In memoriam: William Safire


December 17, 1929 – September 27, 2009

"NEW YORK — William Safire, the conservative columnist and word warrior who feared no politician or corner of the English language, died Sunday at age 79.

The Pulitzer Prize winner died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. His assistant Rosemary Shields said he had been diagnosed with cancer, but she declined to say when he was diagnosed or what type of cancer he had.

Safire spent more than 30 years writing on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. In his "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine and more than a dozen books, Safire traced the origins of words and everyday phrases such as "straw man," "under the bus" and "the proof is in the pudding." (AP)