15 Comments

  1. Okay, here’s he easy one.
    In panel 3, her “Da vodeddic” is echoing his “the phonetic” with stuffed-nose distortion.

  2. And in the final panel, she says “Gosh, thanks.
    P.S. I have no idea what percentage of Americans are aware that “Zed” is the name of the 26th letter of the alphabet in British (or rather “Commonwealth”) usage. Even though I did know that, my mind went wandering, until it bumped into the name of the classic band “Zed Leppelin“. Then I woke up again.

  3. When they were writing “How to Handle a Woman” for Camelot, they made the conscious decision to begin with “You told you had taught me everything from A to Z” rather than “to Zed.”

    (Either would have worked as well as a lyric, since nothing had to rhyme with either word)

    I thought at least the London cast album would have changed it to “Zed,” but it didn’t.

    (Though I can’t swear there’s never been another London cast album that did)

  4. In one of the BBC’s “Poirot” mysteries, the phrase “A to Zed” reveals the (Canadian or British) identity of a suspect who had been posing as an American. It worked well (as a subtle, non-obvious clue) in the TV version, but I don’t know how Christie managed it in print (if indeed the clue was used in the original book).

  5. But I’m still missing what “Feeling like Zen” OR “Feeling like Zed” is supposed to mean.

  6. @ Mitch4 – I think it’s intended to compare “feeling at one with the universe” (Zen philosophy) with “feeling like the last dregs of a sinus cold” (Zed as the last letter).

  7. ” the phrase “A to Zed” reveals the (Canadian or British) identity of a suspect who had been posing as an American.”

    There’s an Isaac Asimov “Black Widowers” story (if I recall correctly) where another supposed American is outed as a spy from a Commonwealth country because he displayed knowledge of some very basic factoid about cricket, the assumption apparently being that no American ever could possibly have any interest in or knowledge of that noble game whatsoever. That was almost a “throw the book across the room” moment for me.

  8. So, back to the original question — what is he talking about? Panels 2, 3, and 4 reduced to bare bones: “the phonetic significance” is “the difference between” 2 feelings. That just doesn’t compute in my brain. Must be a step in there that I’m missing.

  9. If American usage had dictated the use of “zed”, then we’d be missing out on one of the most classic Simpsons moments:

    I hate every ape I see.
    From chimpan-a to chimpan-z,
    No, you’ll never make a monkey out of me.

    Great pun.

  10. With a congested nose, “N” becomes “D” so “Zen” is “Zed”; the phonetic difference is her mispronunciation caused by nasal congestion (and the contrast is as Kilby suggests). In the last panel, I believe she says “Zen. Gosh, thanks.” but it comes out “Zed. Godge, danks.”

  11. @ Grawlix – There are also several passages in various Dr. Seuss books that depend on the American “zee” pronunciation.

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