Words & Stuff

q: Off With Their Heads (Reader Comments)

(31 August 1997)

Dobe suggests "are <-- share," which brings up an extension or variation of the Queen's Game: beheading by two letters to produce a non-rhyming word. I'm not certain yet whether such two-letter beheadments are significantly more common than the one-letter version; so far I've only found a few:

at <-- beat/heat
cord <-- record
eat <-- great
me <-- name

Of course, one could generalize further to allow removing any number of letters from the beginning of the word to produce a non-rhyming word, but I suspect that much expansion opens the field too wide.

Jim Moskowitz found an expanded version of the beheadable sentence in Dmitri Borgmann's Language on Vacation:

Show this bold Prussian that praises slaughter, slaughter brings rout. Teach this slaughter-lover his fall nears.

Which, of course, beheads to: "How his old Russian hat raises laughter -- laughter rings out! Each, his laughter over, is all ears."

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Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>