I have been spring cleaning, but spring is past. I guess you would call it summer cleaning. I ran across an envelope filled with goodies to use in my column. A lot of them had to do with words. And since you know what a word-nerd I am, I just had to share it with you.

I love a challenge. It is hard for me to go to sleep at night without finishing the jumble word game on the comics page in The Telegraph. I have to solve it every day.

The first item I found is a quiz for bright people. There are only nine questions. This is a quiz for people who know everything, but I found out in a hurry that I didn’t have all the answers. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backwards?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many stores you can buy pear brandy with a real pear inside the bottle. It is whole and it is ripe and the bottle is genuine. It has not been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in Standard English begin with the letters “dw.” They are all common words. Can you name them?

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name them?

8. Can you name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed or cooked or in any other form except fresh?

9. There are nine things that you can wear on your feet, beginning with the letter “s.” Can you name all nine?

The answers:

1. Boxing.

2. Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3. Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The strawberry.

5. The pear grew inside the bottle. Bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small and are wired in place to the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7. The 14 punctuation marks include: period, comma, colon, semi colon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces and ellipses (the three dots).

8. Lettuce.

9. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stilts and stockings.

So how did you do?

Another gem in this folder was from dear friend Lucilla:

An Angel in the House

“I wish for you … Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, gentle hugs when spirits sag, friendships to brighten your being, beauty for your eyes to see, confidence for when you doubt, faith so you can believe, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, and love to complete your life.”

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