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AWADmail Issue 704

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

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

Why It’s a Good Sign If You Curse a Lot
The Washington Post

Newsmakers 2015: The Year’s New Words

A Festival of Language for the Good of Yiddish
The New York Times

From: Jascha Kessler (urim.urim gmail.com)
Subject: pinchbeck

Some four+ decades ago, my wife, Julia Barrett, author of four wide-selling and variously translated Jane Austen sequels, bought a folding lorgnette in Bath: pinchbeck. That was during research for her first, Presumption. She had the lenses changed and wore it on a chain to theater and opera to read programs. An elegant piece of early Victorian vintage. Admired everywhere in the US as exotic -- and taken for gold, of course.

Jascha Kessler, Santa Monica, California

From: Gary Muldoon (gmuldoon muldoongetz.com)
Subject: pinchbeck

The word pinchbeck evokes the song “Ya Got Trouble” in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, in which Prof. Harold Hill warns of, among other things, your son playing for money in a pinchback suit. (video, 5 min.)

Gary Muldoon, Rochester, New York

Some other readers were reminded of this song from the musical. While it appears the word pinchbeck would fit in this context, pinchback/pinch-back is something different. It’s a style of close-fitting coat with a pinched or pleated back. (See pictures)
-Anu Garg

From: Dor Hale (dhale3ca live.com)
Subject: Jayhawker

If you ever lived where jaybirds are common, then you may know the term “guilty as a jaybird”. Back East 50 yrs ago, I recall my mom cooling freshly baked pies on the kitchen’s broad windowsill, only to discover them “sampled” by the jaybirds. She’d point at them and utter “You’d take the lined laundry if it was edible.” We have hawks out in these parts who love to chase the jays, flying in quite a fast and furious chase after them, at mid-tree level. If caught, the jays become prey, their mocking irritating and egging on the hawks’ chasing. We’ve seen them catch the jays in their feet mid-air. Thank you for that Day’s Word - a glimpse into the blue jay, red jay, or black jay.

Dor Hale, Santa Ana, California

From: Steven Baird (stevenkbaird cs.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jayhawker

Cool how Kansas Governor Sam Brownback could be used in a sentence for both meanings.

Steven Baird, Miami, Florida

From: Camille Coelho (camillec67 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--expergefacient

This is what we need! An unpronounceable word for coffee!

Camille Coelho, Medford, Massachusetts

From: Pierre-Alexandre Sicart (pa_sicart hotmail.com)
Subject: Noelgram

The quick brown fox jumps over a crazy dog. (Yeah, I didn’t try very hard.)

Pierre-Alexandre Sicart, Midi-Pyrenees, France

From: Jean Babcock (jean.babcock att.net)
Subject: Noelgrams

“The quick brown fox jumps over a zany dog” comes to mind.

Jean Babcock, Manchester, Missouri

From: Jonathan Knisely (jknisely nshs.edu)
Subject: Noelgram

The quick brown fox jumps over a hazy dog.

Jonathan Knisely, New Haven, Connecticut

From: Cathy Flynn (rncmf aol.com)
Subject: Joyeux No“L”

Here’s my attempt: Voracious readers may have zeroed in on the joker’s query but what great experience did it offer?

Cathy Flynn, Brooklyn, New York

From: David Schatzky (davidschatzky hotmail.com)
Subject: Noelgram

Xmas wishes for Anu Garg, best-ever word-quest king: justice, zen peace, harmony, merry times!

David Schatzky, Toronto, Canada

Email of the Week - Brought to you by The Wicked/Smart Word Game - UnMerrying Christmas since 2005.

From: Frank Belvin (frank.belvin alum.mit.edu)
Subject: No bell

This week’s theme brought to mind the following:

When I was living in the Boston area some years ago, I occasionally played chamber music with William Lipscomb, a Harvard faculty member, who was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1976. Bill was quite an accomplished clarinetist, and we enjoyed playing chamber music at his Belmont house. Often our pianist was Stephen Morris, who also composed.

Some time after our learning of Bill’s having been awarded the Nobel prize, Steve came for an evening of music, and presented Bill with the score of a recent composition of his. It was a chamber piece written for a sizable group. I don’t recall the instrumentation, and I never heard it performed, but Steve made sure that we looked at the score, and he had us pay particular attention to the stave labeled “Bell”. We weren’t quick enough on the uptake, and he had to point out to us that the bell part had no notes assigned, meaning that his piece was a “no bell” piece.

Frank Belvin, Berkeley, California

From: Liam Proven (lproven gmail.com)
Subject: quotation for today

Men build too many walls and not enough bridges. -Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, and philosopher (25 Dec 1642-1727) This appears to be a misattribution.

Just thought you’d like to know -- it was the wrong Newton. Thanks for a most entertaining and educational mailing list!

Liam Proven, Brno, Czech Republic

Thanks for the correction. We’ve updated the quotation and the attribution on the website now.
-Anu Garg

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

All five words, plus this title, are equal to the one anagram:
1. quoz
2. vidimus
3. pinchbeck
4. jayhawker
5. expergefacient
= 1. odd, queer
2. legal evaluation
3. zinc-copper mix, cheap jewelry
4. fighter, Kansas native
5. wakes us from the quilt habit
The complete text in the right box is an anagram of the complete text in the left (each individual line is not an anagram of the corresponding line in the other box).
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

When I work Hahvahd Yahd pahkin’ cahs
There ain’t nobody calls me a quoz
But in Kansas one week
They all thought me a freak
‘Cause my accent, it ain’t Wichita’s.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the priest when we lined up for vidimus
Self-touching is not dignified of us
“Surrender to lust,
And you’ll burn, boys,” he fussed
But his words with his deeds were dichotomous.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Two divers discovered a shipwreck.
Exploring below the ship’s slick deck,
they found in the hold
what they thought was pure gold-
but alas, it was only some pinchbeck.

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The glow of romance may be pinchbeck
Depending on how big’s your paycheck
Melania Trump
Really swoons for that chump?
A Slovenian girl likes a kopek.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

You bid me come, and I do;
you bid me wait, and I’m true.
It might seem unfair,
except that I care,
for my expergefacient ... is you.

-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Graham’s Groaners

Might we call The Hunchback’s odd bell-ringing “quozi modal?”

Military recruits ask, “Vidimus drill sergeants hold so many inspections?”

They disagree on Trump’s genuineness, so Sean Hannity wants to pinchbeck.

Believing Gatsby could pimp Daisy on the streets, Nick said, “Jay, hawk ‘er.”

My former wife, the nurse, administers emetics. You should see my ex purge a patient.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Words are a commodity in which there is never any slump. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

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