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English Detective, Issue #1 Nov.26, 2012
November 26, 2012

English Detective issue 1, Nov. 26, 2012: A Detective’s Methods (& how to investigate English words)

In our first issue we introduce the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his science of detection. In addition to a crossword, a word search and some practice exercises, there is a second reading about another detective series and a quiz at the end of the second week.

Contents

From the editor: The Current Investigation (what’s in this issue)

(I’ve suggested days for each activity, so you can do a little each day. Feel free to do each activity when it’s best for you, and skim or skip sections that you already know-- or if there is too much for you to handle this week. Each issue will be a little different.)

Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize (Study Most) in this Issue

(Monday): Be A Word Detective

(Tuesday): Getting the whole story: Introducing Sherlock Holmes

(Wednesday): Guessing vocabulary from context & word roots

(Thursday): Follow the Clues (a crossword puzzle pdf )

(Friday): A Little More about Sherlock (and more word practice)

2nd week: Investigating on your own:

Monday- The Whole Story, week 2:“Tony Hillerman & his Navajo Detectives”;

Tuesday- Word Detective 2

Wednesday-- Mystery Phrases: Black Hats and White Lies

Thursday-- Be a Detective: One Minute Mysteries

2nd Friday: Test your Deductions (a quiz with this issue’s most important vocabulary)

Coming next in English Detective: The Discovery of Penicillin (with a discussion of the scientific method.) In the next few weeks: setting goals for success, learning from failure, and doing what you love.

From the editor: The Current Investigation (what’s in this issue)

In this first issue of English Detective, we look at what it means to be a detective. A detective investigates (studies) mysteries (situations where something important is unknown) and finds answers.

Detectives use clues-- hints they discover that show how something happened or what it means. They also hunt for evidence. The word ‘evidence’ comes from videre, the Latin verb that means 'to see.' It refers to physical clues detectives find by careful observation.

Detectives are often asked to solve crimes: to find the person who broke the law (especially a thief or a murderer), to find a missing (or dead) person, or to discover the criminal's motive-- the reason they did what they did.

Most of us won't have a chance to solve a major crime or make a major discovery. However, you and I can be word detectives. Words can be interesting, important, or even mysterious. Solve the mysteries of English! As James Bond's boss told him, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it"-- is to find out what a word or phrase means, and how and when it is used. Take on the challenge today!

Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize in this Issue

Week 1: accurate, acquired, analysis, aspects, attain, conceived, conclusion, deduction, detected, evidence, inferred, inspection, investigation, link, mental, process, revealed, and their variations (family members).

We also will study three related words not on the Academic Word List (AWL): examine, inquire, and observe.

Week 2: area, author, contribution, created, cultures, emphasis, enable, experts, finally, insights, motivation, procedure, professional, react, series, similar, techniques, traditions, unique, (and instinct, not on the AWL.)

You probably already know several of these words, or most of them if you speak a Latin-based language. (I only counted 7 of them I could not guess from Spanish.) I think you will find the readings and practice helpful even if you DO know most of the words. We’re starting with some of the most common words on the Academic Word List, but each week we will add a few more, as well as reviewing some we have already studied.

If you don’t remember some of the new words after reading and practicing with them, it’s O.K.-- you will be seeing them again. However, if you don’t understand at least the basic meaning of a word after reading and practicing it, try looking it up in a dictionary and making a flashcard or note to study it.

Try Monday’s introduction to detective words. It isn’t hard!

Be a Word Detective


Getting the whole story (Tuesday)

In this selection from chapter 2 of A Study in Scarlet, Dr. Watson (the book’s narrator-- the person who tells the story) is talking about his early impressions of Sherlock Holmes. (They have just arranged to share the rent on an apartment.) He first describes him physically. Then he tells about reading an article which describes Holmes’ methods of observation and deduction.

As you read, be a detective. Check your comprehension by asking yourself questions: Who is this talking about? When and where is it happening? Perhaps most important—why?

Introducing Sherlock Holmes

(from A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887.) If you would like to read the whole story, you can check it out at almost any library (it’s a classic), buy it online or at a bookstore, or download the whole book online for free at www.manybooks.net.

“As the weeks went by, my interest in him and my curiosity as to his aims in life, gradually deepened and increased. His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing...and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision... His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals...

Watson was very curious about Holmes’ work, but he hesitated to ask about it. One morning he read an article that he thought was interesting but hard to believe. It claimed that by careful observation and analysis a person might be able to understand people’s thoughts and reach conclusions about what he had observed in a way that would seem like magic to those who did not understand the process of investigation. Watson quoted more of the article:

"’From a drop of water,’ said the writer, ‘a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it. Like all other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfection in it.

Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the enquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems. Let him, on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man, and the trade or profession to which he belongs... By a man's finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs -- by each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.’"

Watson commented to Holmes about how unlikely and impractical the article seemed. Holmes answered that he had written it. He then explained his work. He told Watson that what he wrote was actually very practical, as well as accurate. He explained that he worked as a “consulting detective” that other detectives would come to when they could not figure out a case.

“...They lay all the evidence before me, and I am generally able, by the help of my knowledge of the history of crime, to set them straight... Those rules of deduction laid down in that article which aroused your scorn, are invaluable to me in practical work. Observation with me is second nature.”

Guessing Vocabulary from Context & Word Roots (Wednesday)

Choose what you think is the best answer to these questions before checking the answers at the bottom of the page. (Re-read the story first, or just refer to it as needed to answer the questions.)

1. In the last sentence of paragraph 1, invariably is a negative adverb from the same root as vary, variation, and variable. Do you think it means

A) differently

B) always

C) changeably

D) similarly

2. Analysis is careful thinking about a problem by breaking it into all its aspects or different sides. Holmes talks about “the Science of Deduction and Analysis.” Is this science mainly

A) sensory (using the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, etc.)

B) physical (using the body and investigating material substances)

C) mental (using the mind)

D)or social (working with other people)?

3. "’From a drop of water,’ said the writer, ‘a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it.”



A logician is someone who uses logic: clear reasoning. When it says he “could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara,” it means he could

A) explain what oceans and waterfalls look like

B) guess or understand that they are possible

C) be sure they exist

D) observe the motion of water

4.A link is

A)life

B)one kind (species) of life

C)one part of a chain that connects things

D)another name for Abraham Lincoln

5.Homes says “the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study...” So to acquire might be

A)to get

B)to begin

C)to finish

D)to read

6.To attain is to reach or finally succeed in getting something. In the last sentence in paragraph 3 Holmes was saying

A)It’s important to aim high, so you can attain your goals.

B)It’s not possible to attain your goals.

C)If you want to attain perfection in making deductions, you need to study a long time.

D)Nobody can live long enough to become a perfect detective.

7.Aspects are the different ways you can look at a situation: its different sides or angles. Holmes suggests starting with the physical aspects of deduction, as the moral and mental aspects are more difficult to learn. Deducing a person’s occupation from the calluses (hardened skin) on his thumb is an example of a

A)moral aspect

B)mental aspect

C)physical aspect

of the science of deduction.(Note that enquirer is an alternate spelling of inquirer-- someone who has a question.)

8. A revelation is an insight so great it changes one’s thinking or perspective completely. To reveal is the opposite of to conceal (which means to hide something) so to reveal something means

A)to show or expose what was hidden

B) to see something new

C) to study something more deeply

D) to learn new facts

9. Conception is the process of a baby being formed inside the mother. We more often use the same term to talk about an idea (a concept) being formed, or of the artist’s ‘conception’ of his work-- the way he planned it and “sees” it taking shape. Abraham Lincoln even used it of a nation being formed.

He started his famous Gettysburg address:”Fourscore and seven (87) years ago our forefathers brought forth (brought to birth) on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty...”

So conceivable is an idea that can be imagined or formed, and inconceivable means

A. unable to have a child

B. unformed

C. unfixable

D. unimaginable

10. Accurate means both correct and exact. Which of these dates is accurate? The armistice that ended the First World War (on the western front) was signed

A) on November 11, 1918.

B) on November 12, 1920.

C) sometime in late 1918.

D) before 1920.

11. Holmes said “Those rules of deduction laid down in that article which aroused your scorn, are invaluable to me in practical work. He is saying that even though Watson did not understand and made fun of his ideas, they are actually very useful. So invaluable means

A) not of any value at all

B) a little bit valuable

C) very, very valuable

D) interesting but not important

Answers to Using Context & Other Clues

1.B) always (It is an adverb, as all four options are. Its roots are Latin: in-- not + variare-- to change.)

2.C) mental (using the mind). Detective work does involve all these aspects: sensory, physical, mental, and social, but analysis and deduction are mental processes.

3. B) guess or understand that they are possible

4. C)one part of a chain that connects things

5. A) to get

6. D) Nobody can live long enough to become a perfect detective. (Answer A is also true, but not what Holmes was saying in that paragraph.)

7. C)physical aspect (of the science of deduction.)

8. A)to show or expose what was hidden

9. D. unimaginable

10. A) on November 11, 1918.

11. C) very, very valuable. (This is one example when the prefix ‘in-,’ which usually makes a word negative, instead is an intensifier.)

Cross word Puzzle: Investigations-- Thursday
Right-click here to download this crossword pdf to your computer.

Click here for answers. Note: there has been a problem getting several of the links in this newsletter to work. (Some worked at first, and then stopped working.) I think they work now, but if you find the links don’t work, you can go to the website (www.EnglishHints.com) and click on the sitemap or Vocab. Practice buttons in the left-hand nav bar. Click on Printable Crossword Puzzles near the bottom of Vocabulary Games. It's the first puzzle there.

A Little More about Sherlock (and more word practice- Friday)

At the the very beginning of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Watson went back to visit Holmes. (Watson had moved away, married, and returned to medical practice.) Holmes immediately commented about Watson’s recent activities, and Watson asked how he knew.

“I see it, I deduce it. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?”

(Holmes answered his own question by saying that he had observed that the soles of Watson’s boots had been scratched to take off mud. So he deduced both that Watson had been outside in the rain, and that he had an incompetent maid.)

Watson said that Holmes made his process of deduction sound so easy that anyone should be able to think like Holmes, but he realized that he had not been able to understand how Holmes made his deductions until Holmes explained them, even though he had seen the same things Holmes did. When he asked why, Holmes answered, “You see, but you do not observe...” To Sherlock Holmes, careful observation was the necessary starting point for any investigation.

More Practice Questions

1. To deduce is to draw logical conclusions from the evidence. A deduction may be the conclusion you reach, but deduction has another meaning that comes from the word ‘deduct.’ (It refers to reducing a tax payment.)

How did Holmes know that Watson had been in the rain recently, and had a clumsy servant girl?

A) He was superhuman and knew everything.

B) Watson told him, then forgot.

C) He deduced it from what he observed about Watson’s boots.

D) He deduced it from Watson’s muddy pant legs.

2.Sherlock Holmes felt Watson had not been practicing one of a detective’s most important skills. Which skill was he weak in?

A)accurate observation

B)careful analysis

C)logical deductions

D)keeping accurate records of his observations

3.What is the best way to describe how Watson felt about Holmes?

A) He watched him closely because he didn’t trust him.

B) He thought he was lying because what he said was impossible.

C) He admired him and was impressed by his skill at solving crimes.

D) He wanted to be just like him.

Answers to More Practice Questions

1. C) He deduced it from what he observed about Watson’s boots.

2. A)accurate observation

3. C) He admired him and was impressed by his skill at solving crimes.

Week 2: Investigating on Your Own

Monday:Getting the Whole Story-2

Click here to read “Tony Hillerman and His Navajo Detectives.”

Tuesday: Word Detective 2

(This turned out to be quite long. If you want, you could study half today and the rest tomorrow, as the Wednesday lesson is short.)

Practice the new words from the Navajo Detective article by reading these explanations and answering these questions. (It’s O.K. if you want to re-read the story again first!)



1. An author is the person who writes a book or article. So Tony Hillerman is the author of The Wailing Wind, and I am the author of the article “Tony Hillerman and his Navajo Detectives.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet about Sherlock Holmes. The narrator (the fictional person who tells the story) is Dr. Watson. Just to check if you understand this clearly, who is the author of A Study in Scarlet?

A) Sherlock Holmes

B) Dr. Watson

C) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

D) someone else

2.Hillerman’s detectives are unique, or different from the detectives most authors write about, because they are Navajos. They understand Navajo culture-- the Navajo way of life. Culture includes everything about the way a particular group of people live. People of every culture eat, sing, raise children, and think about life and death, but each group practices these activities in somewhat different ways, and that is their culture.

Which of these is NOT a cultural difference?

A) Some people eat a lot of rice and a little fish at most meals; others eat more bread and cheese; or yams and tropical fruits.

B) In some places young men and young women are not allowed to be together without adult supervision; in others they are together often.

C) Some people drive cars to work; others take the bus or ride bicycles to their jobs.

D) Some mothers carry their young children on their backs with them while they work; in other places many young children are cared for in one place.

3. To emphasize something is to give it importance. One difference between cultures is the amount of emphasis they place on different actions. For example, in many parts of the U.S., meals are often eaten quickly between activities. In some other cultures, a meal is an important time for families to be together and relax. These cultures emphasize

A) taking at least an hour to eat

B) the value of eating together

C) the importance of food

D) the tradition of a meal of many different kinds of foods

4.‘Professional’ has several meanings:

    • someone who is highly educated in a profession (high-level occupation like teaching or medicine) nursing, or the law.
    • people who are paid for their skills: professional football players, musicians, or actors (compared to amateurs who play football, perform music, or act for pleasure rather than money.)
    • We also use ‘professional’ to describe someone who does their work in a very responsible, disciplined manner: “that receptionist is very professional in the way she handles angry clients.”



    Which of these occupations (jobs) is a profession?

    A) a salesman

    B) a fast-food cook

    C) a farmer

    D) a lawyer

    5. To create is to make something new, as God created the earth or as someone invents an entirely new product (like the first telephone.) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the modern detective novel. Which of these is false?

    A) Walt Disney created Disneyland

    B) Alexander Graham Bell created the telephone

    C) Benjamin Franklin created electricity

    D) Miguel Cervantes created Don Quixote.

    6. A motive is a person’s reason for acting. Sometimes we talk about hidden motives, when people pretend to be helping others when their actual motive is personal gain. To motivate is to move someone to action. Motivation is what moves a person-- very similar to motive.

    Which of these would not be a motivation to run for president?

    A) a desire for power

    B) a desire for fame and honor

    C) a desire to help people

    D) a desire to relax and work less

    7. An area is a region or place. It might be the surroundings for a city: for example the Chicago area. Area also is a measurement term. The area of a rectangle is its length times its width. (A field 30 meters long and 20 meters wide would have an area of 600 square meters.)

    If you got sick while visiting an unfamiliar area (somewhere you don’t know well), which of these questions would NOT help you find local medical help?

    A) Is there a hospital near here?

    B) Is there a hospital in this area?

    C) Is a hospital in your area expensive?

    D) Do you have a local hospital?

    8.A tradition is an established way of doing things. It can be a holiday custom many people follow year after year like decorating a tree at Christmas or eating turkey on Thanksgiving, or just the old ways that people in a certain area have followed for generations.

    Which of these is a traditional way to keep in touch (continue to communicate with friends who are far away)? A) send an email

    B) send a letter or Christmas card

    C) make a phone call

    D)send a text message

    9. Instincts are feelings or reactions that do not have to be learned, but are in all people (or animals) from birth. The maternal instinct causes human or animal mothers to care for and protect their babies. Babies have an instinctive fear of loud noises. Predators like dogs, cats, or lions instinctively chase small animals (or even objects like a stick or a string) that move.

    Which of these is an instinct?

    A) A dog sitting up when its owner says “Sit!”

    B) A fish biting a hook hidden in a worm.

    C) A policeman lifting a gun when he sees a criminal reach into his coat.

    D) Children running outside when they hear an ice cream truck nearby.

    10.Techniques are the methods and procedures used in various skills. One good study technique is

    A) to review for short periods frequently.

    B) to study all night before a big exam.

    C) to write down every word the teacher says and then rewrite the whole lecture.

    D) to copy your best friend’s notes, even if they don’t make sense.

    11. A series is an ordered group of things, like a list, or events that happen in a definite order. Which of these sentences does NOT use ‘series’ correctly?

    A) A series of earthquakes occurred between 10 and 12 AM yesterday.

    B) The World Series is a group of baseball games between winning teams to determine the top team of them all.

    C) She shopped for a series of vegetables, fruits, and desserts.

    D) The teacher planned a series of tests to prepare students for the final exam.

    12.Similar means almost the same: alike. Which of these are similar?

    A) Handwriting and printing.

    B) Vegetables and fruits

    C) A twin brother and sister

    D) Two twin brothers

    13. Final means last. Which of these are CORRECT uses of ‘finally?’ (There are more than one.)

    A) To introduce the last point or argument of an essay: “Finally, we need detectives to solve crimes.”

    B) To describe the last event: “The finally race will be a relay.”

    C) To tell someone we have been waiting: “You have finally arrived!”

    D) To express relief: “I’m finally done!”

    14. ‘En’ is a prefix that sometimes means ‘in’, but often turns an adjective or noun into a verb meaning ‘to make ____’:

    • to enrich- to make rich,
    • to enlighten- to cause or increase light (give light or understanding on a subject),
    • to envision- to get a clearer vision or imagine something


    So to enable means

    A) to make a table

    B) to make a new ability

    C) to make able

    D) to make someone disabled

    15. A procedure is like a process: a standard, fixed order for doing a particular kind of work. A supervisor tells a new employee, “You’re not following the proper procedures for taking inventory!” What should the new employee do?

    A) Say “This is the way they taught me to take inventory at my old company!”

    B) Ask for an explanation or demonstration of the company’s preferred procedure.

    C) Put on his uniform.

    D) Leave the office.

    16.Experts are people who know more than most people about a subject. ‘Expert’ can also be an adjective. At a murder trial, to prove the cause of death they might need an expert witness who is a

    A) mechanical engineer

    B) lawyer

    C) nuclear physicist

    D) doctor

    17. Unique means one-of-a-kind: the only one, with nothing else similar to it. Which of these works of art is unique, with no others like it.

    A) cave art

    B) a traditional basket design

    C) an elegant Roman wine glass

    D) Picasso’s painting ‘Guernica.”

    18.Insight is a clear understanding of something-- often a new or better understanding than most people have. Which of these is NOT an insight?

    A) Tommy getting the right answer on his math test

    B) Einstein developing the theory of relativity.

    C) Shakespeare writing about Mac Beth’s motivations

    D) Pasteur realizing that tiny bacteria caused many diseases

    19. To react is to act in response to something that happens. (Being proactive is acting first, not waiting for a problem to develop.) If someone hits you in the nose, which of these is not a normal reaction?

    A) Getting angry

    B) Hitting back

    C) Running away

    D) Smiling at the person

    20. To contribute is to give or share something with others. Which of these slogans for a non-profit organization is badly worded?

    A) If you can’t give money, contribute your time.

    B) Your contributions are tax-deductible.

    C) Thanks for contribute.

    D) Thank you for contributing to our cause.

    Answers to Word Detective, week 2


    1. Who is the author of A Study in Scarlet?

    1C) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    2. Which of these is NOT a cultural difference?

    C) Some people drive cars to work; others take the bus or ride bicycles to their jobs. (This answer involves an individual or economic choice; the others are often the result of culture-- the way a whole group of people has traditionally done things.)

    3. These cultures emphasize

    B) the value of eating together

    4 Which of these occupations (jobs) is a profession?

    D) a lawyer

    5. Which of these is false?

    C) Benjamin Franklin created electricity.

    (Electricity is a natural force. Franklin studied it, and was interested in ways to use it, but it existed long before he did.)

    6. Which of these would not be a motivation to run for president?

    D) a desire to relax and work less

    7. If you got sick while visiting an unfamiliar area (somewhere you don’t know well), which of these questions would NOT help you find local medical help?

    C) Is a hospital in your area expensive?

    8. Which of these is a traditional way to keep in touch (continue to communicate with friends who are far away)?

    B) send a letter or Christmas card

    9. Which of these is an instinct?

    B) A fish biting a hook hidden in a worm. (The other actions have been learned through past experiences or training.) Instinct is not on the awl list!

    10. One good study technique is

    A) to review for short periods frequently.

    11. Which of these sentences does NOT use ‘series’ correctly?

    C) She shopped for a series of vegetables, fruits, and desserts.

    12. Which of these are similar?

    D) Two twin brothers

    13. Which of these are CORRECT uses of ‘finally?’ (There are more than one.)

    A) To introduce the last point or argument of an essay: “Finally, we need detectives to solve crimes.”

    C) To tell someone we have been waiting: “You have finally arrived!”

    D) To express relief: “I’m finally done!”

    (B) is incorrect: To describe the last event: “The finally race will be a relay.” It should say the “final” event. Finally is an adverb, so it can’t be used to describe a noun.)

    14. So to enable means

    C) to make able

    15. What should the new employee do?

    B) Ask for an explanation or demonstration of the company’s preferred procedure.

    16. At a murder trial, to prove the cause of death they might need an expert witness who is a

    D) doctor

    17. Which of these works of art is unique, with no others like it.

    D) Picasso’s painting ‘Guernica.”

    18. Which of these is NOT an insight?

    A) Tommy getting the right answer on his math test

    19. If someone hits you in the nose, which of these is not a normal reaction?

    D) Smiling at the person

    20. Which of these slogans for a non-profit organization is badly worded?

    C) Thanks for contribute. (Don’t use a verb after a preposition. Use a noun or a gerund: Thanks for your contribution or Thanks for contributing.)

    Two Unique Men from Two Very Different Cultures

    Fill in the blanks. You will need each word only once, so you can cross it off once you use it.

    area, author, contributions, culture, enabled, expert, insights, motivated, reaction, techniques traditional, unique

    Alfred Kroeber was an anthropologist (a scientist who studies human cultures) at U. C. Berkeley during the early and mid 20th century. He was an ____________ on California Indian ____________, and was the ____________ of several books about it. Kroeber made many _______________ to the study of cultural anthropology.

    As a professional anthropologist and linguist, he was called to interpret when a lone native American named Ishi came out of the northern California hills about 1910. (Most people had thought there were no Indians left in that ____________who still lived the ____________ way, without using western tools or clothing or understanding any English.)

    Ishi’s first ____________ to western civilization was fear, but he learned to trust Kroeber. Ishi ____________ anthropologists to gain new _____________ into a ____________ that not longer existed. He demonstrated many of the traditional ________________ for making the tools that had helped him survive alone for so long. Ishi’s ______________ story may have ____________ a new generation of students to become anthropologists.

    Two Unique Men: Answers


    area, author, contributions, cultures, enabled, expert, insights, motivated, reaction, techniques traditional, unique

    Alfred Kroeber was an anthropologist (a scientist who studies human cultures) at U. C. Berkeley during the early and mid 20th century. He was an expert on California Indian cultures, and was the author of several books about it. Kroeber made many contributions to the study of cultural anthropology.

    As a professional anthropologist and linguist, he was called to interpret when a lone native American named Ishi came out of the northern California hills about 1910. (Most people had thought there were no Indians left in that area who still lived the traditional way, without using western tools or clothing or understanding any English.)

    Ishi’s first reaction to western civilization was fear, but he learned to trust Kroeber. Ishi enabled anthropologists to gain new insights into a culture that no longer existed. He demonstrated many of the traditional techniques for making the tools that had helped him survive alone for so long. Ishi’s unique story may have motivated a new generation of students to become anthropologists.

    Mystery Phrases: Black Hats and White Lies (Wednesday)

    Often in western culture white is a symbol of purity (“as white and pure as fresh-fallen snow”). Black is sometimes a symbol of darkness or evil. In the old western movies, sometimes the heroes wore white hats and the “bad guys” wore black ones, so “black hat” often means dishonest or bad practices.

    A white lie is a falsehood told to make someone feel better, or to avoid hurt feelings, so is considered not as bad as most lies. For example, a woman may ask her friend, “how do I look in my new dress?” If the friend feels the dress is unflattering or ugly, she still might answer, “You look great!”)

    Be a Detective! (Thursday)


    It’s time for some fun! Try your detective skills with a few sample one minute mysteries here. (The screen will be blank at first. Be sure to allow a minute or so for the pdf to load.)

    These short mysteries are “lateral-thinking puzzles.” They aren’t what they seem to be. To solve them, you need to think of unlikely possibilities. Question your assumptions: maybe they’re not true this time.(Also, as they warn, the pictures probably don’t show the right answer.)

    Be creative, and use as many clues as you need to-- but stop and think after each clue. It may give you a new idea, or change your thinking about the situation.

    Here are a few vocabulary and idiom explanations that may help you. A thief (or robber) is someone who steals (takes something that belongs to someone else.) A burglar is a thief who breaks into a house (or store) to steal valuables when he thinks no one is there.

    Steal is an irregular verb with past: stole, and past participle: stolen. So the policeman could ask a burglar he just caught, “How many times have you broken into houses and stolen TVs?” The burglar might answer, “This is the first time, officer! I never stole anything before!”

    If you try all the puzzles, in the third group (“Off the wall Questions”), they talk about something that can "spark some new insight."That means give you a clearer idea, or help you understand.

    "Eliminate red herrings" means ignore information that is not important or is given to distract you. Red herrings are smoked fish that people running from the police may have pulled across their trail to hide their scent. (This would confuse the dogs that were following them, because the strong fish smell would make them lose the people’s track.)

    If you really enjoy these puzzles, they sell the complete books with many more puzzles for $9 or $10 each, or $25 for all three (100 puzzles)on their site.

    Test your Deductions (Friday)



    Click here for a pdf quiz with this issue’s most important vocabulary. (Answers at the bottom of the pdf.)

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    I’m looking forward to sending you the next issue of English Detective (about the scientific method and the discovery of penicillin) in two weeks!

    Yours, Cathy Simonton

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