Archive for December, 1998

ZZ: What’s That up in the Sky?

The word that was my favorite Hangman word for years has six letters, none repeating. It makes a good Hangman word if the guessers guess according to the frequency table— Oh, okay, I suppose I have to take time out here to explain the frequency table, for those who don't do cryptograms. It's a list […]

YY: Re + Bus

My parents showed me this when I was a kid; I think they'd known it from childhood: YYUR YYUB ICUR YY4ME They had to explain to me how to read it. "YY" is "two Ys," or "too wise"; the whole thing is thus "Too wise you are, too wise you be; I see you are […]

XX: Go Fish (Reader Comments and Addenda)

Jacob Mattison suggests that the fish symbol derives from the loaves-and-fishes story recounted in John 6. (I guess a loaf was too hard to draw.) He points out a couple of other New Testament mentions of fish: eating fish after the resurrection (John 21), and Jesus telling Peter to catch a fish to pay taxes […]

XX: Go Fish

I always wondered where the X in "Xmas" came from. Or rather, I thought I knew: I thought it symbolized a cross. But recently it occurred to me that the similarity in sound between the words "cross" and "Christ" is an accident; "crossmas" doesn't really make any sense. So why the X? Maybe I was […]

WW: Round and Round We Go

I'm always amused by jokes and rhymes and poems that go in loops. For instance, when I was a kid, my father told me, "Pete and Re-Pete went out in a boat. Pete fell overboard. Who was left?" I answered, "Re-Pete," and he of course said, "Pete and Re-Pete went out in a boat..." Along […]