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Trivia Teaser

Which is an alternative word for 'renown'?

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01
Sep
2016

Classic books become classic films and then, these days, generate classic memes.I'm reminded of this by the recent loss of the actor Gene Wilder whose films entertained a generation or several.He appeared in The Producers with Zero Mostel. This musical featured the alm ... read more

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01
Aug
2016

Shakespeare has it right, as ever, in this extract from As You Like It, about the hard wintertime. And while the antipodean winter in Australia is less biting than the northern hemisphere one, it's cold enough and dark enough in the early morning and evening to allow one to become a little ... read more

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01
Jul
2016

Yes, I thought that might catch your attention. I've always been a big fan of chocolate though I do try to be a bit disciplined in eating it. I focus on small amounts of good quality dark chocolate, which is delicious and enjoyable, but I also remember the bliss of pigging out on an entire ... read more

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01
Jun
2016

I attract some, I'd have to say, adverse, comments occasionally from family members who object to my not answering the phone. The mobile device that is, as anyone over fifty is so conditioned into immediately answering a landline that major cognitive work would be required to overcome the t ... read more

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06
May
2016

'Mic' has been around in the dictionaries for some time, and is clearly written on millions of audio-equipment items in homes and workplaces all over the English-speaking world. Yet I've never quite got used to how 'mic' has managed to keep the 'mike' sound of 'm ... read more

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03
Mar
2016

Imelda Marcos is the Steel Butterfly of the Philippines whose shoe collection was notoriously large. I'm reminded of her as I've been reviewing the shoe cupboard recently and can see that the epithet 'Imelda' might just be applied. Too many shoes... Ah, but can one ever have too ... read more

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02
Feb
2016

Completely unqualified? Slightly unqualified? Or even absolutely flawless?The ambiguity in this pair of words arises from their both being words to which the description 'Janus word' may be applied.So, why Janus? Janus was the Roman god of gates and doorways, or, m ... read more

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08
Jan
2016

'For last year's words belong to last year's language' according to TS Eliot - though the various online discussions about the function of a dictionary would have words about that. It depends if one sees the dictionary as a guardian of the English one acquired in the various sta ... read more

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23
Dec
2015

One of the advantages of being in the southern hemisphere at Christmas is the range of fruit available to expand the Christmas table. And, believe me, much fruit is a requirement at this time of year when we're either sweltering in the tropics anticipating or experiencing the onset of the w ... read more

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01
Dec
2015

Well, that was unexpected. The OED has just announced its word of the year for 2015 - and it's not a word. In fact, the 'word' of the year is the emoji or pictograph 😂 (Face With Tears of Joy).The emoji is not unrelated to the emoticon which is described as a ' ... read more

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03
Nov
2015

Noctilucent. What a delicious word. It describes those high-altitude clouds which catch the rays of the setting sun long after it has fallen below the horizon, or which glow in the first light of dawn, in anticipation of the sun's rising. Of course these noctilucent clouds may have differen ... read more

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02
Sep
2015

And so from names of colours to that activity for slow Friday afternoons in primary school - yes, taking out the coloured pencils and zoning out while colouring in.I have to admit I was never highly skilled at this - some problems with staying between the lines and the occasional inf ... read more