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Oct 8, 2023
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Tosspot words

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AWADmail Issue 1110

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

Sponsor’s message: Wrack your brain. One Up! is the wickedest word game in the world. “It’s mental!” Free shipping. Shop now.

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

The Parents Trying to Pass Down a Language They Hardly Speak
The Atlantic

”Our Language Is Dying”
The New York Times

From: Alastair McKean (alastairmckean outlook.com)
Subject: lackwit

I have only ever heard this word in The Simpsons, when Mr Burns’ mother refers to him as “That improvident lackwit!” (video, 1 min.) Sublime vocabulary.

Alastair McKean, Albury, Australia

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- “The best game in the game.” “A devilish gift.”

From: Matt A Nash (mattanash live.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lackwit

In the Game of Thrones series, Wylis (aka Hodor), dies holding the door shut against a legion of White Walker zombies, thus saving the good guys (though it’s often hard to tell the good guys from the bad, as both are quick to slit the throats of innocents, allies and foes alike). Though dismissed as a lackwit, in the end he is a heroic “holddoor”, which we learn is the source of his nickname.

Matt Nash, Whidbey Island, Washington

From: Beth Phillips (emphil2 msn.com)
Subject: Lackwit

Before I read the attribution for this quotation dating to 1668, I thought it was referring to the current majority party in the US House of Representatives.

Beth Phillips, Phoenix, Arizona

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: comment on A Thought For Today

Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? -Thomas Wolfe, novelist (3 Oct 1900-1938)

Wolfe’s work is saturated with loneliness and loss: “Nakεd and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.”

He sums it up nicely, even if breaks a few human hearts:

“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence. When we examine the moments, acts, and statements of all kinds of people -- not only the grief and ecstasy of the greatest poets, but also the huge unhappiness of the average soul... we find, I think, that they are all suffering from the same thing. The final cause of their complaint is loneliness.”
-Thomas Wolfe, God’s Lonely Man

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Richard Turner (rt_turner hotmail.com)
Subject: Scattergood

I went to a Quaker boarding school established in the late 19th century called Scattergood. The name was adopted literally with the intent to “scatter good” into the world through its graduates. This is the meaning that I have associated with the word.

Richard Turner, Cincinnati, Ohio

From: Michael Feinberg (mfeinberg dca.net)
Subject: Scattergood

In Philadelphia, Scattergood Foundation is a major charitable donor.

Michael Feinberg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From: William Pease (peasewmj gmail.com)
Subject: Scattergood

Older readers will recall Scattergood Baines, a character in short stories by Clarence Budington Kelland and a 1941 movie.

Bill Pease, San Diego, California

From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: Scattergood

So I’m coining the word “scatterbad” for a frugal spendthrift who saves their money!

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

From: Jeff Matherly (jmatherly mwareinc.com)
Subject: Tosspot word: Spreadjoy

We spend time in Grenada where there is a fellow who has been married eight times. Each wife has had two children with him. His nickname is Spreadjoy.

Jeff Matherly, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Juliane McAdam (juliane.mcadam gmail.com)
Subject: tosspot words

Spanish has several tosspot words. For example, a “rascacielos” scrapes the sky, our skyscraper; a “sacapuntos” makes points, our pencil sharpener. My very favorite is “rompecabezas,” a head-breaker. We call them puzzles.

Juliane McAdam, Los Osos, California

Brains over Brawn
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: lackwit and nipcheese

Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for millennia, but went extinct roughly 40,000 years ago. For much of the twentieth century paleontologists deemed these early humans as primitive, lacking intelligence, uncouth and brutish. Yet researchers have reassessed these hunter-gatherers, positing that far from being lackwits, they exhibited advanced life skills: making fire, cooking, fashioning stone and wooden tools, building cave hearths, crafting simple garments and having the the rudiments of language. Curiously, the Neanderthal brain was larger than that of modern humans. Although a bigger brain doesn’t necessarily translate into super-intelligence.

The Mouse That Hoard... ed
Say CHEESE! Hmm... make that nipcheese. Frankly, on first seeing this word, I visualized a chunk of sharp cheddar and a wedge of stinky Danish blue... homing in on the “nip” factor. But, meaning a miser it is. Still, I had to go with this cheese angle, and voila!... this cheesy cartoon scenario ensued.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Tosspot words
1. Lackwit
2. Dingthrift
3. Turnkey
4. Nipcheese
5. Scattergood
= 1. Dunce, thick twit
2. Prodigal
3. Rotten scrεw keeps the keys
4. Tight, miser
5. Wastes ton of dosh
= 1. Mock twit
2. The waster dents
3. (Test, steer) finished product, work
4. Stingy geek
5. Shopaholic
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)
= 1. Idiot
2. Reckless with cents
3. Tends to work right away
4. Huge pocket (it’s theft!)
5. Spends more
= 1. Stupid (TikTok crew?)
2. (S)he wastes money
3. Warden
4. Tight like Scrooge (the cost!)
5. Spendthrift
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Great poems are there to be read;
But sadly, it has to be said,
A lackwit am I.
Perhaps, that is why
I read only lim’ricks instead.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He surrounded himself with such lackwits
That failure befell all his rackets.
O Donald, farewell!
Enjoy life in your cell,
Free at last from the higher tax brackets.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“My inheritance?” “Frittered away --
Only took me three weeks and a day.”
“You’re a dingthrift!” “Quite true,
But between me and you,
It was money well-spent, I should say!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

I love going shopping with Gram!
She’s a dingthrift, which I also am!
The two of us pour
In and out of each store
To exuberant “Merci, mesdames!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I buy everything, being a dingthrift;
From my grasp, I do not let a thing drift,”
Said Don Junior. “My dad
Taught us how to be bad;
We Trump children all eat, sleep, and drink grift!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


As the turnkey on duty that day,
I had locked the new inmate away.
His request for a Coke
Seemed a weird kind of joke --
“I’m a jailer; I’m not your valet!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The turnkey, keys jangling, is humming.
All us cons are on edge: why’s he coming?
Is someone to be
Let out? Is it me?
Nah, turns out he’s just checking the plumbing!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Mr. President, I’ll be your turnkey;
Here’s the ‘office’ in which you’ll sojourn, see?
It’s not oval, but square,
With décor rather bare;
By a jury landslide, you have earned me.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If you married a nipcheese, then guile
Is essential to dressing with style.
Tell the scrooge, “What, this shift?
Off the peg from the thrift,”
And then shamelessly bask in his smile.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

The nipcheese was cheap as could be.
He never bought Gouda or Brie.
He preferred, if you please,
Plain American cheese;
Which a food pantry gave him for free.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The nipcheese had skimped and she’d saved.
The dingthrift said, “You’re just depraved!”
He thought his way better
But never could get her
To alter the way she behaved.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“I hope you enjoyed my strιptεase;
Now you’d better not be a nipcheese,”
Said Stormy. “I’ll pay
What you’re asking, okay?
When I’m charged, though,” said Donald, “don’t flip, please.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


We, the Scattergoods, aptly so named,
Were once rich -- so much so, we were famed;
But we spent to excess,
And now poor, we confess,
No one else but ourselves can be blamed.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

My scattergood friend on a spree
Has money that grew on a tree.
So, what can I say?
For me that’s OK
As long as he spends some on me.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Much admired was old Mrs. Kress.
That scattergood’s rep for largesse
Spread so far and wide
That a long line outside
Was increasingly hard to repress.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I’m your mother, and no scattergood;
On your trip, wear this red tattered hood.”
“Put on rags? Mom, you’re callous!
My BFF Alice
Says only a Mad Hatter would!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The Boy Scout did lackwit-tling experience, so his craft project did not come out well.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“What ah lackwit’ you is a weddin’ ring,” complained Daisy Mae to L’il Abner.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“At a wed-dingthrift goes out the window,” fretted the bride’s father.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“They won’t prosecute me if I turnkey evidence over,” resolved the Mar-a-Lago IT director.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The baker’s new recipe would turnkey lime pie into a diner favorite.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I like to grow cat-nipcheese my Cleo loves to roll in it,” smiled the ailurophile.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“Would you like to come in and nipcheese?” Minnie asked Mickey at the end of their date.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The clever mom would scattergood-ies for the children to find during their Easter egg hunt.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I will scattergood wishes and prayers to every community affected by a mass shooting,” promised the Republican politician.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light. -John W. Gardner, author and educator (8 Oct 1912-2002)

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