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AWADmail Issue 286December 23, 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 (words wordsmith.org)
Unlike most weeks in which I declare the theme of the week in advance, last week I invited readers to figure out why I had selected the five words: anthropomorphize, kafkaesque, excursive, dysphagia, and jabberwocky.
The answer is: Noel, as in "No el". Those five words used all the letters of the English alphabet except the letter L.
The first reader to submit the correct answer was Martha Harville (msharville peoplepc.com) of Midlothian, Virginia. She figured it out after just three words. Martha wins an autographed copy of my new book The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words.
This puzzle turned out to be harder than the previous yours-to-discover themes in AWAD. Of more than a thousand readers who submitted answers, only about 50 were correct. Andrew Robinson (akr eircom.net) of Donnybrook, Ireland was the lucky correct entrant randomly selected to receive another copy of the book.
A few readers discovered that those words had all the letters, except L, though they weren't sure why. A few selections:
-Danny Pasion (danny.pasion henryschein.com)
It's possible that you're turning 50 (Roman numeral L)?
A few readers (who shall remain nameless) claimed -- after seeing all five words -- that those words use all the letters of the alphabet. Here's the letter count:
Here are some of the other responses:
-Cheryl Edwards (cle lakedalelink.net)
It seems to me that the minute you tell us the reason you chose the words,
then they automatically have something in common. Catch-22, Schrödinger's
cat, paradox -- call it what you will, but the puzzle you have assigned
seems, well, paradoxical.
Are the words this week descriptions of the guests on Dr. Phil. A recent
guest thought her dog was really a person and wanted the dog to appear
in her friend's wedding.
The five words of this week use up all letters of the alphabet. However,
you've missed including 'L' and 'N'. But cheer up -- we all make mistakes.
My answer to your question is "The five words for this week have nothing
in common except that they are words."
Each of the five words also has its own domain on the Internet.
I have no idea what the theme is, but if no one else does, and they don't
send in any answers, I have a real good chance of winning your book!
That's one L of a difficult puzzle. :-)
Thanks for playing the puzzle, coming up with creative answers, trying to fit the curve. Joyeux Noel!
What is it: la is the middle, is the beginning, and the end?