Monday, July 23, 2018


                                    Eh? Too Canadian?                               
                                          Howard Richler

As Canada has reached the august age of 151, I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on a  quintessential Canadianism. In 1959, when Canada was but a mere whippersnapper of 92, Harold Allen in his article Canadian-American Speech Differences Along the Middle Border, which appeared in the Journal of the Canadian Linguistic Association, wrote: “Eh? is so exclusively a Canadian feature that immigration officials use it as an identifying clue.” While not as pervasive nowadays, some Americans take pleasure in pointing to our proclivity for using the term. Perhaps you’ve seen the Molson commercial entitled The Office Fight in the I Am Canadian series where an American gets his “bell rung” after mocking a Canadian’s supposed ubiquitous usage of eh?
Granted the supposed Canadian addiction to the word eh? is a stereotype,  it is a word  that Canadians are famous (or perhaps infamous) for.  While its use is not unique to Canadian English, Canadians appear to use it more widely and more often than other speakers of English.
In the early 1980s, eh? was used in  a satirical sense on  the comedy  program SCTV that was featured on CBC. In a segment entitled Great White North we were introduced to the beer-chugging brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie who peppered virtually every sentence with at least two ehs? More recently, in May 2017, I read an article entitled Origins of eh? How 2 little letters came to define Canadians by CBC’s Paul Karchut in  which  he quotes Derek Denis, a post-doctorate fellow at the University of Victoria’s linguistic  department, who said that  “the SCTV  sketches changed how Canadians and people outside of Canada  viewed the word {eh}.”  It is my recollection, however, that Americans were mocking the Canadian use of the word for a long time before that. I attended a summer camp in New York State as a thirteen-year old in 1961 in which I was often derided by my American bunkmates for my supposed repeated use of the word eh?
When I was teased by Americans for my oft-used ehs? I would point out to them that it was merely an equivalent to their use of the equally inelegant huh?  And, whereas a Canadian might say “So you got a new car, eh?, an American would utter “So you got a new car, huh?”  In both cases, one is using the add-on to confirm a fact. Truth be told, Canadians will use eh? to confirm whether the person you’re talking to has really absorbed what you’re telling them. So a Canadian might say “Well, I got a new car, eh?” whereas an American is unlikely to say “Well I got a new car, huh?” The use of eh? for the Canadian in this instance is an attempt for confirmation from the person you’re addressing that they have bothered to recognize what you’re asserting.
Actually, eh? predates the birth of our nation  by almost half a century aa Geoffrey Chaucer used the Middle English ey? in The Canterbury Tales in the late 14th century. In the United Kingdom there are two main constructions of the word as a request for repetition and as a tag. Here are some literary examples from British and Irish writers:
              “Wasn’t it lucky? Eh! (Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer, 1773)
“And who is to look after the horses, eh”    (Emily Bronté, Wuthering Heights,1847)

“So you think he might be hard on me, eh? (Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852)

“Breakfast out here, eh?  (George Bernard Shaw, Arms and the Man, 1894)

And had I been an erudite 13-year old in 1961, I could have pointed out how even American writers stooped to use eh?:

“Didn’t come, eh?”  (Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, 1926)
“So this is Brooklyn, eh?”  (Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, 1949)
“Not like some people we know, eh?” (J.D.Salinger, Franny and Zooey, 1961)

This being said, we must admit that eh? is rather prolific in Canada. In fact, Kalin Wright in Eh is Canadian Eh? lists ten functions of  the word eh? in Canadian English.

1)    Statement of opinion                                     Nice day, eh?
2)    Statement of fact                                             It goes here, eh?
3)    Command                                                          Open the window, eh?
4)    Exclamation                                                       What a game, eh?
5)    Question                                                             What are you trying to do, eh?
6)     Pardon substitute                                            Eh? What did you say?
7)    In a fixed expression                                        Thanks, eh?
8)    Insult                                                                    You’re a real snob, eh?
9)    Accusation                                                          You took the last piece, eh?
10)Telling a story                                                    The guy is on the 27th floor, then he gets on the   ledge, eh?               

By all accounts, however, in the last decade there has been a marked decline in the use of eh? by Canadian kids who are more likely to employ right?,  or the inelegant American huh? as a tag-on to their speech. This tendency is most common in large Canadian cities as young people regard the use of eh? as non-cool and rural. After all, what self-respecting young person wants to sound like their nerdy parents or country cousins?

It’s a crying shame, eh?

Richler’s latest book is Wordplay: Arranged and Deranged Wit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018



2101-Palindrome Name a palindromic phrase that questions whether a certain type of bird has theological thoughts
2102-Divergent Words  a)wag-chin-a        b)high-coat-empire   c)screw-print-tom
2103-Split Definitive night before balance (7)    ®
2104-Palindrome Palindromic announcement to the guys from Marshall Bruce Mathers 111
2105-Divergent Words a) lemon-locust-cake     b)baby-tea-mix     c)baguette-got-baked
2106-Split Definitive  swindle exam(7)   (c)
2107-Anagram     Aroma  
2108-Divergent Words  a)leaf-paper-wood    b)spy-hill-sting    c)hell-call-pole
2109-Split Definitive money only    (8)   (c)       
2110-Anagram  Ruins Austrian composer’s symphony    
2111-Divergent Words    c)coal-palm-recognition     b)cone-button-red           c)duck-wind-shirt
2112-Split Definitive Puzzle    prophet chump  (10)  (s)
2113-Anagram  Apathetic Swiss city     
2114-Divergent Words  a)core-crab-computer    b)bow-authority-ion    c)golden-tea-cap
2115-Anagram  Freshest 
2116-Split Definitive fake diamond  (8)    (r)
2117-Divergent Words   a)rehearsal-coat-full    b)under-sissy-ski     c)chaser-out-tube
2118-Split Definitive Puzzle   act in a more uncontrolled fashion    (8)   (b)
2119-Anagram  Strong needs move like waves
2120-Divergent Words    a)fast-wheat-saw     b)shiner-proof-church     c)complain-car-way
2121-Split Definitive Puzzle     prisoner stretched tight (11)   (s)
2122-Anagram  Honor imperial authority  
2123-Divergent Words   a)ball-shoe-by      b)wings-deep-back     c)eyed-hip-bald
2124-Split Definitive Puzzle Archive swarming crowded curve  (7)   (h)
2125-Anagram     anagrammatically describe how many millennia make this
2126-Divergent Words  a)over-wing-dog   b)check-less-instinct     c)room-lock-dog
2127-Split Definitive Puzzle   debts of little devils   (7)   (i)
2128-Commonality What do these words have in common?      medal-manure-priest  
2129-Divergent Words  a)cup-warmer-on       b)foot-faced-sour     c)off-cubes-rush
2130-Split Definitive           often, 72  (9)  (a)
2131-Commonality What do these words have in common?      carnal-harem-ornate 
2132-Divergent Words  a)bow-square-strong      b)hold-hatch-board       c)hold-jam-rag
2133-Split Definitive Puzzle   togetherness of naughty fairies   (8)  (i)
2134-Difference What is the existential difference between TH  and MP?
2135-Divergent Words  a)shoe-green-bill    b)led-white-poison   c)cat-nee-manhandle
2136-Split Definitive Puzzle   commercial speech      (9)   (a)  
2137-Commonality What do these words have in common?      state-action-sable  
2138-Divergent Words  a)spray-super-flu     b)razor-red-net        c)sea-Indian-Baltimore
2139-Split Definitive browse row   (8)   (t)
2140-Anagram  Discreet rental of your apartment to a third party 
2141-Divergent Words    a)gate-glass-back       b)devotee-health-cracker     c)boiled-aha-Chinese
2142-Split Definitive play on words sharp punch    (6)  (p)
2143-Anagram  beached quadruped    
2144-Divergent Words   a)box-red-bar   b)box-ern-sailor       c)box-sticks-corn
2145-Split Definitive sudden idea for each one    (7)  (w)
2146-Anagram  can that describe a clad  omnivore    
2147-Divergent Words    a)out-word-family     b)laughing-plunged-soap   c)attack-poop-under
2148-Split Definitive  sweep over with a camera attempt    (6)   (p)
2149-Anagram  Lemon Ford in English city   
2150-Divergent Words   a)party-blood-roll     b)bread-chips-wrap     c)art-tree-pockets
2151-Split Definitive    lay to rest goal  (12)   (m)
2152-Anagram    very wide flat piece of wood
2153 Divergent Words   a)stepping-Canada-bay     b)red-rush-ring   c)roe-owing-fish
2154- Split Definitive  colorless gas devoured (7)  (n) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2155-Anagram  a certain group of non-drunk Africans
2156-Divergent Words   a)dry-orbital-yard      b)up-stage-chair       c)curve-down-white
2157- Split Definitive fighter pilot kind of sound (7)  (t) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2158-Commonality  nuance-realm-improve
2159-Divergent Words   a)food-jack-punch    b)paper-blow-boy        c) round-computer-heart
2160- Split Definitive         wager glimmer  (6)  ( r) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2161-Anagram  Bloodsuckers found in London or NYC   (ALTERNATE SPELLING)
2162-Divergent Words   a)Easter-elephant -eared   b)omega-running-gone        c)thorn-eye-quick
2163-Split Definitive         crazy porcine creature      (9)      (m)
2164-Commonality maple-orgasm-grate   NI
2165-Divergent Words   mulled-sap-boxWINE      pulled-barrel-saltPORK      taxi-high-snakeWATER
2166-Split Definitive         Exhale   formerly healthy  (6)  (e)
2167- Anagram an arbiter who accepts bribes 
2168-Divergent Words   be-I-sight    flap-fight-fat        toe-post-wood
2169-Split Definitive          in favour of price offering (10)    (b)
2170-Anagram   tiresome beyond immediate environment
2171-Divergent Words   mixer-saw-held      ward-wash-welcome      jar-land-pencil
2172-Split Definitive        Shimon’s three-person administrative council  (11)  (p)
2173-Anagram Reclusive person who believes her country should keep its king or queen instead of becoming a republic  
2174-Divergent Words   run-rubber-dance   window-watch-back   moon-follow-star
2175-Split Definitive Puzzle     trough bug   (9)   (t) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              
2176-Commonality    gravy-celery-brain
2177-Discern the convergent words    room-nudge-macaroni  level-beer-flora  under-lead-Delhi
2178-Split Definitive Puzzle   fasten allowance  (10)   ( r) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2179-Anagram    alienate nco
2180-Discern the convergent words      wood-shoe-clog      hog-hot-rod     blue-down-worker
2181- Split Definitive Puzzle     award big cat  (9)   (m) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2182Anagram  Widen individual item   dilate detail
2183- Discern the convergent words    keg-pit-up    let-mentally-out   wax-weed-worker     
2184 - Split Definitive Puzzle     uptick in stock market in late afternoon   l  (9)    (l) These “split definitives” are now featured in my most recent book Wordplay:Arranged and Deranged Wit.              

2185- The World Cup on Thursday  (621)featured a game between 2  countries- one where the resident of the country is an anagram to a fruit; the other where the resident of the  country is an anagram to an article of clothing. Name the countries and residents thereof.

2186-Discern the convergent words     love-crisp-green   trap-twist-be blue-puffer-tale
2187-Split Definitive Puzzle   fellow prostrated himself  (8)   ( c)
2188-Commonality  decree-greed-prone
2189-Discern the convergent words crampBRAIN
2190-Split Definitive Puzzle   flowery beer   (7)  (b)
2191-Commonality      vacillation-serendipity-videotaping
 2192  Canada Day Quiz
a)Name a 10 letter word containing only 2 consonants that describe a particular Canadian resident.
 b)Name 4  Ontario cities or towns comprised only of letters worth 1 point in Scrabble.
 c)Name a Canadian city of at least 10 letters comprised of only odd letters in the alphabet
d)Name a palindromic Canadian city.
e)Aside from x,y, &z , name the 2 letters that don’t appear in any Canadian provinces
f) Name a Cnc city or town of at least 10 letters where no letter appears more than once.  

2193- Split Definitive Puzzle     indication friend  (8)   (s)
2194-Anagram  where Caesar possibly lived
2195 July 4th Quiz
a)Name the only letter that doesn’t appear in any US state.
b)Name a US city where the last 5 letters are an anagram of the first 5 letters.
c)What American significance do these words have?  Nest-imps-lamb
d)Name a US state capital that is an anagram of a  former quarterback MVP
e)Name the only US state capital that doesn’t share an letter with its state. 
f) What American significance do these words have?    Lathes-nails-tans
g) )What American significance do these words have?  namesake-Eumenides-experience-phrenologist
2196- Split Definitive Puzzle   monarchist  (7)  (f)
2197-Anagram  African post   
2198Discern the convergent words      fool-a-cat     mall-dirty-ion    hatch-prize- trap  
2199-  Split Definitive Puzzle    penny Commie  (7)  (c)
2200-Anagram    protected deliverance