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  • The greatest of the language mavens.

    September 28, 2009

  • William Safire, the conservative columnist and word warrior who feared no politician or corner of the English language, died Sunday (September 27th, 2009) at age 79.

    The Pulitzer Prize winner died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, family friend Martin Tolchin said.

    Safire spent more than 30 years writing on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. In his "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine and more than a dozen books, Safire traced the origins of words and everyday phrases such as "straw man," "under the bus" and "the proof is in the pudding."

    Associated Press.

    September 28, 2009