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Mar 24, 2024
This week’s theme
Words made with letters that double as musical notes

This week’s words

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Relative usage over time

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Verbing the noun, nouning the verb

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AWADmail Issue 1134

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

Sponsor’s Message: Old’s Cool Academy is a back-to-basics school offering a rigorous, one-year Classical Liberal Arts Education, traditional-skills instruction, and a paid apprenticeship. “We cultivate wiseacres.” Scholarships available. Learn more.

From: Anu Garg (words@wordsmith.org)
Subject: Musicians

Do you make music? I invited readers to share their stories and share they did. Here’s a small selection.

My wife and I have performed for years as a guitar/accordion/vocal duo. We were booked to play at a small-town festival in Ohio. The venue was an outdoor amphitheater. We arrived and were pleased to see a good crowd of families in the audience. The act immediately before us was none other than Ronald McDonald. He did his thing and left the stage, and as we approached the microphones, psyched up for our big show, the entire audience exited the amphitheater and we did our set for a crowd of no one. Many of the musicians we know have a list of “gigs from hell”. This one is near the top of ours.
-Joel Knepp, Columbus, Ohio (joelknepp outlook.com)

As a professional pianist, I have released three solo albums in the last six years, including one featuring J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I have also performed multiple times at the Kennedy Center and at some fun venues and festivals with pop bands and opera singers in Europe. Although it’s not always the most steady of a career, I feel very lucky to do what I love.
-Anne Rainwater, El Cerrito, California, (aprainh2o yahoo.com)

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Please enjoy listening to these tunes that I made from this week’s musical words. The tunes begin by introducing the notes in correct word-as-notes order; they retain that order for the opening phrase, then mix them up, and eventually bring other notes in.
ADAGE March: song, score,
ACCEDE Tarantella: song, score
EFFACE Waltz: song, score
FACADE Waltz: song, score
BEACHHEAD Two-Step: song, score
Though I taught math in high school and community college, I remained active in the University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, Ann Arbor’s Comic Opera Guild, Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra, Forest Winds Woodwind Quintet, and others.
-David Goldberg, Pinckney, Michigan (montedoro44 gmail.com)

I am a musician in the Vakili Band. Thus far, my love of words has led me to write poems, become a thespian (!), sit for the bar (and pass!), represent biotech startups (I adore ACGT), and lead a rock’n’roll band through three albums, two East Coast tours, and countless dive bars (not the legal kind).
-Lily Vakili, Montclair, New Jersey (lilyvakiliband gmail.com)

I live in a little-known city in Germany, Kassel, where the Brothers Grimm lived for some time and collected their fairy tales but also worked on their Deutsches Wörterbuch (German Dictionary). I have been making music my whole life. While my friends improved their English by listening to pop songs, I only heard the music. When they heard “There is a house in New Orleans” I just heard A minor-C-D-F.
Because in Germany, B means B flat, here is a little joke:
  Which fish is farting one half note deeper?
  Barsch (German for perch) because that fish has a B in front of his Arsch (German for ass).
After I figured that I am not a great singer and lyricist I asked my wife to fill this gap. Her mother tongue is Japanese. And although I don’t understand the words she is singing I enjoy the musical effort that the language is making to the songs I record. Take a listen.
-Philipp Hoffmann, Kassel, Germany (veaumort gmail.com)

I have been a professional musician these past 50+ years. Some countries use the solfege system to name notes. Wherein the major diatonic scale we know as C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C they name those notes as Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do (in their “fixed-Do” system, not the “moveable Do” like here in America). You may have heard that Julie Andrews song. Which brings me to my contribution to this week’s theme. It’s the most musical city in America: Laredo in Colorado. You can plunk it on the piano as A-D-C.
-Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan (joel.mabus pobox.com)

My primary occupation for 45 years has been piano tuning and repair. Many tuners these days use an electronic tuning aid for setting the pitch of each note, but I have always tuned by ear. While most pianos have 88 notes, there are usually more than 200 strings. Setting all these in the right relation to each other by ear is like solving an elaborate puzzle. It is actually the interference patterns between the harmonics of the strings that guide you in placing the individual notes precisely. It is fascinating to work within this complex world of vibrations.
When I attend a concert where a piano I have tuned is featured, it is satisfying to know that I am an invisible but critical part of the performance.
-Paul Glover, Smithers, Canada (pglover bulkley.net)

I’ve been hooked since I was 14, when during a working visit to my aunt’s sheep farm in Colorado, as I was in the barn shirking my chores, I came across a boxy shape. Opening the dusty case, I found a gold-plated King alto saxophone. Mice had nested in the bell, and the neck was missing, repurposed by my enterprising cousins as a cannabis pipe and then forever lost. Music abuse problems can be hereditary, it turns out. My grandfather had thrown his hard-earned silver miner’s wages away on the brand new instrument in 1925 and played it in ragtime bands in raucous mining town saloons and social clubs. My father, similarly afflicted, earned decent money playing swing tunes at high-school dances and weddings. I’ve since toured up and down the West Coast, sharing the stage with some recognizable names, performing at many venues of respectable size (if not reputation) and major festivals, including several memorable shows at Burning Man.
-Matt Nash, Whidbey Island, Washington (mattanash live.com)

Hearing the Harry James records my family owned, I knew by the time I was eight years old, I wanted to play the trumpet. So, I approached Mr. Barkman, the school’s music teacher and, that night, proudly showed my parents the brass beauty in the beat-up case he’d issued me. It only took days for me to realize how much I hated practicing and it only took a few weeks for Mr. Barkman to take the trumpet back, saying I didn’t “show any promise”. However, it took years for me to get the real lesson: there is a big difference between wanting to play the trumpet and wanting to learn to play the trumpet.
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

I belong to a 100-person, auditioned, mainly classical singing group, the New Haven Chorale. When the pandemic struck, there were almost immediately news stories about the dangers of spreading Covid within a singing group, placing singing in a special category of seriously dangerous activities. We suspended in-person rehearsals and went virtual.
-Linda Waldman, Guilford, Connecticut (walss aol.com)

I’m a writer and drummer in New York City. I don’t play much these days; instead I’m writing about drumming. My book-in-progress is about my unlikely 1970s teen dream of playing drums in a rock band, setting me on a collision course with my dad who said “Girls don’t play drums” and with my own naivete about marching to your own beat. It’s about choices--convention/security versus rebellion/risk--and learning that following your heart ultimately leads you home. More (and clips of me on drums) here.
-Robin Eileen Bernstein, New York, New York (robin robineileenbernstein.com)

I founded and lead the Reno/Tahoe group The String Beings. A caller wanted to know how many players were in my quartet. I paused for a second, then replied, “One more than a trio and one less than a quintet.” I don’t recall being hired for that one.
-Van Vinikow, Reno, Nevada (stringbeings aol.com)

One of the highlights of my life as a composer was the Soo Line March. As a member of the clarinet section of the Stevens Point (Wisconsin) City Band, I played many summer concerts in the park adjacent to the railroad tracks. Over the years, it was amazing how many times trains would come noisily through town just at the time that the band was playing a piece with a clarinet cadenza.
In 1978 I decided to write the locomotive into the score, and asked the Soo Line to have an engine beside the park at concert time. Then I wrote a march in traditional form, adding a cadenza for three clarinets and locomotive whistle and bells as the break strain in the trio. We sent a band member to the locomotive to play it at the proper time, following cues from the director, since in the cab of the train, the noise of the idling engine masked the sound of the band. Great fun was had by all, and next year the Soo Line March was again performed with the locomotive. However, when we contacted the Soo Line office in 1980, they sent regrets; they couldn’t afford to repeat it that summer. It turned out that the track by the bandstand was the main line through that section of Wisconsin, and rescheduling all the trains had been an expense in thousands of dollars.
The city built a bandstand on the banks of the Wisconsin River, and I rewrote the locomotive part of Soo Line March to be played by the percussion section. We played it once or twice, but it just wasn’t the same.
-Eugenia Schuler, Kerrville, Texas (mushillsschuler gmail.com)

Neither my wife nor I have a shred of musical talent. Yet somehow, the four-letter DNA alphabet you reference managed in our case to recombine in a way that produced a musical daughter. As a young adult, she labored in obscurity for 14 years as a total unknown trying to make it as a musical theater actor in New York. Then the stars freakishly aligned in her favor. Two years ago she landed the part of understudy for Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. This is the role that made Barbra Streisand famous. Still, she was only the understudy, with the hope of going on perhaps a handful or two of times over the course of a year or so.
When Covid and other illnesses and issues made first one leading lady and then the next unavailable, she was thrust into the limelight and wound up playing the role over 180 times. She won critical acclaim as well as various awards and was approached for TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews. She was named by various publications as Broadway breakout star of the year. Within the small world of New York theater, suddenly she became a name.
Here she is two weeks ago headlining a Broadway benefit concert for LGBTQ health and social services: video (5 min.)
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I’m a singer/guitarist. I play all types of gigs and styles of music: weddings, divorces, birthday parties, proposals, bathroom remodels (true story!), memory care, retirement homes, busking, and more. I’ll even write comedic/satirical songs for the featured birthday person. Half off for any previous bride or groom that used my services for their first wedding.
-Bruce Brill, Oakland, California (bruce.bruce sbcglobal.net)

“Play your own way,” said Thelonious Monk, and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve used at least one word I learned from you, scamander, as a composition title. It’s on my album “Covid Variation”, which you can hear HERE.
-Denman Maroney, Durfort, France (denman denmanmaroney.com)

I combined my two careers as writer and musician in authoring The Musician, a novel that captures the life as shared by musicians everywhere, from immersion in their craft to the joy of playing music well and with others to the frustrations associated with committing a lifetime to such an unstructured and typically unrewarded career.
-Mike Shaw, Atlanta, Georgia (shaw shadecommunications.com)

I’ve been a cellist for 50 years and have performed in Woodstock 25, Attica State Prison, weddings, small halls and clubs, etc. For the past eight years I have played with the United Nations Symphony. But my favorite has always been playing chamber music with friends just for fun.
-Charles Baldwin, Darien, Connecticut (charlesbaldwin yahoo.com)

I play the guitar and trumpet, and have recorded a CD. I never got famous from it, but it’s a record of my songs that I’ve written, and maybe something that my daughter will care for when she gets older.
-Bruce Nash, California (Brucefnash outlook.com)

I am a singer-songwriter, who has been writing at least one song a day since 2012. I have 20 solo albums.
-T Five Valladares, Boulder, Colorado (tfiver hotmail.com)

I have been creating music for over 50 years now, starting with piano miniatures when I was 19. I have continued to create and release music to this day. Most of what I do is experimental, “avant garde” as in the advanced music of the 1960s-70s.
-Tom Furgas, Youngstown, Ohio (tofu4879 gmail.com)

From: Saundra D’Amato (sdamato100 aol.com)
Subject: musical letter words

Music teachers have been coming up with these for years to help teach kids to read the notes on the lines and spaces- they’ll draw the notes that would spell EGG, DAD, BAG, and the like, and the kids have to come up with the word. The best one is FACE because it corresponds to the spaces in the treble clef!

Saundra D’Amato, Memphis, Tennessee

From: Scott Swanson (harview montana.com)
Subject: Notable Words

I managed to figure out how to use the old Linux “grep” program to find all the words meeting this week’s specs. Found 61 of them.

abbe abed accede acceded ace ad adage add added age aged babe bad bade badge bag baggage bagged be bead beaded bed bedded bee beef beefed beg begged cab cabbage cafe cage caged cede ceded dad dead deaf decade deed deeded deface ebb edge edged egg egged facade facaded face faced fade faded fag fed fee feed gab gad gag gagged

I was going to find my old guitar and play all of them. But people would’ve gagged by the time I reached the end.

Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana

You missed at least one. To say you found them all was an unfortunate gaffe.
-Anu Garg.

From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: This week’s theme

If you skip G, then you have the letters used to make up the extra digits in hexadecimal. Programmers from time immemorial have used these letters to spell out hexspeak words like DEADBEEF.

When I constructed an outdoor barbecue for our house, I had this sign made for it “DEADBEEF Tell No Tales” which is also a Pirates of the Caribbean reference.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

From: Brent Minder (bminder gmail.com)
Subject: building blocks

Musicians have seven notes, life has four building blocks, but as a programmer, my code is ultimately transpiled and compiled into just two notes: 0 and 1. But we can do quite a lot with those zeros and ones.

Brent Minder, Atlanta, Georgia

From: Tony Whittaker (antony.whittaker bigpond.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--facade

I am not sure about other parts of the world, but the use of “facade” as a verb has taken off here in Melbourne, Australia, over the last 10 years at least. To facade a building (along with facading and facadism) is where the attractive facade at street level (and maybe a few stories higher) of an old building is kept and the rest of the old building is demolished, to allow a skyscraper to be built behind and above, or on top of the old building. The allows the streetscape to nominally retain the attractive facade while the (usually ugly) new building extends upward.

This usage combines both the literal and figurative meanings of the word.

It has been quite controversial here and some classic old buildings here in Melbourne have been demolished and “facaded” over recent years. It is often seen as a nod only to heritage protection of old buildings, while allowing their demolition and replacement.

Not sure how old this use is, but I found a newspaper article (permalink) from 2013 in which “facading” was used, so it dates back at least that far.

Tony Whittaker, Melbourne, Australia

From: Cindy Moyer (cm4 humboldt.edu)
Subject: Musical letters

In German, the name of E-flat is Es, which any number of composers have used to represent the letter S. Thus Dmitri Shostakovich writes D-S-C-H = D-Eb-C-B as his name in much music, possibly most notably in the 8th String Quartet.

Cindy Moyer, Chair, Department of Dance, Music, and Theatre, Professor of Violin, Viola, Music Theory, Cal Poly Humboldt, Arcata, California

From: Mary Boy (mary.miller.boy googlemail.com)
Subject: Musical scale

The development of the 8-letter musical system is explained here.

Mary Boy, Falkensee, Germany

Hello Dolly!
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: facade and adage

The Queen of Country Music, Dolly Parton’s engaging persona, expressed in her big hair (wigs), big bosom (implants) and hillbilly glitz, I’d contend is a kind of facade. And she’d be one of the first to acknowledge it. Claiming, early in her career, that she wasn’t “naturally pretty”, Dolly once boasted that “if something is bagging, sagging, or dragging, I’ll tuck, sυck, or pluck it.”

If the Adage Fits, Wear It
The usage example for our word “adage”, attributed to a quote from Honoré Balzac... “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.”, was tailor-made for Trump. His alleged personal fortune that he boasts to be in the billions, in truth, is a fraction of that grossly inflated sum. Here, I’ve depicted Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculpture of Balzac, come-to-life, confronting Trump.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Words made with letters that double as musical notes
1. Adage
2. Accede
3. Efface
4. Facade
5. Beachhead
= 1. Wise saw
2. Succeeded, became head chef
3. Eradicate
4. Shaded hat, false face, sham tooth, smile
5. Take wet battleground
= 1. Teachable truth mama deemed wise
2. We assent
3. Debase
4. Guise, charade; face
5. Foothold which deflected sea attacks
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
This week: With letters that double as musical notes
1. Adage
2. Accede
3. Efface
4. Facade
5. Beachhead
= 1. Use cliché
2. Concur with
3. Abolish, waste
4. Fake face/éclat
5. Defeated the hated & made a staged base
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

1. Adage
2. Accede
3. Efface
4. Facade
5. Beachhead
= 1. Each a daff
2. Cede
3. Dab
4. Each a face
5. Ace edge
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Papa’s adage ‘bout early to bed,
So impressed me, I did as he said.
Only later did I
Learn the true reason why --
He and Mama still felt newly wed.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

What glitters is not always gold.
This adage I’ve often been told.
So have that appraised --
You may be amazed
How worthless the “treasure” you hold.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

There’s an adage that’s not very new.
And it states, “To thine own self be true.”
For crying out loud,
Don’t follow the crowd.
Because only the true you will do.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Something good can be in a small package,”
Sighed Stormy, “or so goes the adage.
But so poorly endowed,
How come Donald’s allowed
To flout laws, and democracy ravage?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


At her job she was good, yes indeed;
And it seemed she was sure to succeed.
But her boss, a real cad,
Prurient plans for her had;
And to those she just wouldn’t accede.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Trump’s made some outrageous requests.
Who’ll lend him the sums he suggests?
Not one bank will accede,
For it’s risky indeed
Considering all his arrests.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Quite happy here, let it be known
Yes, I’d rather sit home all alone
Than accede to your plea
For a drink (even tea!)
And fall prey to your testosterone!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Donald Trump is a man with a need.
To be president, he must accede.
For if he does fail,
He’ll wind up in jail,
And he’ll pay for his crimes, and his greed.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“If at trial delays I succeed,
To the Oval I’ll once more accede,”
Figured Donald. “That house
Will be safe from my spouse
And Jack Smith - it fulfills every need.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


To efface is to minimise you:
Very often, a good thing to do.
But where love is concerned
One might risk being spurned,
So, be bold and speak up when you woo.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Can grandiloquent Trump self-efface
After losing the ‘24 race?
To be humbled he’ll need
Lots of help, yes indeed.
And for that, a small cell’s just the place.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Though many awards he has won,
All honors my friend tends to shun.
He’s most self-effacing;
Acclaim he’s not chasing,
Since fame he just doesn’t find fun.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

At the lake where I’ve lived for a year
There are rocks, and on many appear
Notes that no one’s erased.
If they were effaced
There’d be so much less character here!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

His stump speeches are a disgrace,
With words one should quickly efface.
And the thoughts that he’s spread,
Full of doom. Full of dread.
Democracy’s end we will face.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I beat Kings, Queens, and Jacks,” said the Ace;
“Every card in the deck I efface.
I bring winnings galore
To the tart I adore:
My sweet Joker, in satin and lace.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I’m unhappy, distraught, full of woe.
I’m afraid that my anguish will show.
See my smile? A facade!
It’s a great gift from God
That I’m able to hide what’s below.
-David Goldberg, Pinckney, Michigan (montedoro44 gmail.com)

“Behind their rambunctious facade,
Neo-Nαzis”, said Donald, the clod,
“Are good people like us.
So, what’s all that fuss?
I love them all. Honest to God.”
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Her boyfriend she thought truly odd.
He had such a tough guy facade.
Instead he was gentle,
And so sentimental.
They’d take quiet walks on the quad.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Behind my ‘Almighty’ facade,
There’s not much I can help with,” sighed God.
“All the chaos down there
Can’t be cured with a prayer,
So along you will just have to plod.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


In the case of seduction, you can
Allow progress in stages. Your man
Must believe that first kiss
Is a beachhead. Then, Miss,
Help the blockhead move on, à la plan.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

The course we must follow is clear:
We’ll set up a beachhead right here.
From this spot in the mall
We’ll have access to all --
The shops we must visit are near.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“For keeping wife, children, and me fed,
Must establish in Europe a beachhead,”
Said Oog. “Will go out
Of East Africa; drought
Means can walk there across former seabed.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If you adage-s of Biden and Trump together, it will leave you totally depressed.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“If I adage-rund week to the schedule, all the words will end in -ing, and what will the bleeping limerick writers do then?” schemed Anu.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Z-accede-d the lawn with a top grass seed product, but still not a blade would grow.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“A log cabin and firewood? There’s no accede-n is always warm and sunny, Adam,” explained the Lord.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Quit shouting, I’m not d-efface,” said the suspect to the angry pet detective.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His mild manner hid the sadist that lurked inside. His psychiatrist called him, “The Marquis Facade”.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Do re me facade, now will you stop torturing me about the notes of the scale?” said the music student to the famously cruel marquis.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He grew up in Long Beachhead-lined the article in Newsday on Billy Crystal.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Eef you theenk I’m a beachhead for your own bedroom again tonight,” said Melania.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Endless Love
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Endless Love

It’s no secret that Trump admires autocratic world leaders. He’s praised the likes of Turkey’s Erdogan, Hungary’s Orbán, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Brazil’s Bolsonaro. According to Trump, “Hitler did some good things.” But his favorite dictator is Putin, who just secured his sixth term in a totally farcical, rigged election. Putin would be ecstatic if his puppet, Trump, were to win this 2024 election. Le Grand Orange would be putty in Putin’s bloodied hands.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. -William Morris, designer, poet, and novelist (24 Mar 1834-1896)

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