
-Shelly Dorr (jnsdorrATpacbell.net)

Delete three consecutive letters from the middle to form another word: emic, asia, deflate.
-Jenny Buckland (jenny.bucklandATdfes.gsi.gov.uk)

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.
-Tracy Majkol (tmajkolATora.fda.gov)

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.
-Padmashree (PadmashreerATchn.cognizant.com)

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.
-Jamie Thomas (dixieATmcmsys.com)

All I can think of is that none of the words has the letter "Z" in it.
-Rick Selvin (rickeditorATaol.com)

The first four are examples of the fifth: they are pretentious.
-Marian Peglar (dante430ATpacbell.net)

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.
-Luke Anderson (anderslaATstolaf.edu)

Words describing Warren Beatty.
-Darin P. Hassell (dhasselATuark.edu)

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).
-Julia Macrae (macrae_jATfc.sd36.bc.ca)

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.
-Celine Ruben-Salama (one800celineAThotmail.com)

What springs to mind immediately with these words is that each is rejected by my desktop spell check as misspelled words.
-Roy Jenner (roy.jennerATxtra.co.nz)

The common theme is the blind sheik who masterminded the 1993 WTC.
-Blair Winston (bwinstonATmflomenhaft-law.com)

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 American people.
-Robin Charbonnier (rcharbonnierATyahoo.fr)


From: L.E. Kidder (kiddnettATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anopsia

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)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--insomnolent

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)

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