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AWADmail Issue 51

October 7, 2001

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

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce.hammondATed.gov)
Subject: Re: checkmate

Hmmm, Seems to me that checks mating means a lot of loose change after a while (the jest-ation period?).

From: Marie La Salle (mlasalleATmindspring.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--zugzwang

After the shooting of 14 people in Zug this week, the Swiss government may find itself in zugzwang with regard to gun ownership.

From: Hal Lewis (hlewis26AThome.com)
Subject: FW: A.Word.A.Day--checkmate

Unfortunately, the first definition of checkmate in the 10/1/01 distribution is incorrect. There is a distinction between "defeated" and "unable to escape." The latter is a stalemate. If you are in a corner with a gun pointed at you, you are checkmated. If you are in a closet, and can't get out without being shot, you are stalemated. I imagine every chess player in the world will notice this.

From: Maria Victoria Go (maria_victoria.goATroche.com)
Subject: Words from chess

To all chess fans - I highly recommend Arturo Perez-Reverte's Flanders Panel - a mystery with clues derived from a chess game's depiction in a centuries-old painting.

From: Robert Bellin (robtbATglobalnet.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gambit

In chess, the phrase 'minor piece' has the specific connotation of knight or bishop (the queen and rooks are 'major' pieces). Non-chessplayers should also be aware that while the king, queen, rook, bishop, and knight, are pieces, the pawn is always a pawn and never referred to as a piece.

A chess glossary would define 'gambit' along the lines of: A sacrifice of material in the opening, usually a pawn, in order to obtain an advantage in another element, for example in time (manifested as a lead in development).

Robert Bellin (International Master of Chess)

From: Jim Lande (landeATerols.com)
Subject: gambit

I recently read a book about the CBs in world war II. These were the construction battalions that cleared beaches, built air fields, ran the supply lines, etc. At Normandy, Operation Gambit consisted of pocket submarines sent in to mark the way for the landing craft. One of the submariners recalled looking up the word 'gambit' and being very disquieted.

From: Dennis Falgout (dafalgoutATmactec.com)
Subject: Fun dates

What about 12:34 on May 6 1978? (12345678)

From: Jan Caughlan (jcaughlanAThchmd.org)
Subject: FW: A.Word.A.Day--checkmate

Speaking of palindromic dates, yesterday's date distinguishes itself not only as a palindrome when written in the standard shorthand 10/1/01, it is also the same when read upside down. I wonder how many dates share that distinction?

From: Rob Thilo (rthiloATearthlink.net)
Subject: Palindromic dates

I also noticed the palindromicity of the first of October on that date. Your comment caused me to see that the first 9 days of October this year are also palindromic in the format: 10/X/01.

From: Charles Stacy Richardson (stacyrATusa.net)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 50 - Latin phrases

This happened many years ago: weekend negotiations ended a bus-and-subway strike in New York, so normal service could be restored at the start of the workweek. The Daily News headlined the story, "Sick Transit's Glorious Monday".

No man has a prosperity so high or firm, but that two or three words can dishearten it; and there is no calamity which right words will not begin to redress. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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