Zyzzyva #atozchallenge


So, we’ve wrapped around. As promised, when I got to Z, I’d end the word with A. I considered a bunch of words here, including Zola (for Emile), Zorba (the Greek), zebra, and zinnia, but somehow I knew I could do much better than that.

A zyzzyva, as Wikipedia tells us, is a long-snouted beetle no longer than an ant, found in tropical America around palm trees. Its name is more noted for being the last word in many English-language dictionaries, just as Zeke Zzzzypt was the last name in the Chicago white pages for years.

Zyzzyva is also the name of a literary magazine based in San Francisco. They publish the magazine three times a year and focus primarily on underrepresented authors. Their About page tells us

Every issue is a vibrant mix of established talents and new voices, providing an elegantly curated overview of contemporary arts and letters with a distinctly San Francisco perspective.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Zyzzyva is a free word study program made available through the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA). Written by Michael Thelen, it’s now maintained by the NASPA Zyzzyva Committee. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments, and I understand there might be an iOS version, though it evidently doesn’t run on iOS 10. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t tell you how it works, but if you like studying words and/or playing Scrabble, it might be worth a look. Have I mentioned it’s free? The current release is 3.1.0, which includes the OTCWL2016 and CSW15 word lists. The app has a Facebook page and can be found on Twitter as @ZyzzyvaApp.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of this year’s A to Z Challenge, for me, anyway. I’d like to thank my fellow cohosts, Arlee, Heather, J, Alex, Jeremy, and Csenge, and especially I’d like to thank everyone who made this year’s challenge the best yet, particularly those who stopped by and left a comment. You made my day. See you next year!

37 thoughts on “Zyzzyva #atozchallenge

  1. To be honest…I thought you made that word up! That says how little I know about the English language. I had no idea it is a beetle. I could see this as a title for. A newspaper or magazine. Congrats on ending the A to Z!


    1. I didn’t know about it until I started looking for it. I found it in an online Scrabble dictionary. Amazing what you can do with DuckDuckGo (or any search engine, really)…


  2. Nice ending! I was thinking “Zarathustra”, but I like yours a lot better. Much less of a Nietzsche market. 🙂 (I’m here all week…)

    I just had to Google Zeke Zzzzypt, and there was surprisingly little, other than his claim to phone book fame being lost to others. I did find this, though:


    It’s missing a z, but hey, close enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That might have been the way it was originally spelled, but someone beat him and he added another Z for emphasis. Zeke’s quintet is based in Sweden; wonder if they have any YouTubes?

      I didn’t think of Zarathustra, who I think also goes by Zoroaster.


  3. Zeke Zzzzypt was the last name in the Chicago phone book!!! Now that’s the sort of fact that earned me my father’s designation as a walking encyclopedia of useless knowledge. Well done. You are a worthy successor.


  4. Of course you could not have used such a simple thing as Zebra, and even though I live a stone’s throw from SF, I’ve never heard of that magazine. Great finish to the challenge! Thanks for co-hosting and giving us the tips about how to link our blogs without linking!


  5. A spectacular word to end with! I didn’t realise how many ordinary words start with z and end with a, that was an eye opener!

    Thank you for hosting and everything you did/do to keep this challenge so much fun.

    Best wishes always,


  6. Great finish, John. In fact, great finish to a great theme. It was wonderful. Thanks for all you did to help bring the A to Z challenge to everyone. It was a fun (and exhausting!) month, but so so worth it.


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