Tuesday, September 15, 2009

AWAD and Award

If a blog is not (also) about bragging, what is it?

So let me brag.

It is not really a brag, actually, but a means of sharing a small win.

I subscribe to and read a e-mail newsletter called "A Word A Day" from "Wordsmith" Anu Garg.

The e-mail introduces or re-introduces you to (or vice versa) a new word and gives you the meaning, pronunciation, etymology, related words and usage. This is done 5 times a week. It is pure fun. I am a logophile.

Usually the words that come to you in a week share a theme. Last week, the theme was "you find the theme". That means, the theme was concealed and the readers were challenged to find it based on the week`s words.

And the rest is here in Wordsmith's words.


Last week's Discover the Theme contest challenged readers to identify the common thread among the five words featured: odious, asinine, cagey, arcadian, and devious. Several readers believed that these are all words that describe their ex-boy/girlfriend or ex-husband/wife.

About 1200 readers took up the challenge of whom about 150 sent the correct answer: All of these words can be pronounced as a sequence of letters and numbers: ODS, SN9 (or AC9, SE9), RKDN, KG, and DVS.

I'd feared that this puzzle might prove too difficult compared to the previous ones, but never underestimate the ability of a thousand brains working on a problem. The first person to send the correct answer was J L Anil Kumar of Bangalore, India, who sent me the solution within minutes of the first word going out on Monday. He wins a signed copy of the book A Word A Day.

A second winner, randomly selected from all who sent correct answers, is Ada Payne of Delaware, Ohio, who opted to receive a signed copy of The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two as her prize.


You can see more of all this here.

So, I am eagerly looking forward to the book now.

Oh! Thank you, thank you. . . . . . . .

My own reckoning is that this challenge is easier for a "South Indian" like me and hence I had an unfair(?) advantage The reason is that most Indian languages, more so the SI ones, have no serious concept of a pause, except when we run out of breath. When pronouncing O-D-S we are most likely to say "oodeeyus". Others: "oh pause dee pause es". The pauses may be micro (even nano as per the latest craze) pauses. But they make a difference. Folk or amateur phonetics? Perhaps.


  1. congratulations! Nice game that is.

  2. See, I always tell you... there's sooo much to learn from you!!!

  3. Oh Yes... and CONGRATULATIONS!!! :)

  4. Anonymous9:47 pm

    Congratulations! I subscribe to AWAD as well, and I can say there is no unfair advantage. While I haven't actually tried cracking any of those themes, I know they aren't as simple as they look when you finally see the solution. So, unfair advantages there. Enjoy the book! :)


  5. Anonymous9:48 pm

    Sorry, meant "no unfair advantages there".


  6. Anonymous2:22 am

    I am subscribed to AWAD as well. Well, this week was the one that I forgot to look into the weekly compendium. And look what we have here.


    I have tried to crack open the challenges sometimes, only a few times..:) But haven't got it early enough to win a prize.

  7. Thanks Shashi, Shruti, Emma and Anu.

    Emma I knew you had missed a no. The Errata (or, is it Erratum?) makes it clear.

    Four levels of pleasure, solving the puzzle, winning the prize, being congratulated! Wow!