DA’s New Book: Try Winning It!

DA’s gotten busy and put together another book to delight cruciverbalists and non-cruciverbalists alike.

In Puzzles and Words, DA focusses on general word puzzles and word stories, especially those of an etymological bent (most surprising word story I’ve come across: emu comes from Portuguese, which has the word ema to denote any large, ostrich-like bird).

There’s more information on the book at¬†DA’s own website as well as his publisher’s, Allen & Unwin.

Now, the kind folk at Allen & Unwin have kindly sent me a copy of the book to give away, and give it away I shall with a little contest.

Word stories are always fun, so whoever submits what I (AS) and RC judge to be the most surprising, interesting and enchanting word story wins the book. Please try and limit yourself to two stories, although if stumbling across something particularly enchanting has you submitting a third story, it’s unlikely we’ll strike it from the record. And take note: RC and I particularly like anything that’s polyglot, and especially anything that’s not written with the Roman script.

Get cracking, and I’ll announce the winner Tuesday next week (the 20th of November).

5 thoughts on “DA’s New Book: Try Winning It!

  1. I would think Arthur would have a few stories to tell, at the very least. His radio interview reveals that he’s not the madman ripping up the paper every Friday that he comes across as here ;)

  2. Just a random thing about mistranslation, which might be of interest (if not surprising or enchanting):

    The Bible says “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live” (Exodus 22:18), but ‘witch’ in that case was originally ‘chasapah’ which is more likely to mean ‘poisoner’. The mistake first showed up in the King James version, reflecting a concern of the 16th century. Even if the secondary use was intended, it was gender-neutral, rather than the specifically female ‘witch’. Just an example of how mistranslation and mis-interpretation has on-going effects.

  3. I’d love to know what authority you have that on DC. The Masoretic text, the authoritive Jewish text from the first decade AD, but consistent with most earlier witnesses , has khashaf, sorceress. I would need more than assertion to convince me that MT had got it wrong. The Masoretes were meticulous in seeking to keep the word of God accurate. And anyway, if there was an error it must have been way before the KJV, it would go back to the MT.

  4. Caught out! My scholarship was less than exceptional — it’s a theory that I’ve heard for ages, but filling out some details was a matter of a dodgy web search.

    I should have gone with the tempura anecdote again, as I put on the DA blog :-)

  5. In my first programming job, back in the late 1980s, I was working for a small company in Cambridgeshire that produced a database engine, and what, back then, was called a 4th Generation Language. One day I was given a bug to investigate in the Kanji FlexOS version of the product. We had a test machine running the OS, so I loaded the client’s database off the floppy disks, and followed their instructions. As they had reported, an error message was displayed.
    Not being able to read Kanji, this didn’t help me much. But as luck would have it, we had recently hired a programmer who had grown up in Japan. So I copied the squiggles off the screen onto a piece of paper, and went to ask her.
    “It says ‘File Not Found’,” she told me, “and you have beautiful handwriting.”

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