Thursday, November 10, 2005

Use The Dictionary As A Last Spa

My freshman brother probably made it to class a wee bit too early today. He sent me a number of texts this morning:

“What is a stock of special skills of a particular person or field of endeavor? Ten letters, French.”

“A sudden, ignominious defeat?”

“A state of turbulence or confusion. Nine letters, Dutch. Starts with m, ends with m.”

Repertoire, Debacle, and I still don’t know. I suggested Mayhem, but that’s only six, never mind provenance*.

My little brother into crosswords, how about that. I’m happy nevertheless that he has this habit of asking me all sorts of questions, confident that I’ll have answers whether for puzzles, politics, printers or pizzas. The truth is that I’ll only manage an answer eight times out of ten (and yeah, sometimes that’s a generous estimate), but he continues to ask anyway, and I feel like the lovable sage every time he does. It’s incentive to keep educating myself.

Methinks that I should start doing crosswords as I often have trouble finding the right word/phrase at the right time. My vocabulary is fairly decent but it seems my card-filing system is a tad..uh..special. I’ll come up with “peripheral vision” when I mean “lateral thinking”, say something tedious like "take-off point" when I mean "springboard". I balk at word options like “turbid” and “turgid”, “sensuous” and “sensual”. “Spendthrift” confuses me. I am in awe of people who are able to draw the appropriate card seemingly without effort. In conversation once, someone casually remarked, “Not bad for a sophomore effort.” I was an instant fan.

*Ooh! I got it..."maelstrom"!


Post a Comment

<< Home