Silly Questions: Gusted of Tunbridge Wells

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The Independent Culture
TO BEGIN with the last word on eptness. Richard Knowles writes: 'I was very gruntled, I might almost say gusted, to see your column bemoaning the fact that 'inept' is in the dictionary but 'ept' cannot be found. There are, in fact, a large number of such words persed in the dictionary with the negative prefixes 'dis', 'in' and 'mal' omitted. I am sure that an evolent lexicographer could restore the apropisms to their rightful place. It would be an aster which we could be consolate. A few paraging words in the Independent will speed this reform.'

Several readers have tried to explain 'recorded live'. Colin Gibbons believes it means recorded before a live audience, but doubts whether there is any alternative since the dead cannot hear and therefore cannot be an audience.

Fortunately, Sebastien Robinson solves the mystery: 'Following the death of the jazz guitarist Billy Rogers in 1987, a number of unissued tapes were found in his apartment. In 1992, a record company decided to remaster them, adding accompaniments by other musicians. The latter were live, but the featured soloist can only be described as 'recorded dead'.'

On Stuart Cockerill's question of why humans haven't evolved integral shoes, we have received, by a remarkable coincidence, a reply from a Mr Stuart Cockerill who says: 'Because we wouldn't be able to get our trousers on.' To avoid allegations of nepotism we must request readers in future not to reply to questions sumbitted by themselves, relatives or namesakes.

This week's questions: Why don't Homo Sapiens hibernate through the long winter months? (S Cockerill III) Why do most highly placed executives write their signatures as if illiterate? (W H Cousins) Do people whose cars bear a sign: 'Caution - Show Dogs in Transit' really think the bloke behind will be more careful? (A Webster) Why don't people stick 'Baby on board' signs on their prams? (R Bannerman) Finally: If the northern hemisphere were to be smoothed out, and the southern roughed up a bit, would the Earth swing off orbit? Would it be an inswinger or outswinger, and would it counteract global warming? (Chris Noel) All correspondence to: Silly Question, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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