Posts Tagged ‘words’
My book about the crossword, Two Girls, One On Each Knee (7), has a publication date of 7 November 2013.
I’ve written a piece for the BBC about words beginning with “tw-”, and why people enjoy coining them on Twitter.
“Flick through a dictionary and you’ll notice something about the English language’s ‘tw’ words. We have a few related to ‘two’: twin, twelfth, twilight and so on. And there’s a tiny minority of what you might call fairly sensible words: tweezers, twig and of course tweed.
“The rest, though, tend to be of a type that’s more playful or, depending on taste, more grating. ‘Tw-’ words can be about inanity or ignorance: twit, twerp, twonk or twaddle. They can suggest lightness, smallness or delicacy: tweak, twiddle or twinkle. Or they can flag up that you’re being self-consciously old-fashioned: ’twas and ’twere; ‘twixt and ‘tween. All very twee.”
Sadly there was no room for the etymology of “twonk” – coined/popularised, according to the Telegraph, by John Sullivan to give Del Boy a non-sweary swear word; nor for gay slang “twink” (“with a slender build, little or no body hair, and no facial hair”).
Also, now that we know that “twilight” relates to “two”, why not let’s enjoy some twilights I’ve seen?
“Others suggest [that] those of us hooked on crosswords might want to justify the time passed by pointing to the large vocabulary we’ve amassed – or, perhaps, to our pleonasm, to our Brobdingnagian prolixity. Well, boo-poo to that. (I admit I enjoyed learning the word ‘pleach’ from last Tuesday’s Times, but it may be many years until I get to use it in a sentence near a hedge.)”
It’ll be a mixture of the week’s best and funniest clues, tips for n00bs and features on awesome stuff like when crosswords feature in programmes like Rubicon and The Hour.
- Topics [ongoing update]: Bletchley Park; Is cheating cheating?; The Ten Commandments of cryptic ethics; Which newspaper is most crossword-friendly?; American vs British crosswords; Where do you solve?; Times Crossword Championship; Meet Anne R Bradford; the 1920s crossword moral panic; what I’ve learned from cryptics
- Meet the Setter [ditto]: Paul; Enigmatist; Anax; Tramp; Boatman
- For beginners [ditto]: Hidden answers; double definitions; soundalikes
- What does each letter mean? [ditto]: A
- Best clues [ditto]: Meta, Morse and Arsenal; Lord Sugar, Rupert Murdoch and the flesh lance; gamesmanship, ice cream and haiku; Elton John, hidden Damons and Moses; Smiley and Nixon; Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and David Cameron; Blur v Oasis; chess and the Tube; booze clues; e-ologisms; should themes be announced?; loos in clues; the ‘scrambled eggs’ chestnut; Occupy London Stock Exchange; new words in Chambers; Romeo and Juliet and Ant and Dec; booze and Dylan Thomas; Erdős-Bacon numbers; Yule clues; cryptic Dickens
- Photo is of Guardian 25,402 by Puck. The only answer I’ve put in is wrong. “A day in dopey stupor, endlessly like t-h-i-s? (6,3)” should give SPACED OUT, not SPREAD OUT as I thought. This bodes ill.
- In 2009, I explained to foreigners why some British families do a jumbo crossword at Christmas.