2007/12/27

Anonymous Embarrassment

To the uninitiated, A.Word.A.Day is a newsletter issued by wordsmith.org. Every week Anu Garg, the man behind the programme, handpicks five (usually unfamiliar and queer) words with a common theme and talks about their roots, usage and the like. On Sundays he mails 'A Compendium of Feedback on the Words...' revealing what a few subscribers had had to add to/feel about the past week's acquisitions.
For instance, when the word 'jerk' featured one week, nothing stood to stop V Balki from pointing its mechanical definition out.
Garg occasionally decides to have fun, and does not announce the aforesaid theme, leaving it to his readers to crack. The winners are promised prizes. Last week ran one such puzzly quintet.
These were the words:
1, anthropomorphize
2, kafkaesque
3, excursive
4, dysphagia
5, jabberwocky

Divulging the answer is necessary for me to continue. You are free to stop reading for a while if you'd like to work it out by yourself.

One may note the absence of a particular letter in the set... Thus the key to the riddle, as released in the 'Compendium of...' is Noel (notice the date on which the past Sunday fell).
The winner was a Viriginian woman who'd solved it even before the last two words were dispatched.
Well.
A certain Priyadarshini - ahem - sent an entry, believing it to be right, and hoping, as it were, to see her name in the list of correct guessers. Her answer was published in the Sunday compendium thus:

The five words of this week use up all letters of the alphabet. However, you've missed including 'L' and 'N'. But cheer up -- we all make mistakes.
-Name removed to protect the mistaken.

2007/12/03

Ventriloquy

The famous Karan Thapar interview:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=p7ea538r0wuP

For those to whom the URL doesn't open, here's a verbatim account.


Thapar:

Hello and welcome to Devil's Advocate. This week we have with us the recently retired editors of The Fourth Estate, Sayan Ganguly and Gajanana G Krishna. Sayan, let me read out from your editorial foreword.
|| If delay needs to be redefined then the current TFE issue did it pretty well. Let us begin with the customary excuses on why we are behind schedule by a humongous margin.
Hmmm…on second thoughts, let us do away with the excuses... ||
Is this how editors representing an institute's collective voice represent themselves?

Sayan:
Wait a mo. Gimme a chance to say hello before cutting into the uglies. How come you never greet your interviewees before --


Thapar:
Could the editors of a periodical of such weight as The Fourth Estate (pause) ever... be... more... cal-lous-and-ir-res-pon-si-ble? Does it send the right signals to the rest of the varsity? Does it not amount to neg-li-gence-and-pro-cras-ti-na-tion?

[Sayan and GK look at each other with slitted eyes. 'Fellow can't stop', hisses the latter, but is picked up by the microphone.]

GK:
You want us to do a Modi now? Look, we had a sem so tight it would've put to shame a rubber-band around Idi Amin's waist. We were literally going through a timeless existence.

Sayan:
And junta just didn't turn in articles, man. You don't expect us to ghost-write the entire mag, do you?

GK:

Plus we bided time to put out the issue with top-class paper. Take a look at it. You'd swoon, I tell you. So glossy and smooth to touch that in comparison you'd think baby bottoms were rocky as printed circuit boards.


Sayan:
Machaa, control your analogies da.


Thapar:
According to media reports, the share of the magazine dedicated to the Hindi section has climbed dra-ma-ti-cally, from 24.73% in the January edition, to 37.07% in the latest. What do you have to say for that?

GK:
An increment of 12.34% in the Hindi section.


Thapar:

I would like to add that the periodical -- which seems to me a grave misnomer -- as a whole has considerably thinned down.


Sayan:
I've explained this. Lack of contribution from junta.


Thapar:

Which is why Gajanana batted twice in the same innings?


GK:

Eh?


Thapar:

If I may refresh your memory, Mr Editor, you've written not one but two articles in the November issue. An old trick to make thick a lean slick. Is this how Gajanana G Krishna conducts himself? Would you care to hear what people say about Gajanana G Krishna? They say Gajanana G Krishna is a page-hog. They say he abused his editorship. They say he is the epitome of self-nepotism. They say Gajanana G Krishna is the Musharraf of the media.

GK:

Are you done? May I be permitted to speak?


Thapar:
By all means.

GK:
Very nice of you!
Epitome of self-nepotism. Bah! When you run a maggie for the sole purpose of providing quality reading experience to the public, and when the very public is indifferent and enigmatically lacks the time to chip in some of its literary output, you're compelled to insert more of your own columns. The use of the word enigmatically wasn't spont. Blogs all over the insti get updated with commendable posts with rather remarkable regularity. Why not channel some of that talent towards The Fourth Estate? Also, I've ensured nil redundancy in my two articles. They're as cock and keys.

Thapar:

Let us explore the economics of the new edition. According to the SAC Speaker of your institute, each copy took se-ven-ty ru-pees in its making. Why would IIT Madras use up tax-paying citizens' money for garnishing an internally circulated magazine? Why would it not compromise on superlative paper calibre and mobilize the funds to print more copies instead?

Sayan:
Quality and circulation aren't our department.


Thapar:

But you are the
editors of the magazine. You mean to say you do not have a say in the logistics?

GK:

Oh we do.


Thapar:

So you do have a say in the logistics.


GK:
The do was for the mean. We do mean to say we don't have a say in it.


[Thapar and GK penetratively glower at each other for five slow, tense seconds. Thapar breaks off to take a blink and glances at his notes. Sayan is seen showing a thumbs-up gesture to his colleague.]


Thapar:

Let me get down to some specifics... Sayan Ganguly's 'elaborate counter-point' on the Dow issue has sparked substantial unrest among the conservative echelons of your institute. His moral stance has been --

Sayan:

I can't have been more lucid in my piece about my thoughts on the affair. Next question please.

Thapar:

His moral stance has been queried, his patriotism doubted. His reference to "countless poor Pakistani soldiers" has given rise to talk that he maintains clandestine communication with associates in the enemy camp. His attitude to Bhopal victims has been described as apathetic.

Sayan:
Arey baba, this guy is impossible. Listen, you're right. I don't give the tiniest damn to the Bhopal zombies, alright? Isn't that what you wanted from me? And if you haven't guessed already, the prime reason why I'm for Dow is that they make the loveliest silicone implants around, fine? I mean, who cares if Pamela's assets are fake, so long as they shake? Moreover, if and when we join Dow, you think we're ever gonna make better products, better research, and assist our economy? Of course not! Will we capitalists add a hair to raise the standard of living of our land? Never! We'd just loaf around and prick holes in methyl isocyanate tanks. Happy? When your Airtel card is lousy at the time of purchase, your Nokia instrument is to blame, correct? I strongly recommend you read my article in full before making baseless statements.

Thapar:
Glaring typographical errors have been reported from different sections of the student body.

GK:
Those were intentional. At least that way someone might write us some sort of feedback.

Thapar:
Is rechristening a founder of the world's... most... visited... website... to 'Segrey Bin'... an intentional mistake?

[GK says 'Yep' the same instant Sayan says 'No'. They exchange a look before Sayan says 'Yes' the same instant GK says 'Nope'.]

GK:
Hey this is beginning to get confusing. Move on to something else.


Thapar:

How about this? The very first clue to the crossword published in the November edition is totally incorrect.

Sayan:
Go on.

Thapar:
Consequently, the citizenry of IIT Madras was stuck with the grid, resulting in a devastating downscale of confidence levels across the campus. This has been cited in academic circles as the spinal reason behind the steady descent of the IIT's in world rankings.

Sayan:
Fantastic! Get this right: the kid that sent me the crossie never bothered to give me the answers. How the cat am I to know what's wrong with the clues? If IIT dips in global rankings, grill him, not me.


Thapar:

The grid-setter you're alluding to informs me he sent you a follow-up list of the rectified clues.


Sayan:
O yes, he bloody well did that. Twenty four hours later. With long apologies and crap. While I was racing against time in German soil and keeping my psyche intact. For your kind information, I had commitments enough to forget revised clue mails from originals, especially when they come in one of those cascaded gmail 'conversations'.

Thapar:
You've appointed five editors as your successors. Don't you think it, well,
de trop?

GK:

We're hoping to make it de rigueur, actually. Helps to keep the lesser mortals of the insti from bitching about delayed releases and thin editions.

Thapar:
Goscinny's family and Albert Uderzo have vowed to file a lawsuit against the two of you for having illicitly used their constructs in your magazine. In particular,
they deem it "plagiaristic" that TFE's editors should have misappropriated naming patterns, such as 'Framix', 'Shattofix', 'Proffix', 'Sancho Hitasix' and so forth. What have you to say to them?

Sayan:
Fiddlestix.


Thapar
[stretching out hand]:

Thank you, gentlemen, for the time and patience. It was a pleasure talking to you.


[Sayan and GK hi-five with Thapar's palm and stagger off the studio.]