Words: colliflour, n.

ABSENT FROM "Books of the Year" was Ann Fadiman's delightful Ex Libris, a sassy volume on and around such matters as inscriptions on flyleaves, the merging of libraries on marriage - and the fact that all Fadiman's family are obsessive proof-readers. In restaurants, their waiter is invariably delayed by their putting the menu into proper shape, from redundant apostrophes to surreal spelling.

Such wayward creations are increasing. Only the other day, at Othello, a fashionable Italian restaurant in Hove, I spotted the useful coining of "vergin" olive oil. One might say, "I'm still pure - but vergin." My favourite remains the Indian grocer in Battersea who offered colliflour - which calls for a Thurber drawing of a shaking dog in a bakery.