Colloquy


JEREMY MORSE rose to SUSAN THORPE'S challenge on page 88 of the May issue. He found the 10-letter BRACHYAXIS in Webster's Secondary Education, with a triangular progression of 17: B (2) RA (19) CHY (36) AXIS (53).

ROSS ECKLER adds: Here is a ten-letter word triangle with three numerically-identical progressions: F/RA/NCO/PHIL 6/19/32/45, with progression 13 (in Webster's Second). Not easy to find by hand! No doubt a computer could be programmed to find all such examples.

JAMES PUDER notes: In Mark J. P. Wolf's "Word Worm Maze" in the last issue, the author challenged readers to traverse his letter array in several series of unconnected words of equal length. Another interesting way of traversing his maze is in complete sentences--in the shortest possible single sentence, say, or in several sentences that are semantically unified. The shortest possible traverse from UL to LR in a single coherent and grammatical sentence is, I would guess, 24 letters:

A RINSER, I BEG TO BUNCH QUARTZ!

Or, if the sentence is not required to end exactly on the Z, then replacing QUARTZ with FURZE reduces its letter length to either 23 or 22, depending on where one chooses to end the count. As for "scenic route" sentential traverses, here's one that I'd title, "An Ancient Viking Bends the Ear of the Guy on the Next Stool, a Purveyor of Semi, Precious Stones":

ARE NO REAL MEN--DENSE MEN!--IN EASE RISEN? "SALESMEN," SIR? BAH! I REMEMBER ME AND TEN DENSE MEN IN AN INSANE, RIBALD, GEM-LADEN RUSH! FINE MEN IN SHIPS, AT A DEBT WE SPAT! I PITY--AY, I PITY!--A "RARE QUARTZ" ERA!

SCOT MORRIS claims that Dr. Irving Joshua Matrix tells him this is a big worry.

2007--Chinese year of the Chicken--Bird Flu Pandemic devastates parts of Asia.

2008--Chinese year of the Horse--Equine Influenza decimates Australian racing. …

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