Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Richard Lederer

 

April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is a time to play pranks on others. These tricks can be verbal, as in the examples below, or they can be physical. Plastic wrap on the toilet seat, alarm clocks set back an hour and the classic “kick me” sign affixed to a friend’s back are a few popular April Fools’ Day pranks. Have a very happy April Fools’ Day, but don’t forget to watch your back!

Read the following nursery rhyme and then answer the question posed in the last line:

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Every wife had seven sacks.
Every sack had seven cats.
Every cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, wives
How many were going to St. Ives?

The answer to the question is one. While the man and his wives and their sacks, cats and kits were going from St. Ives, only the speaker — the I in the rhyme — was going to St. Ives.

If you doggedly multiplied 7 times 7 times 7 times 7 and added one for the man, you were the victim of a language trap. Language traps are brief posers that test your ability to read or listen carefully and to avoid being fooled by misleading information. If you think precisely as you consider the dozen classic language traps in this game, you can avoid being caught by the snapping shut of steel jaws and being dubbed an April fool.

Answers repose at the end of this column.

1. Can you anagram the letters in new door to make one word?

2. What word, when you add a syllable to it, becomes shorter?

3. Which is correct: 9 and 7 is 15 or 9 and 7 are 15?

4. Pronounce out loud the word formed by each of the following letter series: M-A-C-D-O-N-A-L-D, M-A-C-B-E-T-H, M-A-C-H-I-N-E-R-Y.

5. Pronounce out loud the words formed by each of the following letter series: B-O-A-S-T, C-O-A-S-T, R-O-A-S-T. Now, what do you put in a toaster?

6. How many mistakes can you find in this sentence?: “Their are five mistaiks in this sentance.”

7. Name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday or Sunday.

8. Pronounce out loud the words formed by each of the following letter series: B-O-A-S-T, C-O-A-S-T, R-O-A-S-T. Now, what do you put in a toaster?

9. Susan’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?

10. A clerk at the butcher shop is 5 feet 10 inches tall and wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?

11. Read the following sentence slowly and just once, counting the number of F’s:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT
OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY

How many F’s did you find?

12. My name is Stan, and I have five sisters. Each of my sisters has one brother. How many children did my parents have?

13. If a peacock and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half, How many eggs will three peacocks lay in three days?

14. A cowboy had 15 cows. All but nine died. How many cows did he have left?

15. Who can jump higher than a house?

 

Answers

  1. one word 2. short 3. The answer is 16. 4. The last word is pronounced masheenery, not MacHinery.  5. bread 6. Four. There are only three errors in the sentence, so the word five becomes the fourth mistake. 7. yesterday, today and tomorrow 8. bread 9. Susan 10. meat 11. Five. Most people get only three. 12. Six — five girls and one boy 13. None. Peacocks don’t lay eggs. Peahens do. 14. nine. 15. Anyone can. A house can’t jump.