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New issue of WordWays

The print-only journal for crazed logophiles, WordWays, has a new issue out. In it are such delights as:

Jeff Grant updates the explanations of some of the words in his 10×10 word square, which includes the “word” “Alan Browne,” an American Bank consultant listed in the 1988-89 Who’s Who in America. Sorry, Jeff, it still seems like cheating to me.

Eric Chaikin finds a sentence in Entertainment Weekly that inadvertently contains all the letters of the alphabet in just 61 letters. Thank goodness for Joaquin Phoenix!

Anil invents anacrograms: “Take the initial letter of each word in a common phrase, saying or longer quote, rearrange them and form a word or phrase that summarises or relates to it.” He calculates the fequencies of first letters in Dickens, Melville, Twain and Ian Watson.

Mike Keith reports on the results of a program he wrote to arrange the 100 tiles in Scrabble into four 5×5 double word squares (i.e., different words going across and down), using only words accepted in Scrabble. In twenty hours, his computer found 121.

Rex Gooch invents and finds antidextrous words, i.e., a word whose first half contains letters only from the second half of the alphabet, and whose second half contains letters only from the first half. E.g., unsuppliable, unoutspeakable, pronunciable, and sunnyside egg. Examples of ambidextrous words include bladder-snout and ambidextrous itself.

Jeremy Morse analyzes the frequency with which letters are not included in the 25,000 crosswords run in the London Daily Telegraph since 1925.

A Ross Eckler, the editor, has a fun piece on books about words we need or words we don’t need. “Blurb” comes from a 1914 book on words we need. “Ucalegon” — “a neighbor whose house is on fire” — is a word from Webster’s Second Unabridged that we could probably replace with “Hey, get out of your freaking house! It’s on fire!”

WordWays so needs to be a blog! [Tags: ]

5 Responses to “New issue of WordWays”

  1. David, you protest your innumeracy on every occasion possible, and then you give us an enthusiastic review that might have come out of the Mathematical Games section of an old Scientific American.

  2. Ah, but no numbers were hurt in the making of WordWays. Words I’m ok with. Numbers not so much.

    Besides, I’m not so much enthusiastic as awestruck by the minds that write those types of articles.

  3. Googling ‘ucalegon’ was surprisingly informative. With a capital U, it’s a Greek name which appears (once) in the Iliad, and translates literally as “without a care”. So I think the dictionary meaning would have been read (by those who already knew what the word meant) as “a [blithely unsuspecting] neighbour whose house is on fire [or: an innocent person about to be overcome by a disaster of which they know nothing]”.

    Q: to what extent are dictionary definitions written for readers who already know what the word means? (May depend on the dictionary.)

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