This Is Why I’m Not A NYT Reader

A list of words most frequently looked up by New York Times readers. I know most of them but a few (e.g. immiscible, Manichaean) totally escape me.

Is this an indication of elitism on the part of NYT writers that they actually use these words or is it a refreshing admission by readers of The Gray Lady that they’re not as smart as they think? Or that they’re smart enough to ask for help when they don’t recognize a word?

How many do you know?


Be Sociable, Share!

6 Responses to This Is Why I’m Not A NYT Reader

  1. Peter Halle says:

    "Immiscible" threw me. Perhaps my son, the amateur mixologist, knows it. I bet most of those words appeared in the Book Review, or some other high brow section. Terry, I'm sure you have other reasons not to read the NYT!How's the summer going? Sorry we didn't have a chance to talk at AWE's memorial. So sad, and yet so beautiful.

  2. Terry Cowgill says:

    Hah. Does the NYT have any sections that are not "high-brow?" Relatively speaking, of course? I actually commend the befuddled readers for trying to learn the meaning of those obscure words by using's dictionary function.Mem service was beautiful indeed. Summer is going great, albeit far too quickly, of course.Be well, Peter.

  3. Geoff Brown says:

    Okay, they're not New York Post words. But it's not like they're all that rare or difficult. Maybe they are SAT words — does that mean they shouldn't be used? Honestly, I'm not unhappy to have to think a little bit when reading the paper.

  4. Terry Cowgill says:

    Geoff, this post was more tongue-in-cheek than anything else. And, being a writer myself, I really don't have any objection to sophisticated language. That said, a general rule of thumb for effective writing is never use more words or syllables than you have to. And to that maxim I would add never use words that are more obscure than you have to. It's detracts from the point a writer is trying to make. Heck, even Peter was stumped by "immiscible" and Peter is really hard to distract!

  5. Fred Baumgarten says:

    Sophisticated? Maxim? Obscure? Distract? Too many syllables. You lost me.

  6. Peter Halle says:

    I'm all misced up.

Leave a reply