A Couple of Conundrums


        If you wonder what happened to the “Gigapan” posting, I deleted it at the urgent request of son Ron.  He was, I think, concerned that his “facetious” remark might be taken literally.  I think Ron underestimates the acute intelligence and linguistic savvy of the readers and contributors to this Blog site, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt this time.

         I can make something out of that entry, though, that might be interesting to play with:  an unusual quality of the word “facetious.”  If you can tell us what that quality is and give us one more word with the same quality,  you could win a BIG PRIZE:  your name in this place!  (So much for conundrum # 1).

Here is another, a sentence found in the “Off the Rack” column yesterday (Saturday, 1/24/09).  What is the problem in this sentence, which describes a shopper’s urge to purchase something at a Haymount gift shop?  “But when she saw the new Lily Pulitizer stationary, she couldn’t help [buying] it.”

And I suppose we’re all interested in the latest resurgence of controversy about Mark Twain’s use of the “N-word” is his famous novel,  “Huckleberry F-word.”  Let’s weigh in on that after I introduce the problem a bit more fully.



32 Responses to “A Couple of Conundrums”

  1. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    I’m weighting in as a feather weight because I haven’t induged in learning as I should. I wish to defer till you introduce the PROBLEM a bit more fully.

  2. Daryl Cobranchi Says:

    “Stationery,” as in pieces of writing paper. Not “stationary,” as in immobile.

  3. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Starting the sentence with the word “but”?

  4. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    What is the problem in this sentence?

    The problem would be to control your urge to splurge and stay “stationary” at best.

  5. Rebecca Logan Says:

    You’ve discovered my Achilles’ heal.
    Or at least won of the many.

  6. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    Rebecca, I saw the movie and Achilles was a brave warrior and I would hope to be so willing to carry out a mission. The “Rack” is back!!!

  7. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    Did you use “Won” You must behave and I hope your heel, heals so you can go shop for a conundrum that fits.

  8. Rebecca Logan Says:

    OK. I’ll behave 😉

    Soldiering on with http://www.cooper.com/alan/homonym_list.html by my side. Thanks, Professor Rundus, for a good reminder that I actually need to use it!

  9. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    ‘Facetious’ has all the vowels in order: a e i o u

    ‘Facetiously’ would add the ‘y’ that is ‘sometimes’ a vowel.

    Right now I can’t come up with another word like that, but I will, soon! 🙂

  10. Gregory Phillips Says:

    Facetious includes all five vowels in order. So does abstemious. I must admit I am much better at being the former than the latter.

  11. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Although not a direct comparison to ‘stationery – stationary’, cemetery is often misspelled ‘cemetary’.

  12. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Wow, I beat the Drive-by Blogger by one minute!! 😉

  13. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Well almost.

    Abstemious is a great word. There must be others that fit this attribute.

  14. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Backwards? duoliteral

  15. Daryl Cobranchi Says:

    There must be others that fit this attribute.

    Aerious, Absteinous, Abstemious, Abstenious, Abstentious, Aceriflorum, Aceriflorus, Acheilous, Acheirous, Acleistous, Adecticous, Adventious, Affectious, Aleikoum, Alpestrious, Anemious, Annelidous, Arsenious, Arteriosum, Arteriosus, Arterious, Avenious, Bacterious, Caesious, Camelious, Carnelious, Facetious, Fracedinous, Gareisoun, Gravedinous, Majestious, Materious, Parecious, Placentious, Tragedious

    Phragelliorhynchus, Hareiously, Abstentiously, Marveillously

  16. Gregory Phillips Says:

    I was just going to say Phragelliorhynchus. Dang.

  17. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Roman names are not in vogue anymore. In 5 years half the kindergarten class will be named Barack!

  18. Forest Crump Says:

    Forest scratches his head and wonders off in search of a conundrum. Could the search for a conundrum be a conundrum but once you find the conundrum, identify the conundrum, solve the conundrum, is it no longer a conundrum—Forest is confused. He thinks to himself but then who else would he think to?

  19. Forest Crump Says:

    He thinks to himself but then who else would he think to?

    That would be, whom else would he think to–dangit.

  20. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    Forest Crump, “He thinks to himself” takes a lot of thinking but I think I thought it outside myself when I was looking for myself. Being confessed this a state of mind. Breakfast:Haymont Grill-8:15-this Friday- What do you think??

  21. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Yeah, yeah, yay! Frank Maness!
    All welcome, come who or come what or come how, to the Haymount Grill around 8:15 a.m. this coming Friday, the Fifth Friday in January 2009. Maybe after breakfast those willing and able and the weather agreeable could take a walk down a bit to the lower reaches of Hay Street and back. . . .

    And thanks to all for all 20 of the heroic and oft-amusing and only occasionally aberrant responses about my posting “A Couple of Conundrums.”
    So far as I am fully aware (and I seldom reach that state), and Gregory Phillips brought it to bay, the only true word in the American English language that is a match for “facetious” in including all five conventional vowels in alphabetic order is “abstemious.”
    It is quite interesting/bedeviling/whatnot to try to come up with as many words as possible that contain all five vowels, each used at least once. I became bemused by such as “mendacious” and “hellacious.”
    And, Rebecca Logan, all in good fun, took our playful comments about the distinction between the meanings of “stationery” and “stationary” very well, not even passing off the error to a dozing or dysfunctional editor. I confess here to having at times a dilemma as I try to istinguish “principal” from “principle.”
    Daryl Cobranci and “Forest Crump” deserve red ribbons for their creative meanderings. And Mfcpa1 and Frank for their authentic voices and searches.
    And to Tammy Stephens, for her wondering about beginning a sentence with “But” as Rebecca Logan did in the sentence under scrutiny, here are two reading assigments which would seem to refute vigorously the old “Schoomarm” principle (is that the right spelling?) that one should not begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, such as “and,” “but,” or “or”:
    (1) Try the first book of “Genesis” in the Authorizied Standard,King
    James translation.
    (2) Read almost anything by Ernest Hemingway.
    Here’s another stylistic tenet I was asked to follow in writing a study of Joseph Mitchell. Do not begin a sentence with such transition words as “however” or “moreover” or “therefore.” They are, however, fine to use further down the road. I never quite figured out how doing so would improve the clarity or the quality of my prose. Maybe you can suggest such?

    And, moreover, here is the title for a book not yet written and probably never to be written: “The English Language: We Can’t Do Much of Anything With It, But What Would We Do Without It?”


  22. Forest Crump Says:

    Thanks for the red ribbon. I don’t know if I could read if I had your eye for mistakes. You have probably seen the email where the words are misspelled and juxtaposed in a tangled mess but youcanactuallyread it because the mind will rearrange the letters and words.

    However, try as I may I can make only a bit of little senselessness of Finnegan’s Wake. “I. What secondtonone myther rector and maximost brigdgesmaker was the first to rise taller through his beanstale than the bluegum buaboababbaun of the giganteous Wellingtonia Sequoia;…”

    See ya Friday morning; good lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

  23. roro Says:

    Boring.. why don’t we talk about sending the girl scouts to talk on Arab TV and say we are not their enemy….Gee, I bet they wouldn’t literally come out and say, “Don’t bomb us, is not our fault that you have extremists that care nothing but their own perception.” Change the blog! Is that good enough English for you….
    Yes, I am having a bipolar moment and I am not bipolar!

  24. Tammy Stephens Says:

    I’m broken hearted! We are just free entertainment for Raymond!
    On a serious note, yes, almost every verse starts with “and” in Genesis chapter 1 (all but two).
    I pray, he doesn’t read my blog, lol.

  25. Forest Crump Says:

    “I pray, he doesn’t read my blog, lol.”

    Would that be God or Raymond?

  26. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Uh oh! Both, lol. Frank told me to stay out of trouble, but it’s just to hard. But I meant Raymond. Not sure wich blog you write, just none listed as Forest Crump, lol. Would that blog fall under movies?

  27. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Reading or rereading all the comments that were written and posted about the present posting makes me


    throw some more sand out of the sandbox along with my toy dump truck!


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