Friday, October 30, 2009
Let's have a look at some statistics:
5 wins, 8 blanks, 12 bonuses,8 phoneys(6 challenged off) 3693 points
Bonuses played: Aerobes, Longers, Betaken, Mausolea, Torrents,
Timider, Mudiria, Renoted*(Erodent is valid), Ooriest, Nidating,
2. Dan Laurentiu Sandu
4 wins, 10 blanks, 12 bonuses, 6 phoneys(all challenged off), 3490 points
Overpast, Gardens, Toasted, Melodica, Soutanes, Bornite, Serafin,
Euglenas, Loiters, Areoles, Returned, Notates.
I have already congratulated Mihai on his win and sent my commiserations to Dan. Together we will try not to lose the 2 spots Romania has for the WSC. If the tile Gods are with us, we could even earn a third spot. Let's see what happens!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Let's have a look at the "-vvy" words allowed in Scrabble.
BEVVY = an alcoholic drink [n BEVVIES]to engage in a drinking session [v BEVVIED, BEVVYING, BEVVIES]
BIVVY = to go on a bivouac [v BIVVIED, BIVVYING, BIVVIES]
CIVVY = a civilian (a nonmilitary person) [n CIVVIES]
DIVVY= to divide (to separate into different parts) [v DIVVIED, DIVVYING, DIVVIES]
LUVVY= an entertainer, especially a camp one, also LUVVIE [n LUVVIES]
NAVVY= to work as a labourer [v NAVVIED, NAVVYING, NAVVIES]
SAVVY to understand [v SAVVIED, SAVVYING, SAVVIES]shrewd (having keen insight) [adj SAVVIER, SAVVIEST]
CHIVVY = to chase about, also CHEVY, CHIVY [v CHIVVIED, CHIVVYING, CHIVVIES]
SKIVVY = to work as a female servant [v SKIVVIED, SKIVVYING, SKIVVIES]
SPIVVY flashy (gaudy (tastelessly showy)) [adj SPIVVIER, SPIVVIEST]
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The kitchen of a Romanian family living in Japan, one late morning in October. It’s a glorious autumn morning, with mellow golden light flowing gently into our kitchen and bringing in the crisp smell of leaves and the flavour of childhood memories. I’m cooking. I hear Adrian coming down the stairs—he must have thought that it’s dangerous to linger any longer in front of the computer while I’m making lunch. He enters the kitchen carrying his laptop and typing with one hand, so only his excellent reflexes save him from the imminent collision with the table. I’m happy thinking of our small serene family and Adrian smiles too. He settles comfortably into a chair, one leg on another chair (posture that drives me absolutely crazy!) and asks innocently:
“Do you know what word you get if you add an O to CARMEN?”
“No idea.” I don’t even bother considering it. Words are HIS hobby. My words come in sentences, not in lists or letter scrambles.
“Oh, come on! Think about it! CARMEN + O"
All of a sudden, the autumn light seems somehow colder. I’m chopping onions and my grasp on the knife handle tightens.
“I don’t want to think about it!”
“CARMEN + O is ROMANCE! Don't you like it?”
I’ve half forgiven him when the next question pops up.
“How about CARMEN + H?”
I’m mashing potatoes now. Does he realize that it’s not such a brilliant idea to mess with someone who’s armed? A grin of satisfaction spreads on his face.
“ENCHARM!” he announces. I manage a smile and wonder if he puts this quiz into the “romantic quality time spent with my wife” category. If so, he’s sweet after all… until I hear the next question.
“How about CARMEN + E?”
“I don’t know and don’t want to know!”
Adrian grabs his computer and says making his way out:
“Out! I yell, menacingly waving the potato masher. Adrian’s face appears for a few seconds in one of the glass squares of the door:
“CARMEN + T?”
I grin back:
“CARMEN + T? Hmm… no lunch today, right?”
Although I don’t recommend this activity if you’re trying to organize a romantic encounter with your partner, here are some CARMEN + words. If words were diamonds…
1. CARMEN +E =MENACER (one that menaces)
2. CARMEN+H =ENCHARM (to charm, enchant)
3. CARMEN+H=MARCHEN (a folktale)
4.CARMEN+I =CARMINE (a vivid red colour)
5. CARMEN+O=CREMONA (an early woodwind instrument); also CRUMHORN, CROMORNE, CROMORNA, KRUMHORN
6. CARMEN+O=ROMANCE (to woo)
7. CARMEN+T=CREMANT (of wine, moderately sparkling)
8. CARMEN+W= CREWMAN (one who serves on a ship)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Carrion+s = dead and rotting flesh
Cheekpiece+s = either of two straps of a bridle that connect the bit to the headpiece
Flyblown* Flyblow+n,s = deposit larva or flyblow on (meat or other food); contaminate; taint
Horsehide+s = skin of a horse; leather made from the hide of a horse
Lichen+s = to cover with flowerless plants
Longbow+s = a type of archery bow
Outcrop+s = to protrude above the soil
Saddlebag+s = bag laid behind a saddle of a horse
Saddlecloth+s = saddle blanket, thick pad placed under a saddle to prevent it from irritating the horse's skin
Scabbard+s = to sheathe, as a sword
Skirmish = to engage in a minor battle
Stirrup+s = a support for the foot of a horseman
Wicker+s = a pliant twig or branch
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Boursin+s = a mild, smooth creamy cheese without rind
Caboc+s =a Scottish cheese
Cheddar+s,y =a type of cheese originated in England
Cheshire+s = a hard English cheese
Chevre+s,t Chevret+s = a cheese made from goat’s milk
Colby+s Colbies = a type of mild tasting hard cheese
Feta+l,s Fetta+s = a crumbly white cheese
Fondue+d,s = a dish of melted cheese
Fromage+s = word borrowed from French meaning cheese
Gruyere+s = a Swiss cheese
Haloumi+s Halloumi+s = a Greek dish of goat’s cheese
Havarti+s = a Danish cheese
Mascarpone+s = Italian cream cheese
Munster+s Muenster+s = a mild cheese
Paneer+s = a soft white cheese used in Indian cookery
Parmesan+s = a hard dry Italian cheese
Pecorino+s Pecorini(no –s) = a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk
Provolone+s = Italian cheese often smoked
Raclette+s = salted cheese made from cow’s milk
Rarebit+s = a sauce made from melted cheese served hot over toasted bread
Ricotta+s = an Italian cheese
Romano+s = an Italian cheese
Taleggio+s = a soft creamy cheese
Friday, October 23, 2009
The dictionaries of the English language (both Adrian’s favourite, Collins Scrabble Dictionary, and my favourite, the Oxford English Dictionary) list “romeo” as a common noun meaning “a lover, a passionate admirer; a seducer, a habitual pursuer of women”. Yet “juliet” does not appear anywhere except in the phrase “Juliet cap” (“a small, round cap of wide, open mesh, usually decorated with pearls or other jewels, similar to that worn on the stage by Shakespeare's Juliet”), where it is still a proper noun which cannot be used in Scrabble. This leads to the obvious conclusion that, while “romeo” has come to designate a prototype, the universal and eternal lover, Juliet has been banished to the realm of frilly and by now completely outdated accessories.
What poison, daggers and generation-long hatred failed to do, the dictionaries successfully achieved: they separated Romeo and Juliet! We are expecting, of course, a wave of protests more or less violent from word lovers or simply lovers around the world, but we wanted to be the first to draw your attention to the potential linguistic dangers lurking inside the dusty tomes.
As an illustration for this article, in order not to be accused of copyright infringement, we chose a photo from our engagement ceremony. Feel free to comment. :)
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'm back with another quiz. The second quiz was a bit harder than the first one. As a result, some of the players only found 5 words. None of the players who sent feedback managed to find all the words. Hopefully the third quiz will be even more difficult than the second one. Give yourself 5 minutes. Good luck!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Here are some words ending in "-dar":
6 Letter Words
BANDAR+I,S = a rhesus monkey
BORDAR+S = a cottager subject to a lord
CHADAR+S = a large shawl, also CHADOR [n CHADARS or CHADRI]
DEODAR+A,S = an East Indian cedar, also DEODARA
GAYDAR+S = the ability to recognize that a person is homosexual
PANDAR+S = to act as a procurer, also PANDER [v -ED, -ING, -S]
QINDAR+S = n Albanian currency, also QINTAR, QUINTAR [n QINDARS or QINDARKA]
SARDAR+S= a person of rank in India, also SIRDAR
SIRDAR+S = a person of rank in India, also SARDAR
7 Letter Words
AMILDAR+S = an Indian manager, also AUMIL
CHADDAR+S = a type of large veil
CHEDDAR+S,Y = a type of cheese
CHOBDAR+S = an usher
CHUDDAR+S = a large square shawl, also CHUDDAH, CHUDDER
JAMADAR+S = an Indian police officer
JEMADAR+S = an Indian army officer, also JEMIDAR
JEMIDAR+S = an Indian army officer, also JEMADAR
KHADDAR+S = a cotton cloth, also KHADI
SUBADAR+S = a governor of a subah, also SUBAHDAR, SUBEDAR
SUBEDAR+S = a governor of a subah, also SUBAHDAR, SUBADAR
TANADAR+S = an officer in charge of a tana [n -S]
8 Letter Words
CALENDAR+S =to schedule, also KALENDAR [v -ED, -ING, -S]
CHOKIDAR+S = a watchman (a man employed to stand guard)
CHURIDAR+S = pl long tight-fitting trousers (Hindi) [n -S] s
GOSPODAR+s = a Russian address, equivalent to Mr, also GOSPODA, GOSPODIN, HOSPODAR
HAVILDAR+S =an Indian sergeant
HOSPODAR+S = a Russian address, equivalent to Mr, also GOSPODA, GOSPODAR. GOSPODIN
KALENDAR+S = to schedule, also CALENDAR [v -ED, -ING, -S]
KILLADAR+S= in India, the commandant of a fort
RISALDAR+S = a commander of Indian cavalry
SILLADAR+S = an irregular cavalryman
SUBAHDAR+S,Y = a governor of a subah, also SUBADAR, SUBEDAR
TABERDAR+S= a scholar of Queens College Oxford
TALUKDAR+S=the holder of a taluk
THANADAR+S= on officer in charge of a thana
ZAMINDAR+I,S,Y = a tax collector in India, also ZEMINDAR
ZEMINDAR+I,S,Y = a tax collector in India, also ZAMINDAR
If there is something you would like to add, please feel free to do it. I would be interested to find out more about these fascinating words.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Once upon a time, on a fair piece of land that would later be called South America, there lived a hardworking peasant. And our peasant simply loved fiery hot peppers, he could never had enough of them. Every year, he strived and toiled in order to make even hotter peppers, using all means and devices he could think of. No, his original methods will not be revealed here, because this is a “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME” story. One day, when the hot peppers were ripe and ready to be eaten, the peasant went to the field early in the morning, eager to try the result of his labours. The peppers glowed a burning red, as if the fire from all the South American volcanoes had gathered inside their tender shiny flesh. Without hesitation, the peasant picked one, took a bite, and a flood of tears rolled on his cheek. No, they were not tears of pain, they were tears of joy. After years of trials and failures, he had finally grown the perfect hot red pepper. The Absolute Pepper, uncontested king of all hot peppers in the world.
“Thy name shall be HABANERO”, proclaimed the peasant while running towards his house.
“Wife, wife”, he called breathlessly, “try this pepper!”
The peasant’s wife was a nice obedient woman, so, although she did not share her husband’s passion for hot peppers, listened to his urges and took a bite. But no sooner had the devilish pepper flesh touched her tongue that she started waving her hands and spinning around the table, her face in flames and her eyes bulging out of her head. At the same time, some women from the neighbourhood were passing by and they saw through the window the peasant’s wife “dance”.
“Great dance”, they thought, “we could all dance it at the harvest festival next month!” So they entered the house and joined the peasant’s wife, trying to learn the moves.
“Say, sister, this is wonderful! How do you call it? It must be from your mother’s village, because we’ve never seen the likes of it around here.”
But the peasant’s wife was still under the HABANERO spell and unable to talk. From a corner, the other women could hear the elated husband’s voice:
“HABANERA, I call it HABANERA!”
And thus the hot pepper HABANERO and HABANERA the dance were born on the same day. I must add here that while the habanero is still fiery hot, fortunately for the audiences, the habanera dropped the chaotic running around the table, the red face and the bulging eyes, turning into a slow dance.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Today's specialty is "LATEWAKE". How many times did your alarm clock not wake you up in time and had to eat your breakfast while shaving? How many times did you spill coffee on your neighbour's shoes while running to the bus station? How many times did you have to catch a taxi instead of taking a bus, so you can make it to work on time? If your answer is at least once, you are a "LATEWAKE".
In other dictionaries "LATEWAKE" is defined as a watch over the dead. I bet you like my "defunnytion" better.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Another interesting word used by the author and which is not valid in Scrabble is NAMAZ*(a ritual prayer practiced by Muslims). Even more interesting is the fact that if you read this word backwards you get the valid word ZAMAN (a large ornamental tropical American tree).
JAMUN* (an evergreen tropical tree) is not valid either, but UNJAM (to free from jamming) is.
LADDOOS* (Indian and Pakistani sweets) is another nonvalid word that has an anagram: SOLDADO (soldier).
CHAMELI* (jasmine) cannot be found in The Collins Scrabble Dictionary but it does have a very nice anagram: LECHAIM (a traditional Jewish toast), which I strongly recommend to the “lords of the board”.
Another “phony” with a valid anagram is TULSI* (known as holy basil in English). Its valid anagram is SLUIT (a narrow water channel).
Manil Suri also uses the word PATAKAS* (firecrackers). Note that the singular form PATAKA (a storehouse on stilts) is playable in Scrabble, while PATAKAS* is not.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Dharma+s = sacred duty
Garuda+s = a Hindu demigod
Jambul+s = tree with small purple fruit
Kumari+s = in India, the title of Miss
Kurta+s Khurta+s = a loose fitting tunic of India
Lathi+s = long piece of bamboo usually used as a weapon
Maharaja+h,s = a king or prince in India
Masala+s = a mixture of ground spices used in Indian cookery
Mela+s = a Hindu festival or fair
Mooli+s = an East African vegetable
Namaste+s = an Indian form of greeting
Okra+s = a tall annual herb
Pakora+s = an Indian vegetable dish
Paneer+s = homemade Indian cheese
Pomfret+s = a marine fish
Rupee+s = a monetary unit of India
Salaam+s = to greet with a low bow
Tamasha+s = a public entertainment in India
Tiffin+ g,s = stacking containers used to carry prepared food
Monday, October 5, 2009
Today, as I was going through some anagrams, I found the word "SHOWRING". Right away I could tell what a "SHOWRING" was. A "SHOWRING" is somebody who kneels down in front of his princess and asks her to marry him. Let's not forget the ring. The ring plays a very important role. If the ring is cheap, she might say no. If the ring is expensive, there is no doubt she will say yes. He takes out the magic ring and shows it to the woman of his dreams. At that very moment, he becomes a "SHOWRING". Other dictionaries less imaginative than mine define "SHOWRING" as being a ring where animals are displayed.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I continue my reading odyssey with “The Death of Vishnu”, a book written by the author of “The Age of Shiva”. The book is very well written and has a lot of interesting words. I eliminated the words that have already appeared in my previous “book reports”. Again, I’m not going to spoil the lecture for you. Here are some words from the book:
(Source of definitions: Collins Scrabble Dictionary and the author’s notes)
Anna+l,s,t = a former coin of India
Ashram+a,s = an Indian retreat house
Attar+s = a fragrant oil
Avatar+s = an incarnation of a god or goddess
Bandar+i, s = a monkey
Banyan+s = an Indian tree
Basmati+s = Asian aromatic rice
Beedi (no –s) + es = a hand rolled cigarette
Bhajan+s = a Hindu religious song
Bhang+s = intoxicant, sometimes mixed with milk for consumption
Brahma + n,s = part of the primary Hindu trinity of gods, the creator, who breathes out the universe to make it come into existence
Brinjal+s = eggplant
Cardamom+s Cardamon+s Cardamum+s = a tropical herb
Dacoit+ s, y Dakoit+i,s,y = a bandit
Dacoity = criminal activities of dacoits
Friday, October 2, 2009
The fictionary* opened at "BOREHOLE" today. "BOREHOLE"is described as being an uninteresting place. I even managed to find an example: " This blog is such a borehole"."BOREHOLE" is defined in other dictionaries as a hole made in the earth's crust.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
In a bout of generosity, my wife had bought me for the onward trip the equivalent of a business class ticket, so I could stretch my legs, wrap myself in a blanket and theoretically fall into a comfortable sleep. Theoretically, because apparently the driver used to work on a kindergarten bus, so every hour he would stop and in a booming voice urge us to use the toilet. The first time my sweet dreams were thus interrupted I thought there had been an accident and we were being evacuated; after the second time I started praying that the highway to Tokyo would run out of toilets.
On the way to Osaka I was back to economy and contemplating yet another night of involuntary knee hugging when an elderly gentleman (the future star of the “Prison Break” sequel, “Crypt Break”) suddenly yelled: “That’s my seat!” I checked my ticket, made sure he didn’t have a glass eye, and the driver came to my rescue indicating the seat next to mine. Crypt Break continued the conversation with his imaginary friend: “That’s better! This is the seat I wanted. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.”
Ouch! Now he was talking to me. What do you reply to somebody who addresses you with the polite expression soliciting someone’s favour or good will when you are ready to fall asleep and pray the journey would end sooner? I had no time to reply as he was already enthusiastically shaking my hand. And that marked, like in the movies, the beginning of a beautiful friendship. A night of love and romance, when Crypt Break’s hand “accidentally” found its way on my knee three times. The first two times I politely removed it, but the third I shook it away in a manner that could not be mistaken for gentleness. I was no longer in “Crypt Break”, but in “Attack of the Zombies”! However, I am proud to report that both I and Casablanca revisited (the senior version) left the bus unscathed. Yet a question is now haunting me: does the abundance of hair on my chest make up for the fact that I was holding a pink Snoopy pillow?