Ed. Note: every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review and a copy of Dylan’s new novel, Amateurs. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to [email protected] The deadline is Thursday, May 26, at noon EST, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!
Mrs. Malaprop is the pompous aunt in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy, The Rivals, and the eponym for the word malapropism. As one of her relations puts it in the play, she’s known for her use of “words so ingeniously misapplied, without being mispronounced.” Repeatedly and obliviously, she reaches for a high-flown word but comes out with a similar sounding, contextually nonsensical or ludicrous one—appellation, for example, becomes compilation; alligator morphs into allegory.
Each sentence in this month’s puzzle contains a malapropism. Your task is to identify the misapplied and intended words. As in The Rivals, the confused words are occasionally out-and-out rhymes, but most are more subtly alike in sound. For illustration, we’ll quote two of Mrs. Malaprop’s lines:
Were those quotations part of our puzzle, correct answers would read something like this:
Or you might right “illiterate = obliterate,” or “Not ‘pine-apple, you silly, ‘pinnacle!’ ”—unlike Alex Trebek, we’re not sticklers about how you phrase your answers, though you do need to include both words in each answer. As always, the first person to submit a complete set of correct answers—or, in the event that no one achieves that, the person who submits the most correct answers—wins a free Paris Review conscription.
Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His second novel, Amateurs, is out this month from Coffee House Press.
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