Today we have an assortment of bits and bobs that we will nattily tie together under the theme words. First up, word games: my name is Tracey and I am a SpellTower addict. Have you played SpellTower? It’s an iPad game that combines elements of Scrabble, Boggle, and Tetris—oh, blessed nerd trifecta! (There’s also an Android version, and you can play it on your iPhone, too, but if you don’t have small fingers you will find yourself constantly making words like floot and merp and drangle.) SpellTower reminds me of the word-search puzzles I loved when I was a kid, the ones you find in those Be A Nice English Lady magazines, hidden between the knitting pattern and an article on how to groom recalcitrant Spaniels. My sticky little hand would drag a biro around a diagonal giraffe and I would feel like the cleverest person alive. I felt pretty damn clever when I reached a SpellTower score of 10,000—I briefly declared myself a SpellTower savant and contemplated a life of professional SpellTowery—until I heard about Jerry:
The other day [Jerry] told me that he’s been playing the same continuous game for over a month now and has obliterated his own high score. He has passed 1,000,000 points, adding about 20,000 points a day. He’s confident he can keep playing as long as he wants.
Did you hear that? Jerry is playing a game that will never end. Don’t envy Jerry his lexical genius. SpellTower will come to rule his life. He will see those colored squares in his dreams. The plink, plink, plink of the letters will drown out all human voices. It is only a matter of time before Jerry stops bathing.
SpellTower was created by an interesting artist/programmer chap called Zach Gage, who you can read about here (no, I don’t know him, and no, this post is not sponsored).
And from the sublime to the truly disgusting: I recently came across this old Language Log post in which the author had compiled a list of the most hated words. Panties and moist are top of the heap, naturally. Other hated words included baffle, squab, cornucopia, fleshy, luggage, and hardscrabble. (I would like to have a cup of tea with the woman who was outraged by hardscrabble. I bet she’s awesome.)
A man called Neven comments:
While I’ve hated the word moist for the longest time, there’s a fouler word: ointment.
What are your most hated words? We took an office poll a while back and came up with spasm, cappuccino, forceps, and polyp. And we all hated panties, of course; I assume Terry Richardson is the only person alive who can say panties without wincing (I assume Terry Richardson says panties twelve times a day, and each time he says panties a bit of drool gets stuck at the corner of his mouth and his nubile young assistant, Cloaca, dabs delicately at the drool with an artisanal tissue and Terry says “Sorry, folks!” and they all laugh like it’s the end of a sitcom and then Terry goes back to taking oversaturated photographs of teenage girls in knee-socks). But for me, there is one clear winner in the nauseating word stakes: slacks. Slacks. Ew. Even the definition—“trousers for casual wear”—makes me want to vomit in a bowl.