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May 15, 2022
This week’s theme
Words related to time

This week’s words
witching hour

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AWADmail Issue 1037

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: The Mother of all Word Games. One Up! is quick, canny, cutthroat fun: No board. No complicated rules. No mercy. Just unfair and fabulous combat that’s guaranteed to totally ruin spice up mom’s special day, or any family get-together for that matter. Our classic wicked/smart war of wit, a cheap lesson in intellectual humility, is now even cheaper: Get Two Classics for only $29.99. Shop Sale Now.

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch
The New Yorker

The Russian War on Ukraine Has Always Been a War on Its Language
Literary Hub

How Children Grasp Language

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Timesaving tips

This week I invited our readers to share their timesaving tips. Here’s a selection from the responses we received.

Time will rise from the rubble of discarded habits posing as priorities.
-Bob Rietz, Asheville, North Carolina (dbactuary hotmail.com)

This doesn’t “save time” per se, but it chops it up and redistributes it. When folding laundry, don’t bother turning clothes right side out. Just fold everything as they are. Inside out or not. The turning right side out then only happens at the moment before you wear it. Spreading the work out into unnoticeable amounts across the whole week.
-Carter W. Skemp, Augusta, Maine (carter.skemp maine.edu)

The word “no” in response to some requests from another, or from myself at times. Keep in mind that “No” is a complete sentence.
-Denise Nereida, Vancouver, Canada (nereidadenise191 gmail.com)

My tip is: “Go slow to go fast”, by which I mean concentrate on being effective and efficient rather than speedy.
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

Schedule all medical appointments early in the morning. Saves me hours of time. Which I spend more to my liking. Back-ups at doctors’ offices start soon after the early appointments and get backed up further and further as the day goes on.
-Robert Whatmough, Concord, New Hampshire (rj-mw comcast.net)

Don’t go on the internet -- spend the time actually doing something. Use your mobile phone only for telephone calls and essential messages.
-Cynthia McKee, Belfast, Northern Ireland (cmckee160 gmail.com)

I figured out how to make all of the time I need. I retired and moved into an apartment. I don’t have to go to work, mow the lawn, repair clogged drains -- I just use an app to contact maintenance, and the work gets done in a day or two. I spend my time learning new words and using PBS SciShow on YouTube to keep my brain engaged (I suffer from TBI). Until I die, I have all the time in the world.
-Patrick Spreng, Garland, Texas (pspreng gmail.com)

When I received today’s AWAD, I thought of this Free Range comic from a few days ago.
-Kathy Smith, Goodyear, Arizona (kathy.leapbaby gmail.com)

I only wash my car about once every three years.
-Joan Skeet, Vancouver, Canada (joanskeet outlook.com)

Grandkids, years from now: How were you so successful in life?
Me: Well, kids, I saved hours of time abbreviating “totally” to “totes”.
-Andy Vetromile, Marietta, Georgia (fnordy1 yahoo.com)

I try to take care of text and email communications immediately, if possible, which makes me a precrastinator- supposedly a less creative person.
-Alta Haywood, Perry Hall, Maryland (altahaywood comcast.net)

Use timer for chores, etc. Allows me to be present without being focused on time; also reduces stress.
-Jody Irwin, Eugene, Oregon (jodyherenow gmail.com)

From: Elizabeth Block (elizabethblock netzero.net)
Subject: Time

There’s a sci-fi story by Joanne Greenberg in which we learn that the government taxes our time. It’s a graduated tax -- the older you are, the more they take. This is why a year is so long when you’re a child, and so short when you are, well, my age.

Elizabeth Block, Toronto, Canada

From: Eugene Marner (genemarner mac.com)
Subject: witching hour

I’d like to offer a little cultural diversity regarding the witching hour.

In 1966, my late wife and I made a film for public television with Leopold Sedar Senghor, the first president of the Republic of Senegal and a distinguished French poet. In the course of the film Senghor did an exegesis of one of his poems. I won’t quote the poem here but I think the English translation of his exegesis that is on the soundtrack of the film will make the point.

“Among the Serere people, the most solemn hour of the day is noon -- high noon -- when the sun is at its zenith and there is a sort of calm, of silence, in nature. And it is at that time that the dead appear. So one has to leave the usual roads to avoid the grasp of the dead. Their bodily grasp because they are our ancestors. Their deadly grasp because, if you are not careful, the dead will pull you with them.”

Eugene Marner, Franklin, New York

From: Maggie Thomas (maggieannevurgese gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--witching hour

I thought witching hour was twilight --
day has not gone and night has not arrived
Just the time when eerie things can happen
And babies are unsettled, though adults
may put it down to colic.

Maggie Thomas, Chennai, India

From: Tim Noonan (roguemedicblog gmail.com)
Subject: witching hour

Why are the markets so volatile during the witching hour? This is due to the expiration of the most traded options. Now there are many more options expiration dates than when the phrase originated. When options expire, the “bet” needs to be settled. This can result in a lot more buying, or selling, of the underlying assets, in order to prepare for settlement or to try to move the asset prices.

Investopedia has good information on trading terminology. This link is for triple witching.

Tim Noonan, Aston, Pennsylvania

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: The witching hour

As soon as I saw the term, I thought of Hamlet’s bloodthirsty vow. It’s a monologue. Hamlet, on his way to confront his mother about her complicity in the murder of his father, is in a perfervid mood, one eager for revenge. His language skirts being hysterical; even so I find it compelling blank verse:

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

Email of the Week -- Brought to you Buy One Up! -- The Mother of all Word Games.

From: Charles Steele (c-steele onu.edu)
Subject: Meridian

I lived much of my misspent youth in Meridian, MS. It was originally a farm town called Sowashee after the creek that runs by it. When the railroads came, they called it Meridian because it was located on one. People would, supposedly, sneak out and change the signs at night.

General Sherman burned the place to the ground as it was a strategic rail center. My mother remembers Sherman’s neckties (rails that were heated and wrapped around trees) from her childhood. A friend said he thought there still might be some in the hobo jungle.

Life was less hectic there.

Charles E. Steele, Jr., Leyte, Philippines

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--meridian

When I was living in Riverside, CA (1943-50), a sign on the Post Office said that it closed on Saturdays at 12:00 M. I wonder if anyone is that accurate nowadays. I am always a bit amused to see 12:00 AM or PM; either would be accurate for midnight, but neither is accurate for noon.

Said the clerk at the PO, “Ahem,
We are closing today at 12 M;
You’ll be twelve hours late
If you come to the gate
When it’s either AM or PM.

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: meridian

Most clocks and watches are calibrated to 12 hours, thus requiring the designation ante meridian (i.e., am, starting one millisecond after midnight) and post meridian (pm) which is the time from noon on (i.e., afternoon and evening).

In some languages, midday and southerly direction have the same word. In Italian, for instance, mezzogiorno may mean middle of the day as well as south (i.e., the southern part of the Italian peninsula, facetiously known as the boot).

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Karen Folsom (kgfols yahoo.com)
Subject: My illustrations for this week’s words

I’m a liberal muckraking illustrator, always trying to tell a story -- hopefully with humor and brio. I draw for many organizations and publications. I love to create scenarios that are deniably plausible and that’s usually why I get hired.

Here are my illustrations for this week’s words.

Timeous - Exiting the water in a timeous manner is recommended ...when necessary.

Yealing - The Alpha Delta Pi sorority graduating class of 1992.

Witching Hour
Witching hour - The witching hour is sometimes, and often, cocktail hour. Cheers!

Meridian - Circles, arcs, and spheres, imaginary or otherwise, illustrated.

Ephemeral - Five seconds is the average life of a burning match.

Karen Folsom, Santa Barbara, California

Strange Witching Hour Brew
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Witching hour and yealing

“Double, double, toil and trouble!” In musing over our phrase “witching hour” I envisioned a witches’ brewing ritual. There are still two missing ingredients in this boiling melange that must be added to the motley mix by the witching hour, or heads will roll. A bemused Froggy is getting hot under the collar... if he had a collar. Ha!

One More Time With Yealing
Let’s face it, some folks age well and look their chronological age, or even younger, whilst others appear much older. Here, the gent on the left looks to be in his early-to-mid-30s, while the bespectacled fellow, claiming to be the same age, appears far older, yet seems to be totally oblivious to the apparent disparity. A line of poesy from Robbie Burns’ “To a Louse” comes to mind, in the Old Scots dialect... “O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us; to see oursels as ithers see us!”

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Words related to time
1. Timeous
2. Yealing
3. Witching (hour)
4. Meridian
5. Ephemeral
= 1. On time
2. Same-aged peer
3. Eerily weird midnight (the willies!)
4. North-to-south mark
5. Such a wee time
     This week’s theme on words related to time
1. Timeous
2. Yealing
3. Witching (hour)
4. Meridian
5. Ephemeral
= 1. Iona & I were not late
2. My twin muse -- I heed her
3. Seems a horrid midnight cult meet
4. Peak glow
5. I.e. short
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)
This week’s theme: Words related to time
1. Timeous
2. Yealing
3. Witching hour
4. Meridian
5. Ephemeral
= 1. How well timed eh?
2. Age like twin
3. Midnight hour
4. Acme, premier, haute, is so esteemed
5. Transitory
     This week’s theme: Words related to time
1. Timeous
2. Yealing
3. Witching hour
4. Meridian
5. Ephemeral
= 1. Punctual; likewise, we’re timelier
2. One who is the same age
3. Midnight
4. Midday
5. Hereto short-term
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



“If the worm had outwitted the bird --
Yes, I know the idea seems absurd,
But bear with -- we might say,
‘Timeous worm ’e ain’t prey,
’Cos ’e legged it afore bird ‘ad stirred’.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Columbus sailed into the blue.
His timeous arrival, he knew,
Was really essential
To become consequential --
The historical year ninety-two.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

That ambulance you see today
Could make all the difference, I’d say.
Its timeous arrival
Means someone’s survival --
So kindly get out of its way.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“It’s important to never be late,”
Scolded Mama, not quick to berate
But to her, being timeous
Was vital -- she’d prime us
We’d not get away with: “Oh, wait!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Anu’s words beg each morning, “Steve, rhyme us!”
And I answer, “I will when it’s timeous.
You know I’m a softie,
But first I need coffee;
Then Shakespeare I’ll be, plus or minus.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Yon stripling reminds me of me
An’ the time I was youthful as he.
But this ... this old yealing,
He’s much less appealing,
As he looks like the man I must be.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

My yealing, Pope Francis, and I --
We never can see eye to eye.
Whenever we meet
Empanadas he’ll eat,
While I still prefer pizza pie.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Says youth to the cougar, “I fear
that my curfew time soon will be here.
And I have a feeling
that you’re not my yealing.
But anyway, thanks for the beer!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Near 88, the woman had few
Yealing friends to really relate to.
She did puzzles and read,
Then went early to bed.
Whatever do most old people do?
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The year of her birth she’s concealing,
For mystery’s always appealing.
But you and I know
That censuses show
She’s really and truly our yealing!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

At 90, a lady from Ealing
Said, “No man would I date who’s my yealing.
But I still have a hunger
For those who are younger;
My blood’s running hot, not congealing.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Witching hour

Meg was close to despair: “Witching hour
Just doesn’t make modern folks cower;
Oh Mog, it’s so vexing:
They shrug off my hexing,
And sneer at my broomstick’s horsepower.”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“Good evening!” Count Dracula quips.
“Please put a nice smile on your lips,
and don’t look so sour.
At this witching hour,
I’ll take just the minimal sips!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The witch thought it simply a crime
That no one could tell her the time.
She spent the day roaming
From midnight to gloaming.
Witching hour she never did find.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

At the witching hour spirits will stir,
And the weirdest events will occur.
At least, so it’s said,
Though then I’m in bed,
And I’m dead to the world, as it were.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When he came home long past witching hour,
She looked threatening; face stern and dour.
But using Dutch courage,
he strove to discourage
a shift in their balance of power.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Cinderella had fun at the ball,
For she met her Prince Charming, so tall.
But, at the witching hour,
Magic spell lost its power,
And her happiness hit a big wall.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

‘Twas a tale of the night’s witching hour
When his sweetheart unveiled hitching power.
“I’ll sleep with you, yes,
If our union you bless
With a ring. Then this girl -- kiss and wow her!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


My meridian? Peaked at eighteen.
I grew taller -- the tallest I’ve been.
I was fit! I was hot!
Now it’s all gone to pot,
And in ways that I’d never foreseen.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The oracle offers sincere
advice to us all: “Persevere!
You’ll turn your quotidian
ways to meridian
days. Do I make myself clear?”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Declared my dear friend, the Floridian,
“For seniors this notion’s quotidian:
The time that’s ideal
For dinner, we feel,
Is early, around the meridian.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“With pοrn stars I’m at my meridian,”
Said Donald, “as hard as obsidian.
In motel rooms all day
We are not there to pray;
In its drawer stays the Bible from Gideon.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Nagged the cave-dwelling wife at Lascaux,
“Don’t paint -- go and hunt buffalo;
Not ephemeral art
But roast meat wins my heart
(And goes well with a glass of Bordeaux).”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

Your hair is ephem’ral, they say.
As you age it gets grayer each day.
Or else you’ll be bald.
No need to be galled.
Go to Gaul and just wear a beret.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Says the stylist, “Skirt lengths undergo
constant changes. They’re high, and then low.
Don’t worry, our hemmer’ll
fix this ephemeral
problem. ‘Twill be comme il faut!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Please believe me, I’m telling the truth:
An ephemeral thing is our youth!
It goes by quite fast,
It’s suddenly past,
And you find yourself long in the tooth.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Old paper? Just toss it, folks thought --
Feeling it was just junk; value, naught.
But down through the years
Memories evoke tears --
Ephemera’s avidly sought!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

We all know that fleeting is fame.
A no one becomes a big name.
But, it’s so ephemeral,
And like dose of Demerol,
So quickly they lose their acclaim.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Who knew zat Zelenskyy, zat whelp,
From Biden vould get so much help?
My life,” said the general,
“Might turn out ephemeral;
Vun star I’ll geeve Putin on Yelp.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Not fair, mon! Timeous again,” said the Jamaican bobsled team.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com

“What timeous Steve Benko’s daughter’s show tonight?” asked the eager theater goers.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“You’re pregnant? Yealing!” exclaimed Hsing Hsing.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Samantha, you’ve got to stop be-witching hour neighbors and friends,” Darrin scolded.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“There must be a way to help meridian of his writer’s block,” fretted the publisher of the James Bond novels.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Turn that radio from AM to ephemeral throw it against the wall,” shouted the classical music lover to her teenager.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When Ideology Trumps Sound Judgment
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Ideology trumps sound judgment

Trump’s three SCOTUS associate justice picks, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Barrett, stated under oath during their Senate confirmation hearings that they viewed the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling as established law, and as such, the law of the land. Yet, in the recently leaked Supreme Court Alito-drafted opinion, it’s clear that they’re going to vote to overturn decades of precedent. Lie much? What else would we expect from judges nominated by Trump, who never met a lie he didn’t like.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

I feel fairly certain that my hatred harms me more than the people whom I hate. -Max Frisch, architect, playwright, and novelist (15 May 1911-1991)

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