Words: awe, n.

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MASOCHISTICALLY, I once took a set of Scrabble to Anthony Burgess; mercifully we did not get round to it ("I play an unusual game"). Not for him Homer Simpson's brow-smiting cry of "d'oh!" when the letters on his rack spell zeugma in order.

Cookie's Fortune gives one new hope for the movies and Robert Altman. Weirdly, logically, a police cell includes so swift a game that one might miss the defence attorney's disquisition on the final word, awe. With various Old English spellings and Teutonic parallels, it once had divine connotations, then meant fear of somebody, before assuming the air of reverence. Moreover, the original phrase "awe stood to men" slid into "men stood in awe". As for our use of awful, that is early 19th-century slang.