In a Word

n. a bereavement by loss of parents or children

v. to cry out in grief or pain; to lament

n. parental love

adj. harsh to the feelings; bitter, cruel, severe

Of August Friedrich Schenck’s 1878 painting Anguish, one critic wrote in Figaro, “All the world today regards Schenk as one of our first animal-painters. He is one of those originals, of a species not yet extinct, who prefer dogs to men, and find more sweetness in sheep than in women.”

“It is a little drama, this picture, and as poignant as if it had men for actors and victims.”

All Right Then
Image: White Literary LLC

A reader once wrote to E.B. White:

Dear Mr. White,

I’m omitting needless words!

Sincerely yours,

[a reader]

He wrote back:

Dear Ms. ——

Thanks. So am I.


E.B. White

(From Mark Garvey, Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, 2009.)

In a Word

n. the rearing of dogs

adj. in danger of shipwreck

adj. inclined to laughter; happy, lively

v. to mystify

In January 2004 Greg Clark was making a supply run from his home on Kosciusko Island in southeastern Alaska when he radioed that his boat had lost power. With him was his constant companion, Brick, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever. After a three-day search, the Coast Guard found part of the boat’s stern on rocks on the west side of the island, which lies within the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest.

More than a month afterward, two local fishermen were motoring past Heceta Island, several miles from the accident, when they saw a black animal on the beach. They recognized Brick, who swam to the boat and was hauled aboard. He was underweight, his leg was injured, and his fur was matted with tree sap, but he was “wiggling with joy,” according to CBS News. How the dog had stayed alive for four weeks in the harsh Alaskan winter is unknown.



REMEDIABLENESSES, written in a spiral, produces a 4 × 4 word square all of whose entries appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.

IREN is a variant of iron, a DEME is an arbiter or ruler, a SESS is an assessment, the BREE is the eyelid, LEMS are lunar excursion modules, and ENES is an archaic form of once.

(Jeff Grant, “Some of My Favorite Squares,” Word Ways 40:2 [May 2007], 96-102.)

In a Word

n. the recalling of things past; recollection, reminiscence

n. an illogical or irrational statement or notion

n. good order or management

n. saying enough

In “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons,” a hotel manager successfully finds a man’s name in his ledger at Sherlock Holmes’ request even though he knows only the first name.

“I should like to have seen the index to that pay-list,” remarked the Holmes commentator James Edward Holroyd. “How do you enter the name of a man who has no surname? As Beppo ‘X’?”

Possibly the manager used the same indexing system as Holmes himself, who in “The Sussex Vampire” looks up the forger Victor Lynch under V in his record of old cases. “Good old index,” he tells Watson. “You can’t beat it.”

Feet Foremost

“Beheaded limericks” by Arthur Shaw:

A nice pot of gold that was mari,
Belonged to a dan that was harri,
When some cals who were ras
Filled their kets which were bas
She put up a cade which was barri.

A certain young pate who was addle
Rode a horse he alleged to be saddle,
But his gust which was dis,
For his haps, which were mis,
Sent him back to his lac which was Cadil.

In gonia once which was Pata,
A clysm occurred which was cata.
A gineer that was en
Lost his ture that was den,
In a torium there that was nata.

A chap was so pose that was adi
And the butt of such nage that was badi,
He solved that was re
Not to lay that was de
In taking steps cal that were radi.