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Mar 3, 2019
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Tosspot words

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AWADmail Issue 870

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

Sponsor’s Message: Dreading the kids coming home for winter break? Try One Up!ping them -- it’s a cutthroat hoot guaranteed to turn everyone into “greedy, self-serving punks” if they all aren’t already. Wicked smarter than Scrabble. And way better than Bananagrams. No board. No complicated rules. 20 or so fast and sweaty minutes. Rinse (off your ego), and repeat. Congrats to Email of the Week winner, Danielle Austin (see below), as well as all AWADers -- you can show the young ‘uns who’s boss, and give them a lesson in humility too for less than a Jackson. Wise your family up now >

From: Tom Mullool (tmullooly foley.com)
Subject: Tosspot

Will the Mueller report be a trump-trump?

Tom Mullooly, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

From: Prunella Barlow (prunella shaw.ca)
Subject: Tosspot words

There is the old pub game shove ha’penny (half-penny, a now extinct coin).

Prunella Barlow, North Vancouver, Canada

From: Alexander Drysdale (acd1 iprimus.com.au)
Subject: Catchall

Any good Scot from the Edinburgh/Glasgow valley will have in their shed a cultch pile, probably in a box on the bench. It is a place where anything that is waiting to be sorted out is put and the receptacle of all sorts of odds and ends. A treasure trove of what-nots, thing-a-me-jigs and dim-a-dongs.

Alexander Drysdale, Lyndhurst, Australia

From: Sheila Ryan (sheilaeryan gmail.com)
Subject: Renoir quotation

The pain passes but the beauty remains. -Pierre-Auguste Renoir, artist [responding to Matisse on why he painted in spite of his painful arthritis] (25 Feb 1841-1919)

I have arthritis. Renoir had arthritis. Lots of people have arthritis. For a long time I thought I was the only one. But Renoir was right, pain passes, but beauty remains so I sketch, play my drum, write essays, and enjoy the beauty of each day.

Sheila Ryan, Sebring, Florida

From: Amy Ho (kidzmusic rogers.com)
Subject: Thought for Today

In the past 16 years, I had experienced four deaths in my family (my parents, sister, and husband) who lived under the same roof with me. That kind of pain is indescribable. The pain passes, the wound heals but the beauty remains. I find myself more compassionate, understanding for the sick and the unfortunate.

Amy Ho, Richmond Hill, Canada

From: Francis Williamson (williamson sapo.pt)
Subject: Pinchpenny

For most of the history of British currency, the penny was not the smallest denomination - it was not even the second smallest. We had the halfpenny (ha’penny) and the farthing (a quarter of a penny), both of which I used in my childhood and youth. The farthing was in use until 1960 and the ha’penny until 1969.

Francis Williamson, Algarve, Portugal

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--scrapegut

In the days before TV, the comedian Jack Benny had a popular radio program. One of the recurring jokes about him was that he played the violin, but not well. (He was actually fairly good.) On one program, they asked his teacher (played by Mel Blanc, a master of foreign accents) exactly what Mr. Benny’s playing was like. He said, “You must remember that the bow strings are made of horse hair, and the violin strings are made of cat gut. So imagine the sound of a horse stepping on a cat.”

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Thought of the day

Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman. -Marian Anderson, singer (27 Feb 1897-1993)

Carl Jung writes about the “shadow” that lurks in each human psyche. Jung says the shadow is each person’s sense of his or her “creature inferiority, the thing he most wants to deny.” Jung goes on to say that the person wants to get away from the sense of his troubling inferiority; he wants “to jump over his own shadow.” Of course the easiest way, the most efficient way for the frightened person, is “by looking for everything dark, inferior, and culpable in others.” In short, most of us, instead of facing the fear within us, project our fear on “an outside object”. The objects, outsiders usually, different from us, bigger noses, those who speak gibberish and dress absurdly are, to slake our fear, “combated, punished, and exterminated ‘as the alien out there’.”

Again, we hunt the scapegoat, go outside of ourselves, eagerly bonding with those of our kind, instead trying to deal with “the inner problem” of both the individual and the group to which a person aligns himself or herself. Perhaps now would be a good time to reflect a moment on Auschwitz or, for that matter, a Nuremberg rally in the late thirties. Under the precise goose-stepping and the panoply of seemingly innumerable Nazi flags and the stirring music -- the intoxicating ritual of it all -- lay hidden “the shadow.”

Jung says that humankind “wants a statue and a destiny that is impossible: he wants an earth that is not an earth but a heaven.” And of course the appalling cost “for this kind of fantastic ambition is to make the earth an ever more eager graveyard that it naturally is.”

Jung, blunter than either Freud or Rank, states unequivocally and uncompromisingly that “the principal and indeed the only thing that is wrong with the world is man.” The gods always favor our side, don’t they?

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Jill Sidders (jill.sidders gmail.com)
Subject: Pinchgut

Squeezegut Alley is a very narrow little passage in Whitstable, Kent, England. You’re advised not to try squeezing through this if you have an, um, fuller figure.

Jill Sidders, Sittingbourne, UK

From: Jan Napiorkowski (rakehell23 gmail.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--rakehell

How confusing to see today’s subject given my email address, which I’ve had for a very long time and now have another I use for more sober matters. I genuinely thought I was being addressed rather more intimately than usual, perhaps by a Nigerian Prince.

Jan Napiorkowski, Melbourne, Australia

From: Nancy R Wilson (wilsonna sonic.net)
Subject: rakehell

Rakehell reminded me of an unforgettable moment on Jeopardy! The category was “Also a Garden Tool”. The answer was “A person of low or immoral character”. The intended, expected question was “What is a rake?” Long-time champion Ken Jennings rang in, and with a disconcerted look, hesitantly asked “What is a hoe?” There followed the longest, heartiest laughter ever heard on the show.

Nancy R Wilson, Petaluma, California

From: Sheila Ryan (sheilaeryan gmail.com)
Subject: Rakehell

Most women are intrigued by bad boys, me too, so bring on the rakehells.

Sheila Ryan, Sebring, Florida

From: Andrew Lloyd (knockroe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rakehell

It is good to rub and polish your mind against that of others. -Michel de Montaigne, essayist (28 Feb 1533-1592)

Montaigne quotation allllmost right. Original is about the virtues of travel

Il faut voyager pour frotter et limer sa cervelle contre celle d’autrui. (Travel is necessary to scrub and abrade your mind against [the certainties] of others.)

... otherwise you’re in an echo chamber.

Andrew Lloyd, Knockroe, Ireland

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Playing mind games is serious fun >

From: Danielle Austin (danielle13 san.rr.com)
Subject: do-all

The answer for me was simple, a do-all is a primary or elementary teacher! Not only do they collect and impart knowledge, they are chefs, nurses, counselors, and clothing suppliers, as well as artists, writers, mathematicians, coaches, and more.

Danielle Austin, San Diego, California

From: Chip Taylor (via website comments)
Subject: duel saw

While in college I worked part-time at a company that built carpet machines (huge sewing machines that make carpets). On my first day there, one of the mechanics I was assisting told me to take a long metal pipe down to the duel saw and cut it to specs. Dutifully I hoisted the heavy pipe on my shoulder and started off looking for a duel saw, whatever that might be. After fruitlessly wandering the aisles of the huge manufacturing shop, I finally stopped and asked someone where the duel saw was. He laughed and asked me if I meant the Do-All saw. I sheepishly admitted that it might be what I was looking for.

Chip Taylor

From: Ragan Haggard (rhaggard austin.rr.com)
Subject: tosspot words

Another good old tosspot is knitbone, an early word for the plant comfrey. “Comfrey’s original name, knitbone, derives from the external use of poultices of its leaves and roots to heal burns, sprains, swelling, and bruises.” (source)

Ragan Haggard, Austin, Texas

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Scrapegut & rakehell

In seeing this week’s word “scrape-gut” for the first time... ever, prior to ultimately reading its definition and curious etymology, I was immediately struck by the harsh tonality of its components, i.e., “scrape” and “gut”. In light of my initial aural take, I thought of the dissonant (read grating) sound of a badly played violin, harkening back to rank amateur fiddler, Jack Benny, who thankfully didn’t relinquish his “day job” as one of our great American standup comedians, in favor of pursuing a vocation as a professional “scrape-gut”. Benny would likely admit that he played AT the fiddle, rather than ON it... considered one of the most difficult musical instruments to master. Benny would often incorporate his passable fiddling into his standup comedy routines. Here, I’ve pictured the droll, low-key Benny “screeching out” a tune, as my signature froggy covers his ear patches in protest. Ha!

In reflecting on this unfamiliar word, “rakehell”, I conjured up a scenario where two of 18th-century Europe’s most infamous roués -- Frenchman, The Marquis de Sade, and Venetian native-son, Giacomo Casanova, confront one another. To this very day, the name “Casanova” is synonymous with the word “womanizer”. And yet the real-life Casanova found time away from his innumerable licentious dalliances to hobnob with European royals, cardinals, popes, and the occasional pauper, counting the likes of Mozart, Voltaire, and Goethe as close friends. De Sade, the quintessential poster-boy for libertine promiscuity, with a decided perverse, dare I say painful bent, through both lecherous deeds and written word, was so notorious in his day that his last name has given us the clinical psychological term, “sadism”. Astonishingly, he spent slightly over 30 years of his allotted 74 mortal years confined in prisons for various dangerous liaisons, and political transgressions; even doing a stretch in the Bastille during the tumultuous period of the French Revolution. Casanova and De Sade... rakehells-in-arms!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words


1. catchall
2. pinchpenny
3. scrape-gut
4. rakehell
5. do-all
1. cellar
2. cheap pal
3. pluck string
4. hellcat
5. handy one
     Tosspot words
1. catchall
2. pinchpenny
3. scrape-gut
4. rakehell
5. do-all
1. receptacle (nowt lost)
2. snudge
3. skripach
4. all trollops
5. handy chap
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

If your boss is really a jerk,
Suck up if you’re only a clerk.
You just need a catchall
So that you can scratch all
The backs of each boss there at work.
-Jeanie Joaner Garrett (joanersings gmail.com)

A wall’s his catchall solution;
There can be no substitution
To stop the invasion
Of non-Caucasian --
This wisdom’s Trump’s contribution.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Dysfunctional” is certainly a catchall word.
It describes cells that chew airtime and charge -- absurd!
And my present air-conditioner
That has become a “pensioner”!
And the crash of my computer that has just occurred.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“Though religions in Rome are a catchall,
My new one is game, set and match, Paul,”
Came a voice from above,
“In Damascus, preach love;
You’ll do great, even make Caesar’s hacks bawl.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Mr. Scrooge, you will surely agree
was the ultimate pinchpenny. He
squeezed coins oh so tightly
till ghosts frightened him nightly
into losing his grip with great glee!
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

Our hung-up neighbor was quite a pinchpenny.
When Doc prescribed medicines many,
he deterred by costs high,
would delay the next buy;
just pat the pills some days, not take any.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Pinchpenny, with riches galore
Saw some girl scouts with cookies and more.
“Kind sir, will you buy?”
He said “When pigs fly”.
And angrily slammed shut the door.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

D T is a pinchpenny sure,
Especially for those that are poor.
The rich never wait
For his big tax rebate,
And the senate ass kisses him more.
-John Willcocks, Indianapolis, Indiana (johnwillcocks comcast.net)

A pinchpenny she just is not,
And yet, she does not spend a lot.
I’d say she’s just right.
Though not at all tight,
She tends not to splurge on the spot.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

If your date takes you out to a Denny’s,
He’s the last of the world’s great pinchpennies.
Girl, that stack of pancakes
Tells you put on the brakes;
His tightfistedness rivals Jack Benny’s.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

With no thoughts of any disgrace
The scrapegut played tunes for his base.
In the sea of red hats
Stood one large vampire bat
Doublespeaking with egg on his face.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Benny played pretty decently but
his shtick was to play like a scrapegut
who could empty a room
when he killed “Love in Bloom”
and then, full of false modesty, strut.
-Zelda Dvoretzky. Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Of all quirky scrapeguts there be,
throughout music and art history,
Ingres’s playing was perverse
his violin they would curse --
’twas his tableaux they gathered to see!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

“Hey diddle-diddle!” we cry,
as the dish and the spoon say goodbye.
Dog laughs, mouth agape, but
unfazed, the cat scrapegut
plays tunes while the cow moons the sky.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In the arts, whether actor or scrapegut,
To wealth you’ll encounter the gate shut.
When from business I switched
And to AWAD was hitched,
By a hundred percent was my rate cut.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Most people can’t honestly tell
What draws women to a rakehell.
It’s that bad boy lure
That makes them endure
Though so often being treated like hell.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Does the story of Byron ring a bell?
Or what would Casanova’s biographer tell?
History narrates,
And gives us dates
Of behaviour, actions, and many a rakehell.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

A roué, rascal, and rakehell,
All these words describe rather well,
Famous lothario,
That we all ought to know,
Don Juan, and the conquests he’d tell.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

With an ego as thin as an eggshell,
This creature behaves like a rakehell.
Though Zeus in Greek myth
Would have slain it forthwith,
“He and God,” says Ms. Sanders, “relate well.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The do-all went to a pasta buffet
And since he does nothing halfway
The abominable yeti
While scarfing spaghetti
Decamped while forgetting to pay.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

M. Cohen made a terrible call
By becoming The Donald’s do-all.
When the Prez said to jump,
He obliged Mister Trump.
Now he’s watching his universe fall.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Poor Jared, the President’s do-all,
Seems likely to soon in the soup fall.
To help him in coping
With prison he’s hoping
His cellmate’s not someone like RuPaul.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Tosspot words

To start, here are some tosspot despots for you. Now to the puns...

If yuh’ll buy a sloop or catchall teach yuh to sail it.

While Odysseus was away did suitors pinchpenny?

I’m fiddling with this bandage because my scrapegut infected. It’s viol looking.

Guys in the ‘60s thought Rakehell Welch WAS one.

Why are they called do-all braking systems when they only STOP your car?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: Throw marijuana (I mean, tosspot) words

The mediocre baseball outfielder couldn’t catchall of the fly balls.

When Penelope falls asleep in church, one quiet way to wake her up is to pinchpenny.

The baseball coach warned his daredevil player about sliding headfirst into second base, so as to avoid scrape-gut.

If you need a tool to gather fallen leaves, a rakehell do just fine.

If you go outside early on some mornings with high humidity, you’ll get do-all over you.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

If there be such a thing as truth, it must infallibly be struck out by the collision of mind with mind. -William Godwin, philosopher and novelist (3 Mar 1756-1836)

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