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EtymGeo™International Edition, Part I

by the remaining SpecGram Puzzle Elves™

Below are clues to the names of a number of international cities. The name of each city is a homograph of an English word. The clues provided are vaguely etymological, and may or may not be sufficiently helpful. Some knowledge of geography will provide assistance, but possibly not enough. The last EtymGeo™ Puzzle was too easy, so maybe this one is harder.

These cities all have populations over 100,000 according to one or more random reference works.

???, Argentina
with a root, via Middle English, from a Latin word for hair
???, Bulgaria
via Late Middle English and Middle French, from Old French “to dodge, repel, or retreat”
???, Croatia
via Middle Dutch and Proto-Germanic, from PIE *(s)plei-
???, England
via Middle English for “shed snake skin” from Proto-Germanic *sluk-, perhaps from PIE *sleug-
???, France
via Middle English, Middle French, and Latin, from a Greek word for a tool for making a circle
???, Germany
via Anglo-French, from Old French “to pick out or cull”, from earlier Gallo-Romance *triare, of unknown origin
???, India
via Portuguese, possibly from Malayalam māṅṅa
???, Japan
from Old Norse, cognate with English saw
???, Moldova
from an Old English word “to confine with a string”
???, Peru
a bean, named for its association with this very city, the name of which comes from the Quechua Rimak, the name of a god
???, South Africa
from PIE, via Proto-Germanic and Old English; cognate (according to some authorities) with Sanskrit sprhayati “desires eagerly,” and Greek sperkhesthai “to hurry”
???, Turkey
a word for “officer’s servant”, derived in part from an Old French word for “pack saddle”

As before, if you think you’ve figured out more than a couple of them, send your wild and unsubstantiated guesses to the editors of SpecGram. If we get your responses by July 15th, 2011, you could win a SpecGram magnet of your choice. The correct solution and winners, if any, will be announced in the August issue of Speculative Grammarian.

The answers to the EtymGeo™U.S. Edition puzzle from April are given below:

Mobile, Alabama
Anchorage, Alaska
Corona, California
Boulder, Colorado
    Aurora, Illinois
Concord, Massachusetts
Flint, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
    Independence, Missouri
Buffalo, New York
Providence, Rhode Island
Garland, Texas

We had quite a few solutions submitted for the EtymGeo™U.S. Edition puzzle. Several were even correct. The winnerswho will each receive a SpecGram magnet of their choiceand others are listed below:

Rick Bryan • Sara Catlin • Jackie Schmitt

Also Correct (or Nearly So):
Bryan Allen • Rachel Boylan • Christina Castedo
Eric Chen • Luise Dorenbusch • Alexey Fuchs
T.J. Heins • Adam Hesterberg • Siva Kalyan
Kristin Kopf • Owen Laurion • Bernd Möbius

As several people noticed, Concord, Massachusetts actually has a population of less than 20,000, much below the stated population of “over 100,000”. The correct clue should have been for Concord, California. The responsible Puzzle Elf was flogged, à la the internssomething we’ve never done before. The Flog-o-Tron must have been set a notch or three too high, and the Elf burst in an explosion of glitter, confetti, and rainbows. It was very pretty. Our lawyers say the enhanced flogging techniques are well within the laws of Lemuria, where our Elf-employing subsidiary offices are located and incorporated.

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SpecGram Vol CLXII, No 1 Contents