"...coupple howers..."

"...coupple howers..."

Postby Norse » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:17 pm

Just a brief observation:

This particular misspelling seems...genuine to me. I got to thinking about it earlier today - having forgotten it - after seeing several instances of the now common "should of" error. More and more people use this: "He should of called her." This is obviously an error born out of writing what you hear, as it were: "Should've" sounds much like "should of", hence the error. Now, "coupple howers" falls into the same category. When saying "a couple of hours" fast (but not unnaturally fast) it sounds like "couplehours", the "of" being pretty much swallowed.

In my opinion this is a mistake which an uneducated person or a kid might make (just like "should of", though the latter is very common now among people who are well enough educated too, probably has something to do with net speak and cell phones and all that). It is, however, not something you'd think of misspelling on purpose in that form. Or so I would - perhaps - say.

The first word, "coupple", yes - absolutely. The second word, "howers", yes - that too, certainly. Both these are good candidates for purposely misspelled words. But the combination of these, without the "of", is something else. That looks much more like a an honest mistake to me - and not like something you'd think about constructing for the purpose of covering your tracks.

Could easily be wrong, of course - but there you are.
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby Coffee Time » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:22 pm

"Hower" is an archaic spelling of "hour." "Drownd" (Belli letter) is also Old English for "Drowned."

Ricardo did some interesting research on Zodiac's spellings:
http://mk-zodiac.com/game.html
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby Norse » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:34 am

Yep - the archaic English angle is interesting. Someone once pointed out that his syntax - and not just the odd spelling - is partly in tune with older norms.

I don't know, though. Some of his misspellings are very straightforward. A mix of schoolboy errors and the deliberate use of archaic forms? Sure, it's possible. Even his famous "clews" is possible to interpret in this way, as "clew" is actually an outdated spelling of "clue". It is also just about the only way (bar "cloo", perhaps, but that would look plain wrong to anyone, I think) to misspell "clue" for someone who wasn't dyslectic.*

* I doubt Z was dyslectic. If he was, he couldn't have been afflicted in any ordinary way.

I tend to think that Z either misspelled words on purpose in order to - further - disguise his handwriting (I even believe the latter might have been a known technique at the time, which he may have picked up from somewhere) OR that he simply was a horrible and or idiosyncratic speller for whatever reason.

I tend not to think that he left "clews" in the spelling itself. Subconsciously, maybe - but not in an obvious way. I doubt that he unwittingly dropped significant hints about his identity by using certain words and phrases. The British connection, for instance, has always struck me as being tenuous enough.
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby joedetective » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:10 pm

Z seems to have been inspired by homicide cases in history. I think the misspellings are an homage to Jack the Ripper. The misspelled word "clews" could come from the story of the kid who was sending threatening letters to his neighbor, signing them Red Phanthom. And there's Bud Lord who was found dead with a message attached to him, complete with the crosshair symbol. The word "accidentally" was misspelled I think in that letter. I guess it's possible Z was the kid who called himself the Red Phanthom, or maybe he killed Bud Lord, but thar seems highly unlikely.

As for the British idioms and phonetics, I will say I live on an island settled by the English and Irish hundreds of years ago, and the way we speak is very reminiscent of old English. Being an island, isolation has kept our way of speaking from evolving the way it has elsewhere. Anyway, my point is that Z' s phonetics way of spelling and certain phrases resemble the way we speak. For example, "salt beef" may sound very foreign to most of you, but it's common where I live.
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby Coffee Time » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:23 pm

Strictly IMHO, there are just too many "coincidences" (case in point: "cid" is Latin for "cut" or "kill" -- which ties into the later SLA letter) for me, personally, to believe it was all just bad spelling.

These references would have flown over most people's heads at the time -- no Google or Wiktionary in 1969, which I think is pretty telling, inofitself: he either spent a lot of time in really well-stocked libraries, or he actually owned all of these books he cribbed these wordplays and references from. I don't believe he was necessarily giving us clues to who he was, per se, but I do believe that he was, at the very least, flaunting his intelligence in a self-amused manner. As I said, IMHO. :D
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby smithy » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:59 am

Yep.
I'm not sure that the SLA letter's one of his - at all - but the rest? Yep. ;)
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Re: "...coupple howers..."

Postby Coffee Time » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:37 pm

I'm on the fence about the '74 series, but I find the SLA letter more compelling in light of this theory. :ugeek:
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