Tuesday, November 9, 2010

They were positive about him being a crook, however

Today is the 92nd birthday of Spiro Agnew, 39th Vice President of the U. S. (he died in 1996), who served under Richard Nixon and who delivered one of the great (and most alliterative) epithets ever, when he referred to members of the media as "nattering nabobs of negativity."

In October of 1973 Agnew was forced to resign as Vice President after being charged with accepting bribes of more than $100,000 while governor of Maryland and also Vice President.

"Spiro Agnew" is an anagram of "prison wage."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scrabble in Music City, and that starts with S

Big Scrabble tournament in Musical City last weekend. There were six of us "experts" in the top division. I won the division. In my most interesting game I led off with ANTEFIX for 100 points. My opponent was stunned, of course, but then he went to town adorning the word, first hooking it with an A (ANTEFIXA) and then hooking that with an E (ANTEFIXAE), scoring 40 or so on each play. Meanwhile I was busy elsewhere, following up my opening play with IODOPHOR and then RECURVES, all without the benefit of a blank. I had 247 points after three turns. I added another late bingo, and if it hadn't been for a little lull when I was saddled with a surfeit of vowels I would have scored over 600. I had 542.

Dumb word of the day (mainly because I challenged it and lost): toileted. The Scrabble dictionary says this the past tense of the verb toilet. Merriam-Webster does not count toilet as a verb, but since when has that ever deterred the intrepid adventurers responsible for the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary?

The litmus test for including a word in the OSPD, to my way of thinking, ought to be this: Has anyone in the history of spoken English ever uttered the word?