The Ecphorizer


Issue #13 (September 1982)


It would be nice if your contributors showed the same courtesy to other writers and publications which you expect when your ECPHORIZER articles are reproduced. The August issue of '47, The Magazine the Year carried an article on page 112 titled "Royal Navy's ABC," by John Stuart Martin. It begins: "During the lonely night watches on heathen seas, or in their cheery wardrooms, officers of the British Royal Navy have pursued a project that will never be finished. They are rewriting the alphabet so a chap can remember it more easily..." The alphabet follows -- and, guess what -- the letters A, B, H, J, L, Q, T, Y in the Navy's alphabet are identical to those in Claire Taylor's! There is also a footnote for the letter "J": "Jaffa, in Palestine, is the main source of the R.N.'s citrus fruit."

A lot of the remaining letters are more ingenious in the R.N. alphabet than those listed by Taylor. They are:

C for the'Highlanders
Deef or dumb
'Eave er Brick
G fer police
I for an eye
K Fr-rancis
M pher Sis
N for a dig
O for heaven's sakes
P for pleasure
'arf a mo'
U for me
V fer la France
W for a match?
X for breakfast
Z for  Marx Brothers.

The Royal Navy took a few lumps recently in the South Atlantic. Let us at least give them the credit they rightly deserve.

Paul W. Healy
Walnut Creek, CA

The credit was not correctly given by THE ECPHORIZER, so don't blame Claire. Claire met an English gentleman a number of years ago and he taught her the Al-for-bet. She thought it would be something ECPHORIZER readers might enjoy, but when she could not remember the whole thing, turned to fellow-Mensans Charles Schultz and Dave Kirby for assistance. She told this entire tale to one of the Editorial Assistants when turning in the alphabet at a party. Alas, it was a wine party and while the Assistant swears she told the whole story to the Editor, the Editor has no recollection of it and NOTHING WAS WRITTEN DOWN. Our apologies to Claire, Charles, Dave, Paul and the entire Royal Navy. We do feel, however, that Mensans should be able to outdo even that able-bodied crew and, truthfully, Paul, don't you feel that X for izer is better than X for breakfast?

The Editor
[line width="30%"]Editor:

In Contributors to ECPHORIZER No. 12, it says "If the bit by Claire Taylor in this issue sounds strange at first, try reading it out loud with a strong British accent." [Ed. Note:  See the About here.]

A British accent is hard to narrow down. I'm from England, which has about 400 distinct different regional or city or suburban accents, each compounded by a class multiplier (Lower, Lower-Middle, etc.) Then there are many Welsh, Scottish and Irish accents depending on the same sort of criteria as apply to England. However, more or less any kind of quick reading will get one through the Al-for-Bet, even a Brooklyn, New Orleans or Minnesota accent. Thanks for publishing it...

Ed Oram
Marietta, GA

[line width="30%"]Editor:

Re: Bennett Woll's letter in the August ECPHORIZER [at the bottom of the page]

The first one in was poor Mrs. Lane
Who found herself in considerable pain
When she followed her contact lens down the drain
And nobody knew she was there.

The second one in was dear Mrs. Touch
She doesn't use the head very much.
She likes to use the bushes and such
And nobody knew she was there.

The third one in was dear Mrs. Slaughter
She was the Duke of Ephringham's daughter.
She had to get rid of an excess of water
And nobody knew she was there.

The fourth one in was old Mrs. Hickle
Who found herself in a terrible pickle
Slid under the door for she hadn't a nickel
And nobody knew she was there.

The fifth one in was dear Mrs. Murray
Wno found herself in a terrible hurry
But when she arrived it was too late to worry
And nobody knew she was there.

The sixth one in was fat Mrs. Humphrey
She sat down and found it quite comfy
Tried to get up and could not get her rump free
And nobody knew she was there.

The last one in was blind Mrs. Brewster
Who doesn't see quite as well as she used ter
Sat down on the faucet - thought somebody goosed her
And nobody knew she was there.

Terry Simmons
El Cerrito, CA

[line width="30%"]Editor:

Gareth Penn's piece in the July ECPHORIZER leads us to give you our favorite limerick:

Said the beautiful Magda Lupescu,
Having come to Romania's rescu:
   "It's a wonderful thing
   To be under a king.
Is democracy better? I escu."

While we were living in France I was challenged to write a limerick in French. Here it is:

Ii y avait un jeune homme peu sage
Qui allait chaque jour â la plage
   Ou les jeunes filles seins nus
   Sont toujours en vue.
Paz mal pour un gosse de son age.

Charles Colvin
Ojai, CA

Editor's Note: We essay the following translation:

There was a young man, hard to teach,
Who went every day to the beach
   Where the girls, half bare,
   Were seen everywhere.
Not bad for such a young peach.

Improvements from our readers will be welcome.

[line width="30%"]Editor:

I doubt that there will be a rush to translate the Gettysburg Address into limericks as Gareth Penn suggests in the July issue, but Ecphorizers might be interested to know that the ten commandments have already been so translated -- in the July issue of the "Limerick SIG Newsletter," by its editor Arthur Deex, already. The Limerick SIG is one of the best things to happen to limerickoloqy in years, by the way - monthly newsletter, including a gigantic limerick bibliography updated every six months, for $12 a year.

The other shoe to drop on limerickdom recently is the non-Mensa quarterly called "Lettres from Limerick," edited by "J. Beauregard Pepys". In the premier (and so far only) issue Mr. Penn will find a glossary of limerick terms by "Thomas A. Quinine" and discover that what "The Saga of Carol Doda" is is a limerepic - a term I independently invented for my own limerick saga "A Planet Called Llandysiliogogogooch" ("Science Fiction Review", February, 1977). Contrary to Penn's comments, however, it isn't really necessary to start over again every five lines in a limerepic - each limerick stanza simply carries on the story as in any other narrative verse form.

To celebrate Penn's addition to limerick lore, I've composed the following for him-- I'm only sorry it isn't bawdy, as the very best limericks always are:

As a writer of limericks Gareth Penn
Ain't the best that ever has been.
   But he's too darn wellversed
   To be one of the worst
Which makes him a five out of ten.

Finally, Ecphorizers should be cheered to learn that the brightest star in the limerick sky today is also a leading light in Mensa - no other than Isaac Asimov. I'm hoping to have an Asimov limerick or two in the the November issue of the "Limerick SIG Newsletter," of which I'll be guest editor.

Neal Wilgus
Albuquerque, NM

[line width="30%"]Editor:

Paul Healy's recent article pleases me in its interest in wine history. For those interested in reading the article cited it can be found in Atlantic Monthly May, 1864, pp. 600-604. It is in Volume XIII.

Charles Sullivan
Los Gatos, CA 

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