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

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

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

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

A salon cites 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’ exclaims, 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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