Baby Name Crossword Coincidence

crossword

On the evening of June 11, a baby boy was born to Jennifer and Danny Cairns of Glasgow, Scotland. The baby was named Finn Cairns.

A couple of hours later, Jennifer’s mom began calling family members to tell them about the baby. When she got to her brother John — who completes the crossword in the Daily Record every day — she learned that both “Finn” and “Cairns” had been answers in the crossword that day.

John said:

It’s just amazing and the day it happened, I will never forget.

When my sister Marjorie told me his name, I thought ‘wait a minute, that was in the crossword’ so found it and there it was.

I thought ‘this is not real!’ and kept it to pass on to my mother.

And it’s even more strange because Finn was born on the 11th, and 11 is my lucky number.

He went on to say that the coincidence was “out of this world!”

Mom Jennifer likewise said that this was one of the most “absolutely bizarre coincidences” of her life.

Source: ‘Crazy coincidence’ as Scots baby’s name predicted in Daily Record crossword clues

P.S. The crossword clue for Finn was “Nordic part of fish, reportedly (4)” and for Cairns was “This city’s hot dogs (6).”

Can We Separate Jemima from “Aunt Jemima”?

Last Wednesday, the Quaker Oats Company announced that it would be terminating the Aunt Jemima brand as we know it. Here’s part of the company’s statement:

Aunt Jemima brand is removing its image from packaging and changing the brand name. This step is in line with PepsiCo’s journey toward racial equality, and the evolution will help carry the 130-year-old brand into the future.

Thursday and Friday, the companies behind Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, Cream of Wheat, and Eskimo Pie followed suit with similar announcements.

I’m very happy about all of this, but I’m particularly interested in the end of Aunt Jemima, because that brand is inextricably linked with a distinctive first name. In fact, I’d guess that, for the vast majority of Americans, the first thing they think of when they hear or see the name “Jemima” is Aunt Jemima syrup.

So now I have some questions for you…

Do you think the name’s strong association with the brand — which was established in 1889 and well-known by the mid-1910s — dissuaded parents from using Jemima as a baby name during the 20th century? (And, if so, do you think the usage of Jemima could possibly be seen as a gauge of racism in the U.S.?)

baby name jemima popularity graph

Once the brand name changes, how long before the name’s association with a racial stereotype finally fades away?

Could the Biblical name Jemima (Hebrew for “dove”) ever become a trendy American baby name (à la Gemma, Delilah)?

Sources: Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat review branding after Aunt Jemima announces name change, Aunt Jemima – Wikipedia, Dreyer’s to drop “derogatory” Eskimo Pie name after 99 years

9 More Virus-Inspired Baby Names

We’ve already talked about a bunch of virus-inspired names (Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Coviduvidapdap, Corona, Corona, Lockdown, Sanitizer), but there are still more! Here’s a round-up of ones that I’ve seen, but haven’t blogged about yet…

Corona and Corona (India): A baby girl born on March 29 was named Corona Kumari, and a baby boy born on April 5 (at the same hospital) was named Corona Kumar. The names weren’t a coincidence: They were suggested by Dr. S. F. Basha, who treated both mothers.

Corona (Indonesia): A baby girl born on April 30 was named Nara Fatimah Corona.

Covid (Philippines): A baby girl born on April 13 was named Covid Marie.

Lockdown (India): A baby boy born on May 22 — aboard a Shramik Special [train], which is very interesting — was named Lockdown.

Lockdown (India): A baby boy born in April was named Lockdown. His father Sanjay said, “We went through so much trouble due to coronavirus outbreak and lockdown. He was born in the midst of such peril. So, we have decided to name him Lockdown.”

Quarantine and Sanitizer (India): A set of male twins born in May were named Quarantine and Sanitizer. Their father Dharmendra said, “Both give us protection. So, this feeling of security should remain lifelong. These are the best names that we could [find] for our children.”

Quarantino (India): A baby boy born on May 31 was named Emmanuel Quarantino. The parents had traveled from Goa to Manipur several days earlier, so they’d been placed under institutional quarantine at an isolation center called Emmanuel School. This was where the baby was born, hence the name.

(Quarantino has to be my favorite virus-name so far. It keeps making me think of Quentin Tarantino.)

Have you spotted any other names like these in the news? If so, please leave a comment!

Sources: Meet Emmanuel Quarantino, A Manipuri Baby Boy Who Was Born In A Quarantine Centre, Manipur: Woman gives birth to baby boy at COVID-19 quarantine centre, names him Emmanuel Quarantino, ‘Lockdown Yadav to Sanitiser Singh’: Indian parents and their tryst with Covid names, Meerut couple names their newborn twins ‘Quarantine’ and ‘Sanitizer’, Corona Kumar and Kumari: 2 Andhra Pradesh couples name newborn babies born during lockdown, Corona Kumar, then Covid Marie, the newborns being named after a pandemic, ‘Corona’ baby: Newborn girl in West Java named after pandemic

Malta to Allow Maltese Baby Names

malta

Yay for Malta!

Years ago, I mentioned that Malta was the only nation I knew of in which parents were not allowed to register baby names in the national language.

Why couldn’t they? Because Malta’s government IT systems could not handle Maltese font.

But “a collective overhaul across government IT systems [is now] being done to ensure Maltese orthography is accepted across the board,” and Malta will soon be allowing parents to officially bestow traditional Maltese names.

Maltese, a Semitic language that descended from Sicilian Arabic, has six letters that English doesn’t have. One of them, ie, is easy enough to replicate on a computer; the other five (below) are not.

Here’s how to pronounce them, roughly:

  • C-with-a-dot makes a ch-sound
  • G-with-a-dot makes a j-sound (without the dot, G makes a g-sound)
  • Gh-with-a-line is silent*
  • H-with-a-line makes an h-sound (without the line, H is silent*)
  • Z-with-a-dot makes a z-sound (without the dot, Z makes a ts-sound)

Without these letters, a large number of traditional Maltese names are unable to be rendered properly.

(I would love to list some of those names, but, ironically, I can’t — WordPress hasn’t played nicely with special characters ever since the introduction of the Gutenberg editor a few years back.)

Anyway…well done, Malta! I’m proud of you. :)

Sources:

*More on the silent letters: “Maltese orthography continues to reflect the presence of some letters that are no longer pronounced in order to indicate semantic provenance — a convenience that makes it possible, among other things, to look up words in the dictionary under the three-consonant root (as one does with Semitic languages).”

Update, 6/13: Here’s an image of a list of traditional Maltese names…

Maltese baby names

The list above includes Maltese names that are equivalent to: Angelo, Beatrice, Francis, Elizabeth, Jacob, James, George, Juliet, Justin, Joseph, John, Hilda, Lucia, Luigi, Theresa, and Vincent.

P.S. While gathering these names, I happened to find out that the surname Buttigieg — as in former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg — is Maltese and means “poulterer.” Specifically, it comes from a pair of Sicilian Arabic words meaning “father, master, owner” and “fowl.”