Friday, September 21, 2012


Patricia Marx has the dubious honor of being the first writer quoted in this blog to have two y words included lo these four years (officially). It's possible Nicholson Baker also has two but I don't think so and am not lifting my fingers to check. Possibly Anthony Lane as well.

Ms. Marx, whose cleavagey of 2010 has stayed with me even more than all the semi-finalists of that year, recently wrote a Talk of the Town piece about fossil seekers led on a hunt by the American Museum of Natural History's collections manager for "paleo herps and chirps." This for The New Yorker's September 17 issue.

Avinash Schwarzkopf, a six-year-old in blue board shorts, cupped an oodgy-colored something and held it up to Mehling for examination.

The reader has to wonder: what does a fact-checker do with a word like oodgy? No such word exists either in the OED or Merriam-Webster's Tenth. It's not in the RH Dictionary of American Slang. Is it like a Code Red, known only to people who can handle the truth?

Maybe somebody from the magazine's fact-checking department will run into me accidentally on purpose at the Brooklyn Book Fair on Sunday and tell me.

There's an alternative spelling: oogy. Oodgy is much better, raising, as it does, fudgy and ooze from the depths.

A fossil of an ammonite, an extinct cephalopod
[ Herve Conge, ISM/Science Photo Library ]

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