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X isn’t always for Xylophone

April 29, 2015

I confess that I play the alphabet game in my head quite often. Sleep sometimes eludes me, so I have a number of games I use to help me turn off my head. They often do the opposite. My most frequent is a version of Text Twist in which I think of a six-letter word and try to form words of three letters or more from it. I start with the first letter, working my way through, counting on my fingers. If I don’t think of at least twenty, then I have to start with a new word.

I use songs or poems to find the words; otherwise, I’m stuck with things in the room (carpet, bureau, drawer, window).

Sometimes I think of two related words with the same number of letters and try to start with one, changing one letter at a time to form a new word, until I reach the other. The fewer steps the better.

The alphabet game, though, like the Blogging Challenge this month, is a go-to game. Think of a country with each letter, a student in my classes…, a vegetable, a store, an author’s last name, a song title. Some letters pose problems in certain categories, but X is the most obstinate. As a kid, we always used xylophone for X. It’s in all the children’s books. Over the years, though, I’ve used x-ray, Xanadu, and Xaveria Hollander (the Happy Hooker). I was thrilled to learn how many foreign languages use X at the beginning of proper nouns—China certainly does, with all those X’s that sound like Ch’s.

Of course, there’s always the cheating method of choosing an eX- word. That might have been an eXcellent idea today.

Benjamin Franklin, I believe it was, proposed a simplification of the alphabet, eliminating all the redundancy—soft C, hard C, Z, and S. You know the culprits. Maybe he has an eksepshunal idea!

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