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Dec 31, 2023
This week’s theme
No el

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AWADmail Issue 1122

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

Sponsor’s Message: “A horribly fun party card game.” The wicked smartest gift for know-it-alls and teenagers. Wise Up!

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

Louisiana Creole Is Enjoying a Modest Revival
The Economist

English Still Rules the World, But That’s Not Necessarily OK. Is it Time to Curb its Power?
The Guardian

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by LACRAWESOME -- Explore our “Wit You Can Wear” collection >

From: Mike Stahl (yofoureyes msn.com)(br)
Subject: No el

I aways ook forward to this yeary tradition!

Happy Hoidays to a!

Mike Stah, Seatte, Washington

From: Judah Rosner (jlr4206 gmail.com)
Subject: No L

A ditty from New York City when the elevated subway line was made inoperative:

“No el, no el, they’ve obliterated the el. The Board of Estimates has voted: no el, no el.”

Judah Rosner, Washington, DC

From: Tom Nicholas (tanich ptd.net)
Subject: No L

I grew up in suburban Chicago, frequently taking the elevated train (the El) to downtown Chicago. At Christmas time when people were singing “Noel”, we youngsters would say, “So take the streetcar.”

Tom Nicholas, Lititz, Pennsylvania

From: Jonathan Gellman (jonathansg yahoo.com)(br)
Subject: No L

That letter is otherwise quite active: halls will be decked and carols and angels will resound, at least when the night is not silent. While other letters can be omitted, their exclusion will not receive a nod now or in the future as clearly as Noel, unless you are able and can see your way to using homonyms.

Jonathan Gellman, New York, New York

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: No L week

I am writing to criticize your hypocrisy for pretending to give me the week off, yet working me as hard as ever, if not in the chosen words, then in their definitions. For shame! You may note that in the course of making this observation, except for in my signature I am taking the rest that you promised me but did not provide. It can be done. I am unsubscribing. Bah humbug! -Your former friend, L.

Steve Benko, New York, New York

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--grandezza

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason. -Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, and philosopher (25 Dec 1642-1727)

Reminiscent of this bit that I send out every few years:

“On this day, a child was born, who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy birthday Isaac Newton, born Dec 25, 1642.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Tom Benzoni (benzonit gmail.com)
Subject: Aquaphobia, hydrophobia, and rabies

Hydrophobia and rabies: It’s even a bit worse. Animals experiencing rabies lose the ability to coordinate movements; witness the stumbling gait of the infected animal. This same lack of coordination affects the ability of the body to seal off the lungs when you swallow, something you never think about as you gulp water. (That’s why it’s a reflex.) That reflex is lost in rabies. The infected person is, effectively, waterboarding themselves. Fear of water indeed!

Tom Benzoni, Sioux city, Iowa

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

Juxtaposed ads for a gun show and caskets! Brilliant.

There used to be a weekly freebie mag in Toronto called Eye. It had a feature, “Signs of the Times”, with a photo of a sign that was inadvertently funny. One that I cut out and kept:


Elizabeth Block, Toronto, Canada

From: Sherill Anderson (clintonsherill hotmail.com)
Subject: Juxtapositive

We used to watch for odd combos of businesses: “airport and animal shelter” for one. Our favorite was “liquor store and bakery”. My husband said, “I’ll have a whisky and water and a cinnamon roll.”

Sherill Anderson, Seattle, Washington

From: Lucie Singh (lmsingh aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--swanky

In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator, and author (28 Dec 1902-2001)

I found myself on an elevator in Chicago with Mortimer Adler many years ago. He nodded and smiled at me in a pleasant way and I returned the smile, saying, “Good morning. Read any good books lately?”

Lucie Singh, Hudson, Wisconsin

From: Moira Walsh (moira ynspire.de)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--swanky

So, is this week’s last word...fascism? C, F, M have not appeared yet. Facsimile has an L, as does simplification.

Moira Walsh, Stuttgart, Germany

From: Sharon Smith (mainelyneuropsych gmail.com)
Subject: cruciform

The usage example is: “The boys made their way along the cruciform of gravel that bisected the kitchen garden.”

I was imagining the scene when I thought, But wouldn’t the gravel have quadrisected the garden?

Not sure how I’d have written that scene myself, since I don’t know how important that gravel path turned out to be in the story and wouldn’t have stuck in “quadrisected” (maybe “divided”?) but I’m wondering if Allingham got carried away with that interesting word -- cruciform -- and didn’t take a moment to picture the scene in her mind.

Sharon Smith, Canaan, Maine

Feliz Navidad!
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: No el and grandezza

In keeping with our “No el” word-theme, I figured that our letter “L” animated character might opt to take a lengthy Xmas “siesta” in southern climes, namely Mexico, eschewing all the seasonal trappings and flashy decorations of a traditional North American Christmas. Froggy’s two-cents-worth may be a stretch. But what the “EL”, amigos!

Carnac the Magnificent
Johnny Carson, in my view, the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) of TV talk-show hosts, for over 30 years was a late-night fixture on NBC. I’d argue that Johnny was a frustrated sketch-comedian at heart. His recurring Late Show soothsayer character, “Carnac the Magnificent”, would test his comedic chops. His longtime sidekick, Ed McMahon, would hold the written answer to a question in a sealed envelope that Johnny (as Carnac) would have presaged. Holding the envelope to his forehead, Carnac would state the question, rip open the envelope, and voila!... read the usually droll, oftentimes corny answer.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: No el
1. Grandezza
2. Aquaphobia
3. Juxtapositive
4. Swanky
5. Cruciform
= 1. Triumph, awe
2. Fear aqua
3. Moving next to
4. Jazzy
5. Uh, I know shape like a cross, bisected
= 1. Magnifique
2. viz. she weak...not like water
3. Adjacent
4. Ah! Ritzy, pompous hub
5. Cross axe
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)
= 1. Superb (look amazed)
2. Swim? I fear waves (I quake)
3. Conjunct, next to
4. Ritzy
5. A high shape
= 1. Pompous buzz
2. The water making heavy fear
3. What can adjoin
4. Exquisite
5. Cross-like
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Grandezza there was at Versailles.
How fancy that palace, oh my!
With all sorts of bling
Just meant for the king,
Till peasants arose and said, “Why?”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

What grandezza! We kvelled and we preened!
All the guests had been carefully screened
Underdressed? Weren’t let in
Even if they were kin
And no crushing; no one was sardined!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“With SpaceX and now also Twitter,
Earth and sky are both full of my litter,”
Said Elon. “And Tesla
Augments my grandezza!
My riches make Jeff Bezos bitter!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Aquaphobia makes me look lame,
Which is why I am thirty sans dame.
Ev’ry girl that I date
Wants to swim, which I hate --
(Not the girl or her swimming - my shame).
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

To swim in a pool is aerobic,
But the water is often microbic.
And some fears that instills,
Since they cause many ills.
No wonder that I’m aquaphobic.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“Your neurosis is awful, my dear,
For you’re frightened of water, I hear.
To stay dry you wish,
But since we are fish,
Aquaphobia’s fatal, I fear.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He fears lakes, also rivers and streams,
And the ocean gives rise to bad dreams.
At a drop in the shower
He’ll cringe and he’ll cower;
Alas! Aquaphobic, it seems.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Antisocial and have aquaphobia?
You’ll love it here, sir, in Mongolia.
We’re landlocked, you see,
With no ocean or sea,
And no cell service; no one’ll phone ya.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Juxtapositive statements compare
And contrast, so’s to make us aware
Of an aspect not seen,
Or a diff’rence between,
Two ideas -- and they do it with flair.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Juxtapositive photos reveal
The results of her chemical peel.
Those acids had stung,
But made her look young,
And for that it was worth the ordeal.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Placing Biden and Trump juxtapositive
One more time is the parties’ prerogative.
Could they not for this race,
Though, both try a fresh face?
Sure they could, if they’d just be cooperative.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Although it may cost me big bucks,
I like a hotel that’s deluxe.
When camping, I’m cranky --
I like things more swanky.
No breakfast buffet? Well, that sucks.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

My last boyfriend was long, lean, and lanky;
A cowboy in fact, nuthin’ swanky.
But whenever we necked
I could always expect
Him to end the night with a sweet “Thankee!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Young Gatsby’s great parties were swanky,
With lots of (wink, wink) hanky-panky.
And those not invited,
Were certainly slighted.
They were unhappy and cranky.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Babe Ruth was the ultimate Yankee;
He was larger than life, and so swanky.
His keys to success
I would bet you can’t guess -
Namely booze; cigarettes; hanky-panky.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Lying cruciform out in the sun,
I broil gently until I am done.
Frequent dips in the ocean,
Then lib’ral with lotion --
Which is rated a high forty-one.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

A cruciform, crescent, and star
Are symbols, well known wide and far.
They never will cease
To talk about peace;
But they’re phony, I think, yes they are.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The marks on my test that I dread
Are cruciform symbols in red.
I think it’s much better
When we use that letter
To represent kisses instead.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

She baked for her dear little ones.
And spent many hours to make tons
Of the cruciform rolls
That her household extols,
Her Easter morn treats, hot cross buns.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

On Good Friday we cry up a storm;
It’s when Jesus wound up cruciform.
But on Christmas, his birth
Is occasion for mirth
(Pagan rituals being the norm).
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The Republican pundit thought it was grandezza-ntis thought he had a chance to win the primary.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“How grandezza a whole day wearing nothing?” rejoiced the naturist sunbathers.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I suggest that my aquaphobia a smarmy female squid,” said Ariel to The Little Mermaid screenwriter.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“No matter what happens to her, Pollyanna’s juxtapositive kind of kid,” remarked the townspeople.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“He’s innocent, Watson. Hi-swanky-ster is his alibi,” says Sherlock in Murder at the Nudε Beach.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Darwin? Nice guy, but on our world cruciform-ed some crazy ideas,” said the HMS Beagle captain.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it. -George Marshall, US Army Chief, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Nobel laureate (31 Dec 1880-1959)

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