This week, two puzzles about social media. The first is something new for this column, a language quiz, and below it is the usual fare, a mathematical conundrum.
In the 1990s, I used to write a weekly column in the Guardian about language. Were I to write the column today, one of my first subjects would be Twitter slang. Tweet-speak is a form of constrained writing: necessarily brief, and with a distinctive holler.
Twitter neologisms (Tweologisms?) are often witty, and are certainly baffling if you are not in the in-crowd. The following ten words and phrases, common among certain Twitter cliques, are crossing over into general usage. Under each word or phrase are two possible definitions. Which is the correct one?
Abbreviation of wiggle, i.e. a flirtatious comment used to get attention.
Something is so exciting your wig flew off.
One Of My Followers
Uncool people, who live online in a bubble of hometown pals and are always late with memes
Cool people, who live in the global community and are always the first with memes
a term of endearment
I FEEL SEEN
When I post the answers at 5pm I’ll explain where the words come from and give examples of proper usage.
And now for the puzzle:
A school composed of an equal number of boys and girls has its own social network. When two pupils are connected in this network they are said to be “pals”. Every pupil has at least one pal. Bernardo, who has 32 pals, discovers that all his fellow pupils have a different number of pals. (That is, no two of his fellow pupils have the same number of pals.)
How many pupils attend the school?
I’ll be back with the answers at 5pm UK time, and meanwhile NO SPOILERS! Please talk about your favourite examples of social media slang.
I set a puzzle here every two weeks on a Monday. I’m always on the look-out for great puzzles. If you would like to suggest one, email me.
Thanks to Twitter for providing the words for the quiz, and to Bernardo Recamán for suggesting the puzzle.