Comments by frindley

  • 1 per cent of music students do 80 per cent of the practice. Occupy the practice room.

    October 30, 2011

  • Not to be confused with jerry-built.

    May 9, 2011

  • sugartongs and pants

    May 5, 2011

  • So now the analytical suspense is really killing me…

    May 4, 2011

  • I think we should allow gangerh the pleasure of one big wodge.

    May 4, 2011

  • I took the same line of thinking as ruzuzu when it came to yarb/bray/emordnilap. In other instances I matched words to people who'd listed/commented on them or made expressions of fondness (chained bear/wodge). As for the rest, my rationale doesn't bear scrutiny.

    May 3, 2011

  • I wonder if there is any connection between kedge and kedgeree (sometimes "kedgery"), the British name for a curried rice dish with smoked fish and eggs normally eaten at breakfast.

    May 3, 2011

  • Oh no, I just thought of the perfect word for me!

    ** Dances around in excited anticipation of the next Identify the Wordnienik competition **

    May 2, 2011

  • An especially resilient item of hosiery.

    April 30, 2011

  • The suspense is killing me…

    April 29, 2011

  • Shear Delight, Cut Loose, Herr Kutz (although I wonder if that one is apocryphal). Also, not a salon name, but a hair product line: Bed Head

    April 29, 2011

  • Duh! It's tɪə-resistant, not tɛː-resistant. Silly frindley.

    April 28, 2011

  • Thanks for warning me. That's a list I should avoid!

    April 27, 2011

  • frindley says: when the revolution comes I will ban all use of this phrase outside sporting contexts. If another arts marketer tells me that their romantic concert of baroque arias or exhibition of Chinese porcelain will "kick off", I will most likely kick something.

    Sorry if I sound twitter and blistered. Just needed to get that out of my system.

    April 27, 2011

  • Down here in the Antipodes "sneak peek" has become the latest fad for social notworking arts marketers. It seems everyone wants to offer you sneak peeks of things, including (very often) things that have (a) already happened and (b) are public.

    My only consolation is that it may yet drive out the unhealthy predilection for having everything kick off, even concerts of baroque arias on the theme of love.

    April 27, 2011

  • Now I'm confused. Why does "PossibleUnderscore" display as "Punderscore Underscore"?

    April 27, 2011

  • Weird, but it works so well!

    April 27, 2011

  • This reminds me of an Ogden Nash verse (admittedly back to front):

    Sure, deck your lower limbs in pants:

    Yours are the legs, my sweeting.

    You look divine as you advance;

    Have you seen yourself retreating?

    April 27, 2011

  • Baffled.

    April 27, 2011

  • This is infinitely more difficult than I anticipated. I think I shall need to change my chosen word. How about stumped?

    Anyway, my paltry effort, allocation of wild guesses aided somewhat by the use of a spreadsheet and a late swap which I shall probably regret:

    bilby | playful

    blafferty | systematic

    chained_bear | wodge

    dontcry | tear-resistant

    erinmckean | slopseller

    fbharjo | present

    frindley | pen-like*

    frogapplause | lunette

    gangerh | ascian

    hernesheir | greenhorn

    mollusque | harlequin

    oroboros | mortsafe

    PossibleUnderscore | chrestomathic

    Prolagus | sinistral

    pterodactyl | distingue

    reesetee | protean

    ruzuzu | balsamaceous

    seanahan | prodigal

    sionnach | panda

    Wordnicolina | calepinerienne

    Wordplayer | boggy

    yarb | emordnilap

    *At least according to Andrew Clement

    April 27, 2011

  • Also known as Danny Boy.

    April 13, 2011

  • Courtesy The New York Times.

    March 28, 2011

  • Oh bummer, I left my community/Zeitgeist comment over on zeitgeist. Still haven't gotten used to this case-sensitive business.

    March 13, 2011

  • Kind of sorry to see that the "Zeitgeist" page on Wordnik has become community in my absence. :(

    March 13, 2011

  • Frindley has given up Facebook for Lent (2011). Does that mean she might have time to hang around here more often?

    March 13, 2011

  • That is one seriously bizarre movie (going by the synopsis)…

    March 13, 2011

  • *sings* Happy birthday to you!

    January 27, 2011

  • This household word (at least in my neck of the woods) is a fitting tribute to Hungarian Bíró László, who gave us the ballpoint pen.

    January 10, 2011

  • And in this postscript I add a link to an article which blatantly and without shame steals the idea and applies it to a totally unrelated topic.

    October 10, 2010

  • In this comment I attempt, somewhat lamely, to play along during one of my sporadic visits to Wordnik.

    October 10, 2010

  • The practice of feeding cows or sheep a very high level of nutrition for a couple of weeks before the breeding season in order to improve fertility.

    October 6, 2010

  • Bob: A Venetian blind date? What's that?

    Betty: Oh, it's like a regular blind date, but the man shows up covered in dust.

    (Nicked from the caption of a cartoon.)

    October 6, 2010

  • Was chuffed to discover that I Hate Perfume had been chosen as list of the day.

    August 12, 2010

  • *like*

    June 16, 2010

  • Thank you! My links weren't working the other day, but they are now. Lovely.

    April 17, 2010

  • Wondering if I could be whitelisted too? Missing the "also on" function of the old profiles.

    April 17, 2010

  • So how did you get your hyperlinks in "more about Prolagus" to stick in this new Wordnik profile? I found the other day that my h-ref coding was still there, but the links were "dry".

    April 16, 2010

  • It's been proposed that may be the only English word to have been imported from Icelandic. Can anyone think of any others?

    April 16, 2010

  • This is the favourite exclamation of one of the characters in The Music Man. Zaneeta Shinn, perhaps?

    April 15, 2010

  • Nice list! I hope there's more to come.

    April 14, 2010

  • Speaking of bad surnames: there is a German conductor, Christoph Prick, who quite sensibly adopts the name Christof Perick when he conducts in English-speaking countries.

    April 14, 2010

  • Ooh, offal dessert!

    April 14, 2010

  • "Wantonly disturbing" persons by ringing doorbells, knocking on doors or unlawfully extinguishing lamps.

    April 14, 2010

  • Making slides upon ice or snow to the danger of pedestrians.

    April 14, 2010

  • Would it hold its own against a trifle though?

    April 14, 2010

  • One of the few surveys I've really enjoyed taking. Nothing gives more pleasure than explaining why I love Wordie/Wordnik.

    April 14, 2010

  • To share the cost of a meal or entertainment, especially if on a date.

    February 9, 2010

  • A contradiction in terms if ever there was one.

    February 9, 2010

  • I believe it's what we call a madeupical – a staunchly upheld wordie/nik tradition. This is a particularly fine example of the breed – I can sense the flavour intended just by looking at it. It comes across as a milder variant of noisome.

    January 28, 2010

  • Nostalgia is: looking fondly over my old Wordie lists.

    January 28, 2010

  • frindley has been burning the candle at both ends. Had to stay away from wordie conversations for a bit – the time zone difference was proving to be decidedly unhealthy.

    January 27, 2010

  • Ah, a variant on "Frustkauf" (as supplied to me a contact at the Berlin Philharmonic).

    December 5, 2009

  • Pretty please: can the comment box be restored to the top of the comments? Having it down the bottom of the page like this would make sense only if the comments ran from oldest to most recent.

    November 14, 2009

  • A question: how do we find wordies (i.e. profiles)? The only search box appears to be strictly for words, and when I search for user profiles I know exist, nothing comes up.

    Another question: Is there are way to get the comment entry box to the top? I just had to scroll right down to the bottom of the page to get to it, which seems odd when the most recent comment is at the top.

    November 12, 2009

  • Oh yes, whichbe, I think that was me (re user preference for going straight to "comments" when you click on a word).

    I've since noticed that if a word has comments you can click on the comments link and thus go straight to the bit you want, so that's a useful thing to know, but if it's a virgin word you still have to go via the definitions/reference area first.

    November 12, 2009

  • A useful collective term for nieces *and* nephews. As in, "My sister brought the niblings to town for Christmas so they could catch up with their aunty." Derived from "sibling".

    I believe there are instances of it being used online (or reported online) as far back as 1994. I first came across it c. 1997.

    And I suspect "nibling" takes the prize for the word that has the greatest number of independent "inventors". Everyone seems to think they made this up!

    (The real-time twitter examples are just misspellings for "nibbling".)

    June 10, 2009

  • Ok, confession time. Who's been googling:



    Very curious!

    June 4, 2009

  • I'm not so sure about all of these.

    What, for example, is the longer form of "kelpie"?

    The origin of "brumby" is uncertain, but at least one possibility is that it was from a proper name, Brumby, and another is that it has Aboriginal origins, baroombie – so again, not really a shortening, and the "-ie" sound already present.

    "Esky" is a shortening from eskimo, I guess, but the "-ie" sound already present, not added. That's probably borderline, in that it would have been adopted as a brandname to appeal to the Aussie tendency.

    May 30, 2009

  • Useful sometimes; wrong or at least unhelpful (I think) at other times. Just had to say that.

    May 17, 2009

  • Busy, snowed under, working hard. I would dispute that it means in a hurry (even though being busy may well result in haste).

    May 13, 2009

  • The art of blowing one's own trumpet.

    From "Tim J's" excellent article on Why Twitter is so confusing.

    May 3, 2009

  • And what a great name for a kiddies' history book.

    April 25, 2009

  • Rarely: ordeal, martyrdom. Frequently: a soldier's first experience of battle. As a result, and more generally: a tough first encounter with anything, especially when the training or preparation is necessarily insufficient. The latter is primarily how I use it and hear it used. (For example, I arrived at my job in the United States the week when the Executive Dir. was on vacation and we were staging the first concerts of the season. To say it was full on was an understatement. Two phrases were thrown about: "thrown in the deep end" and "baptism of fire".)

    Background is interesting as it appears there's a religious meaning and a military meaning and the conflation of the two in English may have come about from a mishearing or mistranslation of a French phrase. (As of writing, Wikipedia's entry on this phrase "corrects" the French without explanation, cites Online Etymology.)

    Baptism of fire (in the more literal sense of ordeal, martyrdom) has biblical origins, e.g. Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."

    Baptism of fire (military sense) first appears in O'Meara's Napoleon in Exile, 1822: "I love a brave soldier who has undergone, le baptême du fer, whatever nation he may belong to." In other words a baptism of iron or a baptism of the blade. This informative site gives the English "baptism of fire" as first appearing 1857.

    (See bilby's Anzac Day list for the comments that sent me off on this tangent.)

    April 25, 2009

  • And it would seem I'm not alone in being unaware of its being a particularly Australian usage.

    April 25, 2009

  • Yes, it's spruik to rhyme with juke. I have had the entertaining discovery today that this is an Australian word of uncertain origin.

    The Australian Macquarie Dictionary offers:

    /spruk/ (say sproohk) Colloquial

    --verb (i)

    1. to harangue or address a meeting: to spruik the benefits of a unionised workforce.

    2. to harangue prospective customers to entice them into a show, strip joint, shop, etc.: *In Chinatown they are now subtly spruiking for custom. --herald, 1990.

    --verb (t)

    3. to promote; argue publicly for: to spruik the new legislation. origin uncertain

    --spruiker, noun

    The New Shorter Oxford adds NZ to the mix, dates it as early 20th century, has no further clues about origins and says: "Esp. of a showman; hold forth, speak in public." With the spruiker, therefore, "a speaker employed to attract custom to a sideshow, a barker; a public speaker."

    The spelling makes me wonder whether there's some Dutch or South African in there. Certainly there's a family resemblance to spreken, sprechen and that general family of words.

    April 25, 2009

  • This makes me think of the term "organ bore", which seems to me to have a double meaning… (one of which should only be used with the utmost affection and indulgence).

    April 21, 2009

  • Thinking of bilby this Easter.

    April 12, 2009

  • According to one source it applies only to quadrupeds: "That part of the spine which reaches from betwixt the shoulder blades to the loins. This name seems only applicable to quadrupeds, because they cannot reach it to scratch."

    But I don't know – there's definitely a small part of my back that I can't scratch satisfactorily, and I'm bipedal all the way.

    April 10, 2009

  • Ha!

    April 10, 2009

  • What's a nilby mouth anyway? Is there such a thing as a nilby? Bilby?

    April 9, 2009

  • Coined by H.L. Mencken, c./pre-1940 from ecdysis, Greek word referring to the shedding of an outer layer of skin in snakes, crustaceans and insects; or moulting.

    Gypsy Rose Lee took an objection apparently:

    "Ecdysiast, he calls me! Why, the man Mencken…has been reading books! Dictionaries! We don't wear feathers and molt them off…What does he know about stripping?"

    (Clearly she'd been reading a dictionary or two herself.)

    March 29, 2009

  • Tripper is German for gonorrhoea.

    March 29, 2009

  • Parole is German for password

    March 29, 2009

  • Bug is the German word for nose (in aviation, i.e. of a plane)

    March 29, 2009

  • Tag is German for day

    March 29, 2009

  • Dag is Norwegian for day

    March 29, 2009

  • sionnach has omitted the crucial thing about dags: they're still attached to the sheep, usually around its nether regions.

    March 29, 2009

  • Turns up in Easy Virtue (2009). Larita Whittaker poses for a portrait by "a Spaniard", with picasso-esque results.

    March 28, 2009

  • Turns up in Elvira Madigan. Elvira sells a sketch portrait that had been made of her by a "cripple in a café in Paris".

    March 28, 2009

  • I would have taken plethora's stance until the recent redesign of facebook – at which point it ceased to indulge my fantasies of any kind. Very sad.

    March 25, 2009

  • Also the name of a river (and valley and town) in Tasmania, Australia. Furthermore, Tasmanian choreographer Graeme Murphy created a ballet called Meander (music by Sibelius).

    March 23, 2009

  • Toll is German for mad.

    March 23, 2009

  • Brief is German for letter. This strictly isn't a falsche Freund pair, since we have the legal meaning of "brief", which is a kind of letter-of-instruction.

    March 23, 2009

  • Hart is German for hard.

    March 23, 2009

  • This one's not so strong groan. Kraft is German for power or strength.

    March 23, 2009

  • Leer is German for empty.

    March 23, 2009

  • Gift is German for poison.

    March 23, 2009

  • Today I went past a small ethnic restaurant called "King Tut's Hut". I would always pronounced this "Toot", like the beginning of Tutankhamen. But I wondered whether, in combination with "Hut", the expectation was that we'd pronounce the name to rhyme with the following word. Then, to complicate matters, there was a slogan painted on the window: "Toot and come in." Hmm.

    March 22, 2009

  • The effectiveness of this title depends so much on how you pronounce the Don's name.

    In Australia my mother's generation (but not my mother for some reason) pronounced it "kwiksit". "Quik Quixote" pronounced this way would have quite a nice ring to it. But it's more likely nowadays to be pronounced in a vaguely Spanish way (kee-ho-tay), which spoils the effect in this instance.

    Which reminds me of King Tut

    March 22, 2009

  • Great list!

    March 21, 2009

  • In a special issue of Time magazine, March 2009, Catherine Mayer claims to have coined the term "amortality". She writes:

    "You may not have heard of amortality before — mainly because I've just coined the term. It's about more than just the ripple effect of baby boomers' resisting the onset of age. Amortality is a stranger, stronger alchemy, created by the intersection of that trend with a massive increase in life expectancy and a deep decline in the influence of organized religion — all viewed through the blue haze of Viagra."

    I guess she may have coined that particular slant on the word (a portmanteau of "amoral immortality" seems to be the gist of it), but not the word itself.

    Australian composer Rae Marcellino, used it as a title for a quartet for cello, guitar, marimba and piano in 1997: Amortality, the art of love and death (A nicer portmanteau of "amor and mortality".)

    Then there seems to be currency in medical circles.

    And this little guide mentions it.

    March 21, 2009

  • Five Reasons Why Wordie is Better than Facebook

    1. The home page is simple and elegant.

    2. The design doesn't randomly change in ways that remove most of the functionality you've come to value.

    3. It's not trying to be something it's not (unless, in a spirit of whimsy, you count flickr).

    4. It's able to waste my time for longer while leaving me with the vague feeling that I might have been improving my mind.

    5. Did I mention that the design doesn't change?

    March 21, 2009

  • On a more serious note, I would also nominate shoeters. Not because they necessarily look bad (quite the contrary) but simply because it's so very foolish to endure extreme discomfort in the service of fashion.

    March 21, 2009

  • Hereby proposed as a word for referring to a skirt that's wider than it is long.

    See comment on this fashion faux-pas list to see why "mini-skirt" isn't adequate to the task.

    March 21, 2009

  • We need a word for any skirt that's wider than it is long. (Skwirt, perhaps?)

    And don't say mini-skirt. If you can wear a skirt that stops 20cm/8" or so from the floor when kneeling and it's still longer than it is wide this isn't a fashion faux pas. It's not a matter of absolute length but of relative proportions…

    March 21, 2009

  • Exactly! It's the strangest feeling. As if I've hopped on a bicycle and found I've forgotten how to ride it. I hope my experience will prove to be more like ice-skating: a few laps around the rink and I'll have found my groove again. Is there a word? Will ponder.

    March 21, 2009

  • Oh seanahan, that article nearly made me cry.

    March 20, 2009

  • See dyer.

    March 20, 2009

  • An epitaph for Mr Dyer:

    Dyer by name, and a dyer by trade,

    Of a dire disease he a die-er was made.

    But mark you well, what seems very quaint:

    A die-er was he of a liver complaint.

    March 20, 2009

  • Frindley is back, having neglected wordie for a bit. Embarrassed to say that it was the recent new facebook debacle which reminded me that I have even more fun over here.

    March 19, 2009

  • Don't forget the loafers. As my mother would say: the Devil makes work for idle hands. (And idle shoes I dare say.)

    March 8, 2009

  • Then there is the common (and very real) condition amongst violinists and violists. It's a deep red round spot on the neck, just where the end pin of the violin/viola (holds the tail piece in place) rubs. Looks for all the world like a permanent hickey.

    February 7, 2009

  • It must be, don't you think? Too clever just to be a boring old typo.

    February 2, 2009

  • In Japanese j�? (that's o with a macron above it) can mean prelude or overture, in connection with traditional theatrical forms.

    February 1, 2009

  • A flat major.

    January 29, 2009

  • Exquisite use of flashcards in the service of music by those who've taken a vow of silence in a performance of the Hallelujah chorus. The thorny theological thicket of the introduction is a treat in itself.

    January 26, 2009

  • Love that song!

    January 25, 2009

  • All-round good-humoured debate in which nothing too serious is at stake. (But it's better if I'm right.)

    January 25, 2009

  • Useful when calling in other people's deadlines.

    January 25, 2009

  • Just in this month deborking began'>revisiting the conversation that was going on before the deborking began: World Wide Words on poodle-faker.

    '>I don't suppose gangerh might kindly consider some judicious deletions? You know, to make following the thread easier?

    January 25, 2009

  • Perfect! Just what I needed to clinch a frindley argument I'm having.

    January 25, 2009

  • A friend of mine has drawn my attention to this project.

    It's for the three-hundredth anniversary of Samuel Johnson's birth, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, at Yale, is "blogging" daily entries from the first edition of Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" (1755). You get images from the original proof copy, which includes Johnson's annotations.

    Into the Bs now, with words like backfriend (a friend back-wards; that is, an enemy in secret – my friend speculates whether this is a precursor to frenemy).

    January 24, 2009

  • Serious question: how long has "research" been accepted as a verb?

    January 21, 2009

  • Possibly the world's earliest emoticon (from 1862) can be examined here.

    January 20, 2009

  • New year resolutions are doomed to failure. So this year I'm going to try Ephiphany Resolutions instead. At the very least it has a nice ring to it and suggests something of both inspiration and wisdom.

    December 31, 2008

  • My problem with new year resolutions is that number one on the list is always "go to bed before pumpkin hour" – and of course the nature of new year's eve is such that I break it instantly! I think I might opt for Epiphany Resolutions this year instead.

    December 31, 2008

  • Thanks mate! Avva good one!

    December 31, 2008

  • I don't think I've ever heard it. I'm more familiar with terms like squiz as in "take a squiz at this".

    December 31, 2008

  • Seen on facebook: "WiiCritic attaches to your face and rings up your points when you purse your lips impatiently, sigh inaudibly, or simply turn your head away in that peculiar critic mix of sorrow and disgust."

    I like this idea!

    December 31, 2008

  • Cute but depressing; these people seem serious.

    December 31, 2008

  • There's a small family resemblance to git, but much funnier.

    But in any case he was "asking for it" wasn't he? Makes wonderful column-fodder…

    December 31, 2008

  • 8: some variations I know they're wrong and they don't rhyme right, just having fun

    ruddy baron

    gore-store raider

    sanguine purloiner

    transfusion peculation

    December 31, 2008

  • I settled on Béla Lugosi not only because he is, in my mind, the most famous and quintessential of the vampire actors but also because he, like van Damme, was not born in an English-speaking country.

    December 31, 2008

  • Well, I must confess that I consulted my exceedingly fat Dutch-English dictionary and finding no joy there, gave up. Now if only I'd thought to delve into the back issues of the New York Times…

    December 31, 2008

  • 23: Yeats

    "Cast a cold Eye On life, on Death. Horseman, pass by!"

    December 31, 2008

  • 8: I know this is totally wrong. (How do I know? not only because the sequence in the logic is off but because of internet caching and this question having been asked in 2006.) But here, regardless, is my proposal, just for the hell of it: Béla Lugosi.

    December 31, 2008

  • Hoboken would have been a more satisfying solution if this Dutch name had meant something in English, as O.E. Deutsch's name does.

    The fact that it doesn't is what diminished my confidence in the answer, since you gave Schubert : German as the clue, rather than Schubert : Deutsch. But then, if you'd given the latter I would have gotten it in the twinkling of an eye and perhaps that would have been less fun for the spectators…

    December 31, 2008

  • 34: My guess is Tassili. If not that then some other cave location in Africa, corresponding the Lascaux Caves in France.

    December 29, 2008

  • 35: The picture's very, very small, but it looks like a peat-bog woman, so I'm going to say Seamus Heaney.

    December 29, 2008

  • That's Hugo Alfvén, Swedish composer and would-be watercolourist.

    December 29, 2008

  • Alas yes. There was a time last century when Alfvén's Midsummer Vigil piece (Midsommarvaka, aka in a watered-down version as Swedish Rhapsody No.1) was programmed on orchestral concerts all over the world all the time.

    December 29, 2008

  • 12: Ok, here's some convoluted rationalisation for you.

    One possible answer could be Hoboken. It goes like this: Schubert's catalogue numbers are Deutsch numbers (as in Otto Erich Deutsch, but the name does mean German) and Haydn's catalogue numbers are Hoboken numbers.

    Another possible answer would hinge on the fact that Schubert wrote a German Mass (or Deutsche Messe). Unfortunately there isn't really a Haydn mass that makes a truly neat correspondence to that (with either a place/language as its nickname or written in some vernacular), with the possible exception of the Mariazeller Messe.

    Neither of these possibilities seem really convincing (to me), but with enough gymnastics they kind of work. But no doubt I will wake up at three in the morning with the simple, elegant solution staring me in the face…

    December 29, 2008

  • 36: Babe!

    December 29, 2008

  • 37: is anyone else finding it difficult to make out the words in the second clip (which are presumably important here)? I realise it's been solved, I was just trying to work it out for myself.

    December 29, 2008

  • 38: Sweden (I haven't heard the Midsummer Vigil in sooo long – Alfvén is sadly out of fashion nowadays)

    December 29, 2008

  • Coming to this very late and finding 21 already solved, I was caught out by my own expectations when I eventually scrolled down to the question. Say Mendelssohn and Fingal's Cave to me and the artwork I think of isn't Turner's painting but a wood engraving from 1850. I can't find it online, but in composition and manner it's somewhat like this only a lot stormier and more turbulent looking.

    The engraving captures something that Turner's outward-looking painting fails to show, but which is tremendously important, and here I quote Mendelssohn himself:

    "A greener roar of waves surely never surged into a stranger cavern, whose many pillars made it look like the inside of an immense organ, black and resonant, utterly without purpose, completely isolated."

    December 29, 2008

  • 17: Solveig

    19: Warsaw

    December 29, 2008

  • Now regarding 12, you could be getting into tricky ground there. First, you know there's a thesis arguing that Haydn was Croatian? Part of the problem is the changing borders in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But for the most part he's regarded nowadays as Austrian (Rohrau is considered lower Austria, I think).

    But what I can't work out is the "Schubert : German" clue. Because Schubert was most definitely Austrian. In fact he was one of the few composers who became famous in Vienna (Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn et al) who was actually born in that city.

    So if it's Schubert and a country where he wasn't born and didn't visit, perhaps we need a country where Haydn wasn't born and didn't visit (which rules out England as well as Austria). But perhaps I'm being too clever for my own good. (I'm also implying that you've made a mistake, which is hasty.)

    So pondering further… Schubert spoke German, but so did Haydn. Schubert wrote sets of German Dances for piano, but so did Haydn (fewer of them though); Haydn did write "London" and "Paris" Symphonies and many "British folksongs" but the parallel there isn't neat enough for my liking.

    December 29, 2008

  • Clarification required around question 19: The clip is Baba Yaga (the Hut on Hen's Legs). It does eventually segue into the Great Gate of Kiev about half way in. Question is – should this be considered significant, or should we just listen to the second part of the audio clip the clue and ignore old Baba Yaga?

    Oh, what the heck. I don't think Baba Yaga has anything to do with it at all. It's the Warsaw Concerto, isn't it?

    December 29, 2008

  • See features for Ogden Nash on this subject.

    December 29, 2008

  • Farewell, Farewell, you old rhinocerous

    I'll stare at something less prepocerous.

    - Ogden Nash

    I needed to check a madeupical spelling matter and so I was brought to a certain rhino site. I am posting the link here, because not only does it outline what rhinos eat ("All rhinos are herbivores. Some eat grass; others eat buds, leaves, and fruit. They all eat a lot!"), it also posts clips of how they talk!

    Furthermore, I learn, the rhino is an odd-toed ungulate and has a prehensile lip.

    December 29, 2008

  • XBox and Lionhead Studios throw new shade on the matter:

    "A hero’s best friend. This ground-breaking addition to the game is integral to the theme of unconditional love in Fable II. The canine companion will act as friend, compass and protector. Players must merely feed their pooch and he will love unconditionally, creating a bond that sets up emotion-filled journeys all throughout this magical world."

    December 29, 2008

  • But see also mellon collie

    December 28, 2008

  • I nominate git.

    December 23, 2008

  • Alas yes. Rather like decimate, quantum and "quantum leap/change" can't really be used precisely in everyday language. Best to leave it to the scientists, and confine it to the bin of corporate weasel words elsewhere

    December 21, 2008

  • I wonder as I wander out into the mall

    What I shall buy Jenny and Brian and all

    Something unique, yes, but something that's small

    I wonder as I wander out into the mall

    I really should've done this a full month ago

    It's so hard to shop when we're moving so slow

    And where's the inspiration I just do not know

    I really should've done this a full month ago

    A Shopping Carol, with apologies to John Jacob Niles

    December 21, 2008

  • On cleaning out his car one day a man found a McDonald's apple pie under the front passenger seat. The packaging was in pristine condition and there was no sign of mold or deterioration, which amazed him, since he and his wife had sworn off McDonald's food more than three years before. Still, it looked good. So he took a bite. And it still burned his mouth!

    December 7, 2008

  • So how do you dry your clothes? Personally, I love my hills hoist. And I didn't realise just how much until I lived in America for three years: not once was I able to hang my sheets out in the sunshine.

    December 7, 2008

  • An erroneous flashing point on a radar screen, representing nothing and typically accompanied by a short, high-pitched and out-of-tune sound.

    December 6, 2008

  • The esky, bilby? Or the hills hoist?

    December 5, 2008

  • Indeed it is. It belongs to the same rhetorical class as kleenex and bandaid and esky but it's too early in the morning for me to recall what that's called.

    December 5, 2008

  • I use ablute as a verb all the time and think it's a shame this excellent word isn't "official"

    December 4, 2008

  • Grow like topsy

    December 4, 2008

  • Fascinating. Let me explain how this word ended up on my list (and yes, the best synonym, and certainly what I intend when I use it, is air sandwich).

    I came across it relatively recently, reported to me from a conversation about concert programming. A concert (I don't know which one) for an orchestra (not mine) was described thus by its creator(!). And it just struck me as a wonderfully apt phrase for the kind of concert program (I'm surmising here) where there are various nice things to be heard, but no actual meat, nothing to make that concert compelling for the audience and musicians. So I think I will use it myself when suitable occasions arise, while simultaneously hoping that they rarely do!

    December 4, 2008

  • Novel by Marcus Clarke set in a Tasmanian convict settlement.

    December 2, 2008

  • Apparently from an Old Norse word, referring to foam from a horse's mouth.

    November 30, 2008

  • Throw it, catch it – but only by the tail. Foxtail is about the only ball game I've ever truly enjoyed.

    November 30, 2008

  • I'd make some suggestions but I'm flat out like a lizard drinking.

    November 30, 2008

  • Maestro Wide; Sinsation; Snell Roundhand (I always imagine someone writing very fast); Snipple; Manifesto

    November 27, 2008

  • Without wanting to cause offence, I have to confess that I consider the wedge-shaped "scone" an abomination. Hard, dense, insufficiently flavoursome, inconveniently crumbly… Fit only for dessert after hard tack.

    (Perhaps they taste ok straight out of the oven, but they're never sold that way, so I stand by my assessment.)

    November 25, 2008

  • Oh come on Beethoven, get out of bed and write some music.


    (It's a fantastic verb, though.)

    November 23, 2008

  • We have editors so that Mozart doesn't die in 1792 more than once a year. Or maybe that's why we have proofreaders.

    November 23, 2008

  • Ah. Exquisite! I think I will make this my wotd.

    November 23, 2008

  • Several of the Harry Potter books came out while I was in the States, so I dressed up in my black opera cape and went to my local bookstore at midnight and bought them there. One year, on a visit to Australia, one of my niblings wanted the latest book in the series, so naturally I bought an Australian edition, which gave me a chance to compare.

    There is one scene where McGonagall offers Harry a biscuit from a tartan tin (with British/Aussie readers assuming something crunchy, possibly, in the context, a shortbread biscuit). The exact line is something like: "Have a biscuit," she said, pushing a tartan tin towards him.

    In the American edition (and I admired this for its deftness as well as refusal to completely kowtow) it read: "Have a biscuit," she said, pushing a tartan tin of cookies towards him.

    It's deft in that McGonagall is not given a line that she would never have uttered, but at the same time the little American readers weren't left thinking that she was offering Harry a hot scone.

    To answer the original question, I would consider biscotti to fall more or less into the British/Aussie biscuit category (although I'd use the Italian name here in Australia because they're not quite like ordinary biscuits either). Would Americans consider biscotti "cookies" I wonder?

    PS. Notice they didn't try to translate "tartan" to "plaid"…

    November 23, 2008

  • Definitely "anxiousness", i.e. the noun formed from "anxious" in its second sense of wanting something very much (as opposed to "anxiety", which refers to "anxious" in its first sense of worry and nervousness).

    I'd also add this non-technical observation: I regard anxiousness more as a motivating force, and anxiety as a feeling or state.

    November 23, 2008

  • Not to mention Donald McDonald.

    November 22, 2008

  • I want to see someone do an interpretative dance for "Ultrasonic frogs show hyperacute phonotaxis to female courtship calls"

    November 17, 2008

  • Enjoying a "mini-boom in popularity" at the moment, at least according to WWW, although Google still only yields 700 instances, including this one up near the top.

    November 16, 2008

  • I hereby offer for Wordie enjoyment a link to entries in a competition promoting conversation between science and the arts. The task? Dance your PhD. I do not jest.

    Personally I like Professor Singer's tango representing "Generation and Detection of High-Energy Phonons by Superconducting Junctions"; Professor Gaudet has fun with swing (something incomprehensible to do with phosducin); there are a couple of marine biology ones that are fun too; and you will never look at "Resolving Pathways of Functional Coupling in Human Hemoglobin Using Quantitative Low Temperature Isoelectric Focusing of Asymmetric Mutant Hybrids" in quite the same way ever again.

    November 16, 2008

  • Plausible looking Aussie recipe for pikelets, including picture here. Disclaimer: this isn't my mother's recipe and I've not tried it myself, but it looks more or less "right".

    November 16, 2008

  • I guess when your nose begins looking like a pig snout, clan goes out the window and species it is. But yes, in the story it's "clan".

    November 16, 2008

  • When I was working in Cleveland I initiated an office tradition of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (actually, any excuse will do, but that's a particularly good one), for which I made pancakes according to my tried-and-true Australian recipe. My boss informed me that she would call what I'd made Swedish pancakes or perhaps crepes. They were small-dinner-plate size and quite thin. Really nice when sprinkled with caster sugar and lemon juice then rolled up or folded. Mmm.

    Pikelets, which I've not eaten in years are definitely smaller (think diameter of a generous coffee mug or small saucer) and slightly thicker. But I think, too, the recipe is slightly different. There's a picture currently showing up that has a trio of pikelets spread with jam and topped with cream – that's classic. But, my mother also used to make savoury pikelets with parsley and cheese through the mix.

    I've never made the fat-and-fluffy American style pancakes so I don't have a recipe to draw comparison – I guess it includes a raising agent. I do find that kind fairly hard-going to eat.

    PS. Wiki adds: # A small, thick pancake, generally in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Britain. Also known in parts of Britain as a drop-scone or Scotch pancake.

    # A British regional dialect word variously denoting a flatter variant on crumpet or muffin.

    November 16, 2008

  • Then again, the endlessly surprising wikipedia proposes this: "A buttbag (a.k.a musette or haversack) is a bag used in the armies in WWI and WWII and is still used today. The name "buttbag" is a fancy word for the bag these days because it now has a shoulder strap instead and often when walking it is over the buttocks. That kind is now used in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets for camps."

    November 16, 2008

  • See frowsy.

    November 16, 2008

  • Well, I'm not sure how you'd end up finding one in a chief of staff's office, but in my world a musette can be a kind of bagpipe and thus a musette bag would be the air sack that forms the all-essential bellows.

    November 16, 2008

  • baa ram ewe!

    November 15, 2008

  • Here's the wtopnews link.

    November 15, 2008

  • So it would appear there are rules: at least two syllables, and members of the same family have to have the same initial letter.

    November 15, 2008

  • Dutch for: "eighty-eight beautiful canals"

    But you have to say it out loud with the proper sounds for "ch" and "g".

    November 15, 2008

  • I named one of my baroque flutes Terpsichore. The other was called Euterpe. My modern flute was called Claude, before I discovered that "Claudius" meant lame (thanks a heap, Robert Graves).

    November 14, 2008

  • My alarm clock is completely unpredictable. It's a cheap Chinese number (Five Rams), completely mechanical, and even though I carefully wind it up each evening sometimes it just stops in the middle of the night. But I love its vaguely Art Deco styling and its construction (the curved metal back provides the "bell" and when it does ring it's a clanger). Above all I love the soothing way its irregular ticking puts me to sleep with wonderful additive rhythms, and I have yet to find another clock that gives similar satisfaction.

    November 14, 2008

  • Ooh, thank you bilby. A combination of two shades of sage green proved to be very calming indeed. Will now try a nice jacaranda.

    November 14, 2008

  • Frindley is officially not a fan of the website mentioned below, since it has published a scurrilous, pseudonymous, mean-spirited and very poorly researched (actually completely unreasearched sic) article posing as insider "journalism".

    November 13, 2008

  • When the revolution comes, frindley will…

    make the Sydney Morning Herald use the appropriate foreign characters/diacriticals for foreign names. She's sick of seeing Truls Mork instead of Mørk, and Osmo Vanska instead of Vänskä. For Pete's sake, the different characters signal different pronunciations.

    November 13, 2008

  • Nøw, nøw, døn't discriminåtë ågåinst øther Nørdic diåcriticåls!

    November 13, 2008

  • Headphones

    November 13, 2008

  • They're making up for all the umlauts that the German government has now eliminated from the language. Schade.

    November 13, 2008

  • "Learn Chinese at home

    A better chance to find a new job Don't hesitate,FREE TRIAL now!"


    November 13, 2008

  • Turned out, extended, flexed, pointed, en pointe, demi-pointe – beautifully encased in satin slippers that hide the stiffened canvas and leather and the miserably bloodied and blistered toes, vainly encased in strips of sheep's wool.

    I know.

    November 13, 2008

  • Business Logic Anomaly Menders and Extractors

    idiots'>acronym courtesy of elgiad007 on idiots

    November 13, 2008

  • Code Outputting Resources for Programmed Service Engineering

    idiots'>another wonderful acronym courtesy of elgiad007 on idiots

    November 13, 2008

  • Bilby's Utilitarian Lightfisted Lending Corps for Resourcing Australian Projects

    thank you bilby-of-the-10000-comments

    November 13, 2008

  • * bakes special Armenian nutmeg cake and prepares to launch *

    November 13, 2008

  • But much, much tastier!

    November 13, 2008

  • Lollies, confectionery… yum! Oh, that would be candy too.

    November 12, 2008

  • My English grandmother used to send one out every year. Always one of the beautiful card ones with windows. (No sweets!)

    November 12, 2008

  • Clothing retailers seem to have decided that "pant" singular is the way to refer to the two-pronged garment one wears on one's legs. As in, "jacket $250, shirt $95, pant $125". But I've yet to hear of anyone "being caught with their pant down", or "pulling on their pant in the morning", or "ironing creases in their pant". Where does this nonsense come from? Will it die a natural death?

    November 12, 2008

  • I'd love to add my blog to the "also on" list in my profile. But the list of possibilities includes all sorts of services except for mine, TypePad, even though it's a major player and even though Vox, TypePad's little brother, is there. Puzzling…

    November 12, 2008

  • When I was in high school I had a T-shirt which read, in Swedish, "music saved me from sport". (The translation was in small letters on the sleeve.) I loved that T-shirt! And it was true: anyone in the annual school musical was exempt from sport for half the year, because that was when rehearsals took place. Hee hee.

    November 12, 2008

  • According to this article about the Oxford Word of the Year 2008, wardrobe has become a verb, "as in: Ms. Mendes has a long-standing relationship with the house of Calvin Klein and has been wardrobed by Calvin Klein Collection."

    Ugh, ugh, ugh. I'm all for creative language change and interesting new coinages. But really, what is wrong with dressed, which has been serving us so well in this context?

    * contemplates adding new comment to when the revolution comes *

    November 12, 2008

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