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Interference is getting in the way

June 18, 2011

I have been writing a play, primarily as a teaching tool for my theatre appreciation classes. I would like to get your thoughts about “Interference” for the play title. 
The story takes place at a radio station. The protagonist becomes the manager and morning personality. An applicant for an announcer’s job is someone she dated ten years earlier, and he wants to pick up right where their relationship ended, but she is not willing. Just as there is typically interference with radio, there is interference on her part that prevents the relationship from reigniting. Based on what I have told you, what do you think of the word “interference” for the title?

1. Which one of the following is practiced in selecting my title?

A. bowdlerizing (BODE-luh-ri-zing)
B. paralleling (PAIR-uh-lell-ing)
C. trilogy (TRIL-uh-gee)
D. longueurs (lawn-GURRS) 
I like to say “lawn” for the first syllable in “longueurs.” Hopefully no one will think that I have any longueurs in my play. A longueur is a lengthy and dull part of a literary work. Paralleling is the correct response.

2. Which play contains parallel stories of two aging fathers: a king and his longtime friend the Duke of Gloucester?

A. King John
B. Fathers
C. King Lear
D. Cymbeline
E. Henry V 
Even though Shakespeare’s play is almost as much about the Duke of Gloucester and his sons as it is Lear and his daughters, it is still titled King Lear.  Are you familiar with A under No. 1 above? I’m going to quiz you on that word.

3. bowdlerize (BODE-luh-rize)

A. to expurgate (EK-spur-gate)
B. to remove or modify excerpts considered vulgar or offensive in a literary work
C. to proofread
D. to make a leading character obstinate 
The first syllable in bowdlerize can also be “BAWED” but not “BOWED.”   A and B are both correct. Dictionary-dot-com defines the word as “to expurgate (a written work) by removing or modifying passages considered vulgar or objectionable.”

4. Which one of the following is a synonym of “interference”?

A. leering (LEAR-ing)
B. static (STAH-tic)
C. inertia (in-ER-shuh)
D. annealing (uh-NEAL-ing) 

 Former WJDX (Jackson) radio personality Bill Tanner, now in Beverly Hills, suggested Interference or Static for the title.  Because a couple of films are called “Static,” I would probably not choose that word for the title; besides, I do not want to imply that my script is static (lacking movement, development or vitality especially with the leading characters).    
This week’s mystery word to solve often follows the word summer and is pertaining to June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. This word and the last name of the Spanish composer who is known as the “Valencian Mozart” have the same first syllable.

Contact Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D. at

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