Monday, 5 October 2009

Which means 'Growing' is still my best effort. Any advance?

So, it turns out you can have a whiter shade of pale, and grass that is greener on the other side. You can have redder blood than I; tell bluer jokes, and have a blacker heart. Your face can be pinker; browner; yellower; greyer or even purpler than mine. But... there's no such word as 'oranger'. What crazy system is this? How am I meant to compare two things, both of which largely reflect light at a wavelength between 585 to 620 nm, but one noticeably more so than the other? How am I supposed to differentiate between half-hearted and fervent supporters of the Dutch royal family? What sort of a impoverished tongue is it in which we cannot point out that both these oranges are orange, but this orange is the oranger orange? It's an outrage.

(I accept it is possible that to fully appreciate the enormity of this situation, you may need to be an occasional insomniac; to try to defeat your insomnia by playing word games in your head, such as the one where you build up a word by adding a letter at a time, each time creating a valid word; and to have believed last night that you had smashed your previous record with the sequence 'a, an, ran, rang, range, orange, oranger, orangery'. Until you checked the dictionary this morning, and discovered this OUTRAGEOUS GAP IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. But even if such happens not the case for you, I expect you're pretty cross about it.)


Marie said...

And yet, orangery: perfectly fine.

PS when did your blog go all purty?

riffle said...

I think the lack of a superlative form for "orange" indeed reveals the rottenness at the heart of the english so-called "language." It must be destroyed.

I set my Agency upon this and found some good news, which in other cases would be bad news: You appear to be relying upon an inferior dictionary. In the 1971 edtion of the Oxford English Dictionary (1979 U.S. printing) I find on p. 2002 the following definition:

Oranger rare: A sailing-vessel employed in the orange trade.

1880 Sir S Lakeman: What I Saw in Kaffir-land, xii 149; "Nothing afloat, from a St. Michael oranger to a fifty-gun frigate, could stand with her in a gale."

So you have indeed bested your "growing," in my opinion. Laudable not only for that success but also for introducing me to a new insomnia-defeating mental game.

I like your new design but now I'll never find out if the dog actually succeeds in digging up the crab.

John Finnemore said...

Marie - Yesterday. Rather tasteful, isn't it?

Riffle - M'yes, I suppose so. It's a bit of a hollow win, though - like those people who consider that words like 'fy - an interjection expressing reproach' or 'jo - Scots dialect for 'beloved'' have a place in an ordinary game of Scrabble. But I couldn't sleep last night either, and came up with 'Prelates'. So, one way or the other, eight's the score to beat...

The dog never caught the crab. The dog has never caught anything in all his life. The dog would have no idea what to do with a crab - or anything else - if he did catch it. The dog is an idiot.

Benet said...

"Growing" - how? Surely you get stopped either at "rowi" or at "Growi" - neither of which are words.

Am I wrong?

simon said...

Do I win a crab?

Richard O. Smith said...

Because we're sensitive blog followers who care about your well being, I'm duty bound to point out that indulging in exactly this kind of brain activity whilst attempting to get to sleep is the polar opposite of sleep inducing behaviour, even risking perpetual insomnia. So much better to log out of your brain, and power down. Admittedly you’ve got a more powerful brain than mine, hence it probably requires longer to power down, but it’s more conducive to receiving a restorative 8 hours each night. Duly recharged, this should enable you to write more comedy to entertain us office working drones from sector C.

Talking of writing comedy, how does re-commissioning work? Do the BBC ring up unexpectedly one afternoon, and require another 6 episodes documenting the misadventures of MJN Airways, or do you have to lobby, pitch, badger, beg, annoy and continually re-appraise what constitutes an acceptable level of self-dignity until the BBC submits? (I’m currently attempting to shift a recurring image of Alan Partridge lap-dancing for a BBC commissioning editor. Now attempting to log out of my brain.)

John Finnemore said...

Benet - You are, I regret to say, wrong. See below.

Simon - Quite right. Please accept this commemorative crab.

Richard - You say that, but actually word games and crossword puzzles are the only things I've found that do sometimes work, though admittedly they sometimes don't. As for the re-commissioning process, both the methods you describe can occur. The usual one is probably somewhere in the middle.

Stu Beale said...


Errrrr, think that's right.

John Finnemore said...

Stu - Pretty good. I'm not totally happy about the abbreviation 'Lat', though...

Stu Beale said...

Couldn't sleep yesterday. So then:

Ra (as in the ancient Egyptian god. Screw you microsoft)

Musical Lottie said...

I'm very late to the party but just had to comment: I've had chronic insomnia for well over 10 years (I'm now 21) and I always used to go through various numerical sequences in my head. Didn't help, just kept me occupied! Anyway, recently I've been using Cabin Pressure games and am quite amused to find this new game :) As my brain is wired much better for numbers than for words, hopefully the amount of brain power it will take will tire me out so I can sleep!

hakan altan said...

Blaze movie watch.

Dominic C. said...

I am many years late to this post, but I am dismayed that nobody has suggested "morange".

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