Can you find another?

Teaching an honors course in Cuba, N.M., I had the pleasure of being surrounded by some extraordinarily perceptive students. There’s no particular reason why Cuba, of all places, would have had such a bumper crop of bright students; it must have just happened.

One day, Annette asked in class, “Do you consider yourself knowledgeable when it comes to state capitals?” Of course I said I could hold my own. But before you, the reader, wonder whether we actually took the time to teach, let me assure you that yes, we followed a syllabus and at the time were covering current events, as part of a journalism class.

I contend that our state-ly discussion dovetailed into that day’s teaching unit. I mention this to fend off any attempts by New Mexico’s education secretary, Hanna Skandera, to yank my teaching license — retroactively.

So Annette asked me to identify a state capital that contains the letter “k” and is in a state that also has that letter. A few minutes passed before I submitted, “Little Rock, Arkansas.” Gotcha, Annette!

“Can you name another?” she persisted. I couldn’t, nor could any other member of the class, although years later, I have discovered such a capital with its corresponding state. But can you?

Let’s play, then, a round of “Can you name another?” to test what you learned in public school geography. I know the answers to some of the questions, but I admit I’ve neither the wit nor the patience to check them all. In my honors class, in the pre-computer era, we weren’t even using an atlas or reference book during our game.

Regardless, let’s give it a try. If you’re game, send your answers to either of the email addresses at the end of this column. (Note the new home email address). I will write about your reactions to this quiz in a subsequent column.

  • Name two state capitals that rhyme.
  • Identify a state capital with the letter sequence “ento.” OK, smarty. Can you find another?
  • Remember the “k” question above? Well, there’s at least one more state capital with a “k” in its name and in its state. Which is it?
  • But wait, there’s more. Can you find a fourth “k” combination?
  • A state capital, when combined with its home state, contains four words. Name it.
  • Now, can you name another?
  • Oh, I just discovered a fifth special “k” combination, which you need to find.
  • Find a state capital with its state that contains all the vowels.
  • Find another. No, don’t bother. There isn’t one.
  • A palindrome is a combination of letters that reads the same in both directions. “Radar” and “civic” are two common examples. “Madam in Eden, I’m Adam” is an example of a more complex palindrome. What is the state capital with a combination of four letters that reads the same in both directions?
  • Can you find another?
  • What four state capitals are named after U.S. presidents?
  • Two state capitals begin with the same seven letters. Which are they?
  • Identify a state capital with the letters “den.”
  • Can you find another?
  • Two state capitals begin with the same six letters. Identify them.
  • One capital contains the name of a month. Find it.
  • Can you find another?
  • The pair of four-letter palindromes mentioned above have now grown to three. What is that third capital with a four-letter combination?
  • Two capitals begin with the same letter as their state. Can you name them?
  • I just now located yet another same-initial letter combination. Can you find it?
  • One state capital contains the letters “mon.” Which?
  • Can you name another?
  • And still another?

That was the easy part. In a later column I just might throw in even more challenging trivia questions. Some of these questions came from an old issue of Games Magazine. Yet, my Cuba class and I played this state capital game years before the magazine appeared.

• • •

Almost 50 years of knowing this woman has taught me a great deal about language. A very well-read and intelligent woman, Velma Coppock, accordingly came up with words that staggered this language cop.

Are you familiar with “cattywampus” to describe something that’s crooked, as in, “That tablecloth is cattywampus”? Or how about the expression “All stove up”?

Velma preferred “britches” over “pants,” especially in the context of “getting too big for …” And to Velma, people didn’t complain; they caterwauled. It’s been a fascinating lexicological experience knowing Velma.

This 90-year-old agrarian word-coiner, Velma Coppock, was my mother-in-law. She died Monday morning, and we will miss her.

One thought on “Can you find another?

  1. Ben Moffett

    I’m not going to do the state puzzles, but my dad and mom, born in 1884 and 1901 respectively (yes, I was a late in life baby) and born in Louisiana, both used “cattywampus” and “all stove up.” I’ve done a mini-essay on their language which doesn’t include these, but has some other interesting one.

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