Published on

Quoigning Words And Digesting Tales


Graham Greene, we hear, sucked at spelling. And so, when playing Scrabble, he resorted to the classic poor speller's trick: quoigning new words.

The problem, according to Meyer, was that [Graham] Greene's spelling was “deeply dubious”, and the pair did not have a dictionary. During a stay in Tahiti, Greene produced the words “zeb”, which he claimed was an Elizabethan word for “cock”, and “quoign” which he insisted was Shakespearean, quoting: “Yon castle's quoign that Duncan's spirit haunts.”

Meyer thought the line was as dubious as Greene's spelling and, in the sultry Tahitian nights, tempers frayed. The pair were still arguing when they reached San Francisco, months later. They ran straight from the ship to a second-hand book store and found a dictionary.

The word was in, spelled “quoin”, which satisfied Greene, though as Meyer pointed out, “quoin” would not have landed on a triple letter score.

I don't feel so bad now for tricking my eleven year old nephew into believing that qyonder was the one of the few words in English where a u didn't follow the q. Think it meant a problem at a distant place. I hope he mentions me in his autobiography, but given that he hasn't bothered to look up qyonder yet, that is a very distant possibility. He isn't that good at cricket either.

Mr Greene and Scrabble (Through Bookslut)

Meanwhile, everyone else in the world seems to have watched the new Potter movie. I want to go watch it tomorrow, so that I can tell people that the book was so much better than the movie. To make that statement with authority, I had to read the book first, so I read it online here – check back next week for the post that tells you the book is so much better than the movie.

The Guardian Digested Read is my (very belated) find of the year.

Why, I even read the entire dirty book that Falstaff talks about so much. In five minutes, no less. Let's see you beat that buddy.

And before I sign off, check out Gayathri's crisp little review of Harold Pinter's A Birthday Party. And wish the soon to be marriajed (damn, that's better than qyonder) Veena. To balance out the sexes, here's another bad speller exposed.

Update: Somehow, this post would like to think it spawned this one. It feels rather proud about the fact.

It is as if we are too pug-nosed individually, but together, we create a patrician nose a Roman would be proud of. And from atop that noble proboscis, we gaze down upon the world. For all our toils for the sake of being included, exclusion is the ultimate reward.