Word Ways


Vladimir Nabokov, like the late James Thurber, is a word-fan's delight; his novels abound with interlingual puns, anagrams, homonyms and other forms of wordplay, so intimately woven into the fabric of his stories that it is difficult to examine them independently. Recently, Albert Wilansky of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania called my attention to a bit of Nabokov logology that forms the subject of an entire chapter in Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (McGraw-Hill, 1969): a Russian Scrabble game in which the heroine scores 383 points on a single move. Although this feat cannot hold a candle to the English-language single-move records reported on in earlier Word Ways, the story is charmingly told and is summarized below.