Today’s quiz: Mandarin can mean: a. Farmer b. Longshoreman c. Bureaucrat d. Wrestler.

Here’s a nifty expression…square the circle…it’s trying to be on both sides of an argument. It’s like a politico saying he was for a bill before he was against it. ‘Thread the needle’ is a similar phrase. Besides being a difficult football pass, it means trying to placate diverse groups. Or trying to pull off a near impossible goal, like trying to tame inflation without bringing on a recession. Triangulate is another term for a politician trying to please all constituent groups. Triangulate additionally means to uncover something using coordinates.

There are manifold sparkling words for members of the in-crowd. They include high society, clerisy, boue monde, blue bloods, intelligencia, cognoscenti, glitterati, beautiful people, A-listers, gentry, jet set, toffs, nabobs, crème de la crème…and swells — a somewhat dated word, but seen in a recent “New York Times” article in the context of Boston Brahmans.

Now there’s a curious word, Brahmans. It originally referred to a cross-bred cow of Indian and American stock, but somehow came also to mean Boston’s cafe society.

Exquisite and elegant describe jewelry, but they are used in other senses as well. Exquisite means intense. “The museum opened with exquisite caution after Covid.” Elegant means a simple yet brilliant solution to a dilemma.

Yiddish has given us some colorful words. One of my faves is verklempt. It means overcome with emotion, as when people throw you a surprise birthday party. Haimish means a cozy, homey and unpretentious abode.

A salon is an assemblage of the illuminati at a stately manor. Or the reception room of the manor. It’s also an annual artist’s meet-up in France.

‘It’s my jam’ means it’s my thing or it’s my favorite. Jammy is British for lucky.

By the way, the digerati are wonks who are adept at computer use!

Answer: c. Bureaucrat

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