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AWADmail Issue 246January 28, 2007
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 wordsmith.org)
What did the five words featured last week -- livid, vim, vivid, dilli, and immix -- have in common? Readers sent thousands of answers: wild guesses, intelligent deductions, and everything in between. For those who have not figured it out yet...
Maybe writing them in uppercase will help: LIVID, VIM, VIVID, DILLI, IMMIX.
Perhaps this will ring a bell: All the words used only these letters: MDLXVI.
The answer is: Words made from Roman numerals.
The prize, an autographed copy of my book Another Word A Day, goes to the winner, randomly selected from all the correct answers: Rita Scranton (aprilfule aol.com) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The first person to send the correct answer was Michael Blue (ajahraus telus.net) of Calgary, Canada, whose response came within minutes of the first word (livid) being published on Monday. He will receive an autographed copy of my book A Word A Day.
Thanks to all for participating. Here's a handy Roman number converter and here's a rundown of the week:
Most popular answer:
Almost got it:
The selection criterion is words having letters used for representing
Roman numerals. Since x and c are yet to make an appearance, this is
jumping the gun, but it is said that in science, an approximate answer
to an interesting and important question is better than an exact answer
to a boring and unimportant one -- and both the question and answer
satisfy at least these criteria.
So far, LIVID and VIM -- I'M rather DIM, but my LID CLIX on words
spelled with Roman numerals?
Omnia verba de numeris Latinis construita sunt.
Almost saw it:
They all appear in Chapter One of Christian Bök's epic poem Eunoia.
It looks like you're using words that can all be spelled in Roman numerals.
Please don't think that my name, in this case, is giving me a leg up!
Their only vowel is I. Does that make them narcissistic?
Most succinctly put:
Words used to describe things you may see at Australia Day fireworks:
Almost got it:
Trying too hard to find a pattern:
Are they words to describe the personality traits of a redhead? Just
seems as though each day, the word was describing one of my many moods
of the day.
Years ago, I played in a band called the Mix; I had written the band
name in block capitals on a cassette cover, and one of my fellow
students at the time quizzed me as to why my band was called "1009"!
Roman numerals, although not arranged in such a way as to be real numbers.
They are autobiographical words: no other vowels but i!
They all contain an unsettling number of 'I's. And since the theme
from this week is *mine* to discover, *I* say that I'm right.
The theme is necessary elements of a cooking show seen on television.
My guess at this week's theme: Words to describe my two ex-wives - always
livid with anger for no reason, yelling with vim over something that THEY
did wrong, dilli would apply to how it was to leave them, vivid would apply
to how they were up until the day each of them married me, and immix
describes the bi-polar personalities they exhibited.
Guessing the common trait of this week's words brings back a quotation from the comedian Steven Wright who was confronted by a friend saying "Your socks don't match!" Steven responds "Yes they do. I was going by thickness." This week's words have many things in common:
-Michael Sivertz (sivertz bnl.gov)
The pattern seems to be univocalic, strictly using 'i'.
Anyway, univocalics can be fun - some years ago we rewrote Mary's
long-suffering lamb with A, E, I and O (Martha had a small lamb, that was as
wan as wax ... Meg kept the wee sheep, the sheep's fleece resembled sleet
.... Jim's kid isn't big - its skin is whitish ... Moll's got two wool-shod
stock, who both sport wool of snow, etc.). Great fun, although you have to
change gender, species or number of animals occasionally. The one that
stumped all was `U' - I only got as far as deciding that the lamb will have
to turn into a bull or a gnu, belonging to Lulu. But I digress.
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment. -Hart Crane, poet (1899-1932)
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