Words: potzer, n.

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OF ALL the memoirs of Stanley Kubrick, best was a piece by Jeremy Bernstein in the London Review of Books. He describes the congenial Central Park West apartment in the Sixties: "Children and dogs were running all over the place. Papers hid most of the furniture."

On leaving, Bernstein explained that he had to hurry, to play chess in Washington Square with a Haitian chess hustler called Duval, self- styled "the master". Bernstein "was absolutely floored when Kubrick said, `Duval is a potzer.' It showed a level of real familiarity with the Washington Square Park chess scene." Not in the OED, this is a Forties word for bad chess player, from German potzen, to bungle, or the Yiddish putz, penis (hence fool) - also derived from German: ornaments.