Scrabble Bingo of the Day: COLOSSUS
COLOSSUS n pl. COLOSSUSES or COLOSSI a gigantic statue
60 points (10 points without the bingo)
A colossus is a huge statue with great size and proportions, but it could also mean a person or thing of immense size or power. It comes from the Latin word colosseus and the Greek word kolossos. The word colossus is best associated with the Colossos of Rhodes (now the Colossus of Rhodes), a gigantic brass statue of the Greek titan Helios (aka Apollo). It was built between 292 and 280 BC and collapsed during an earthquake in 226 BC, and is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The hollowed out Statue of Liberty was based on it.
But a colossus doesn't have to be made of brass or iron. It could be any effigy that's life-sized or larger, made from any material. An example of this type of colossus would be a wicker man, which was originally an gigantic wicker statue of a human, with an actual human being to be sacrificed in effigy by ancient druid priests of Celtic paganism. Caesar and Strabo themselves have commented on these so-called wicker men:
"Some tribes build enormous images with limbs of interwoven branches which they then fill with live men; the images are set alight and the men die in a sea of flame."
-- Caesar, Gallic War VI, 16, 4.
"Having devised a colossus of straw and wood, [they] throw into the colossus cattle and wild animals of all sorts and human beings, and then they make a burnt offering of the whole thing."
-- Strabo, Geography IV, 4, 5.
Image of The Wicker Colossus of the Druids, by an unknown artist, c. 1801–1850.
And with Halloween fast approaching, it only feels right to mention the British horror film directed by Robin Hardy in 1973, The Wicker Man. In the movie, a devout Christian policeman uncovers malevolent secrets of a sinister pagan cult, and in the denouement of the film, he is sacrificed in effigy… in a large hollowed colossus made of wicker. Very creepy stuff. There was also a remake starring Nicholas Cage, but let's not talk about that atrocity.
Today, wicker men are still used in neopagan ceremonies, but without the human sacrifice. It's also a staple of the Burning Man festival, where an effigy of a man is burned for the finale.
Related Words: EFFIGY, EFFIGIES, STATUE(S), DRUID(S), PAGANISM
So, just what is a Scrabble Bingo?
A bingo is when a player empties his or her rack in one turn, placing all seven of their letters on the board to create a word that's at least seven letters long. The term "bingo" is used primarily in the U.S., but elsewhere it's simply known as a "bonus" because you get a bonus of 50 points added to your turn's score. "Scrabble Bingo of the Day" will focus on these high scoring plays, teaching you some interesting and possibly unusual seven-letter or longer words accepted in a game of Scrabble.