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A Valentine to Typewriters

Welcome to another newsletter from A Way with Words, public radio's lively language show!

Next week's show will be brand new, but this past weekend's show was a juicy repeat in which we talked about the demise of the typewriter, surfing grommets, floundering vs. foundering, and alley-oop.


We also talked about irregardless, names for winds, and "going out of style."

On the episode that aired March 1st, we had a call from a listener about the food dish known as "turkey Manhattan" or "beef Manhattan." It's meat covered with mashed potatoes and gravy. We told him that it seemed to be from Indiana or thereabouts and we put the call out for more information.

Boy, did you all ever respond! Dozens of listeners had something to say about the Manhattans.

Jean remembers them from the 1940s and 1950s in central Indiana and Paul remembers them from Indianapolis in the early 1950s. John remembers them from Van Buren Elementary School in Plainfield, Ind., in 1957. Evan said he remembered them from northeast Indiana in the 1960s and Ray in Martinsville said he remembers them from Southport, Ind., in the same decade. Scotty in Paragon, Ind., remembers them from 1976.

A lot of you said you knew the dish from a state other than Indiana. Listener Mauna remembers it from St. Louis in the 1940s and 50s. Jerry said he remembered it from southwestern Minnesota in the 1950s and 60s. Anna said she not only knew it growing up in north central Indiana, but she also remembers it from Iowa in the 1960s and 70s.

As for the name? Well, some of you speculated that it was because the food was piled high like Manhattan skyscrapers. Who knows?

You can find more people talking about turkey and beef Manhattans on our discussion forum:


On the the discussion forum they're also talking about what a "bippy" is:


Do you listen to A Way with Words via the podcasts and iTunes? If so, we'd love it if you'd give the show a rating at iTunes. Tell others why they should listen:


We're sure most of you are aware of him, but if you're not, we'd like to point out Michael Quinion and his web site "World Wide Words." Michael is an old hand at the language game--you've probably heard us mention him on the show before. He's authoritative and easy to read. He covers all aspects of language, with particular attention paid to the British point of view. Check him out:


Next week: a brand new show!


Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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Further reading

Spill the Tea (episode #1521)

If someone urges you to spill the tea, they probably don’t want you tipping over a hot beverage. Originally, the tea here was the letter T, as in “truth.” To spill the T means to “pass along truthful information.” Plus...

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