Dead as a Doornail

The Spelling Bee Game

Living in extreme heat–it was 117 yesterday–is a good reason to be inside which, in itself, can be dangerous. Today I reached the Genuis Level in Spelling Bee, a New York Times puzzle where the goal is make as many “acceptable” words as possible with at least four letters from a total of seven different letters in the “hive.” However, one letter is in the center of the hive and must be used in whatever word you make. Letters can be used more than once. Each game has at least one word that uses all seven letters, a dynamic known as a pangram. Today’s two pangrams were ordinal and doornail. Have I lost you?

Regardless, it is a popular game that occasionally raises the issue of where a word came from, for example, “doornail.” I’ve only seen the word used in the phrase, ‘dead as a doornail.” Charles Dickens used it in his stories to describe someone who is useless/quite dead vs. just plain old dead. A doornail is nail with a large flat head driven into a door. Once in the door, this nail isn’t good for anything else like a dead person.

So in the few minutes it took to write this post, I have exercised my mind without incurring heat stroke; i.e., I am not dead as a doornail.

One response to “Dead as a Doornail”

  1. There are certain mindless people in America who want to end democracy and their robotic brains are as dead as a ….


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