The Last Word - Autumn 2004 Answers
I Think, Therefore Iamb
“I doubt if very many people in freshman English composition these days could answer this. As a matter of fact, I don’t think very many PhDs in English could come up with all of these!” So says frequent Last Worder Murray Zimmerman MD ’44. The first claim may be true, but the second, we are pleased to announce, is most certainly not. Of the 101 readers who attempted this literary Last Word, fully a third got straight A’s. Among them is Nancy Friedman, a former comp lit major at UC Berkeley, who writes: “I knew this stuff would come in handy one day!” Right you are, Nancy.
Many less-successful puzzlers were tripped up by clue 11, which described the term for a “witheringly cruel form of satire.” Quite a few opted for “lampoon” or “parody.” We were looking for “Juvenalian,” named for poison-tongued Roman poet Juvenal, who wrote this about moralists of his age: “Do you rebuke foul practices, when you are yourself the most notorious delving-ground among Socratic reprobates? A hairy body, and arms stiff with bristles, give promise of a manly soul: but sleek are your buttocks when the grinning doctor cuts into the swollen piles.” Many of you also missed clue 4, describing a term for animal fables. While “allegory” and “parable” were good tries, we were hoping for something truly beastly: hence, “apologue,” which the OED defines as “a story in which the actors or speakers are taken from the brute creation or from inanimate nature.”
To our five winners, chosen by lot from 33 correct entries, USC Trojan Family Magazine extends $30 Borders gift certificates. The lucky, super-literate Last Worders are (drum roll, please): Jean Holloway MA ’85; Bonnie Rogers EdD ’80; Jim Town ’01; Krimhilde Roth MA ’81; and Michael Voss PhD ’98.
The answers to “I Think , Therefore Iamb” are below.
1. Conceit (Petrarchan)
5. Spenserian stanza
6. Roman à clef
11. Juvenalian satire