Logophile Language Puzzlers: Preparing for Winter

Test your word power with this short quiz from the Post’s copy editor and resident word nerd. From the November/December 2018 issue.

Human in winter clothing walking their dog in the snow. The dog is wearing a pink wool hat.

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  1. Because of the gelid weather, Eleanor wore ______ to walk the dog.
    1. sunglasses
    2. a windbreaker
    3. a thick woolen coat
  2. The city ______ voted 11 to 1 to add an ice skating rink to this year’s winter festival.
    1. consul
    2. council
    3. counsel
  3. Add just one letter to each of these one-syllable words to turn them into common three-syllable words.
    1. came
    2. are
    3. lien
    4. smile



  1. c. a thick woolen coat

Gelid, from the Latin gelidus “frost, cold,” is a rarely used adjective that simply means “very cold.” Eleanor would definitely want to wear a warm coat in gelid weather. So might her dog.

  1. b. council

Council and counsel (and occasionally consul) are often confused for one another.

  • Council: A council (the correct answer) is a body of officials either elected or appointed to make decisions for and represent a larger group. Some things that have councils: cities and towns, church denominations, the Jedi Order
  • Counsel: Counsel is often a verb meaning to give advice, but it can also refer to the person giving the advice — usually an attorney. Government officials under suspicion of a crime, for example, might retain legal counsel to advise them on what to do (or what not to do) next. You can, however, seek counsel from a council.
  • Consul: A consul is a person from one country residing in another to protect the interests of citizens from their own nation. An American who lost his passport while traveling in Spain, for example, would go to an American consulate for a replacement — or legal counsel, if needed. And ambassador, on the other hand, is a representative from one government who can speak on that government’s behalf to the government of another country.
  1. cameo, area, alien, simile

Here’s a tougher one: Add one letter to these two-syllable words to take away one syllable.

  • ague
  • boa
  • ragged
  • naked

This article is from the November/December 2018 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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